[Mailman-Users] Truncated aliases file

Mark Sapiro mark at msapiro.net
Fri Aug 22 23:13:57 CEST 2008

Andy Cravens wrote:

>We are running mailman 2.1.9 on Solaris 10.  This afternoon we had a 
>strange problem that we have never seen before.  The mailman aliases 
>file located at /opt/mailman/data/aliases was somehow truncated and 
>contained only a dozen of our 173 lists.  Almost all of our list traffic 
>was rejected with "User unknown in local recipient table" as a result. 
>The problem was easily remedied by running the genaliases script.
>I can find no reason for this one-time occurrence (I hope it was a 
>one-time occurrence).  I have checked the server and found no hardware 
>or system errors.  I have checked all the mailman logs and have found 
>nothing that correlates to the date/time of when the problem started.

Sorry for not replying sooner. This got buried :(

I assume this is Postfix, right? So the implication is that not only
was /opt/mailman/data/aliases truncated, but that the aliases were
also missing from /opt/mailman/data/aliases.db which further implies
that it's more than a few sectors mysteriously disappearing from a
file, since the aliases would have to disappear from
/opt/mailman/data/aliases and then postalias or equivalent be run.

Mailman could do this. If someone manually edited
/opt/mailman/data/aliases and in so doing removed or altered the

 # STANZA END: somelist

line but not the corresponding

 # STANZA START: somelist

line. Then if someone (perhaps years) later (if genaliases wasn't run
in between) deletes the somelist list, Mailman/MTA/Postfix.py will
delete all the aliases from somelist through the end of the file.

I think this is too dangerous. I'll fix it for 2.2 so it won't delete
past the next STANZA START no matter what.

Mark Sapiro <mark at msapiro.net>        The highway is for gamblers,
San Francisco Bay Area, California    better use your sense - B. Dylan

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