[Mailman-Users] Solving the MIME message footer problem

Jonathan Kamens jik at kamens.brookline.ma.us
Tue May 25 04:32:39 CEST 2010


The owner of one of the Mailman mailing lists I administer recently 
asked me to add an important footer to the bottom of every message sent 
out to the list.

I added the footer to the list's configuration, but shortly afterwards, 
he complained to me that he was not seeing it in messages sent to the list.

This, of course, was the result of the problem that is often reported 
here, i.e., that Mailman adds the footer as a separate part of multipart 
MIME messages, and although the footer is marked for inline content 
disposition, many email clients (most notably Outlook) fail to display 
it inline, and instead display it as a text attachment to the message.

This problem is described in detail on the Mailman Wiki 
<http://wiki.list.org/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=4030707>.  There is a 
link there to a solution 
submitted to the Mailman developers for consideration over five years 
ago, but unfortunately they rejected it and the patches are stale and 
incompatible with the current stable Mailman version.

When this problem is brought up on this list and elsewhere, people often 
mention that a tool such as mimedefang could be used to solve it.  
That's true, but nobody ever seems to provide the details of exactly how 
to do it.  That's probably because it isn't obvious.

I've just finished implementing a generic solution that will work 
out-of-the-box with standard versions of mimedefang and Mailman and only 
requires you to edit your mimedefang filter configuration once -- after 
that, you can enable this solution merely by editing the configuration 
of a Mailman list to add some special tokens to the footer setting to 
tell mimedefang to do the right thing.

You can read the documentation of my solution here 
<http://stuff.mit.edu/%7Ejik/software/mailman_mimedefang/> or download 
it here 
I love to hear from people who are using my software, so please email me 
and let me know if you find it useful.  Please also email me if you have 
any questions, suggestions, bug reports, fixes or enhancements to share.


Jonathan Kamens

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