[Mailman-Users] problem with Mailman on Mac OS X Snow Leopard client

Larry Stone lstone19 at stonejongleux.com
Tue Oct 11 18:54:14 CEST 2011

On Mon, 10 Oct 2011, Graham Young wrote:

> Mail generated by Mailman hangs in my dedicated, on-board MTA's queue 
> unless I remove a certain bit of custom Postfix configuration that I 
> entered following instructions kindly posted here by one Larry Stone.

I guess I'm best to answer this.

> The bit of custom Postfix configuration that I've experimented with 
> removing is exactly as follows: "hash:/etc/postfix/aliases"
> The context in which this bit is supposed to appear is as follows:
> "alias_maps = hash:/etc/postfix/aliases, hash:/usr/local/mailman/data/aliases".
> I just remove the bit, leaving: "alias_maps = 
> hash:/usr/local/mailman/data/aliases". Again, with just this as remnant 
> of my custom Postscript configuration, Mailman-generated mail gets sent.

alias_maps is this list of aliases, local addresses which do not get 
delivered locally but rather get sent elsewhere. That could be another 
address (for instance, on my system, postmaster is an alias for me so I 
get all postmaster mail) or for Mailman, a pipe to the Mailman mail input 

> The error message that Postfix repeatedly issues when I don't have the 
> suspect portion of this bit of custom Postscript configuration removed 
> is as follows:
> "Oct 10 21:10:05 email postfix/local[75578]: fatal: open database 
> /etc/postfix/aliases.db: No such file or directory

It means exactly what it says. /etc/postfix/aliases.db does not exist.

> Finally, inasmuch as it may be relevant, I next post feedback that I get 
> from a certain "postconf" command, specifically "postconf alias_maps": 
> "alias_maps = hash:/etc/aliases"

That should be the outpust of "postconf -d alias_maps". -d means the 
default value. On my system (and I have never touched this part), 
/etc/aliases is a softlink to /etc/postfix/aliases (in other words, just a 
pointer to that file).

So the real is why does /etc/postfix/aliases.db not exist. It's not really 
required and it isn't part of Mailman. I had assumed it was past of the 
standard Postfix installation on OS X client but perhaps not (or maybe it 
was and no longer is but I didn't realize that because I've been upgrading 
or moving all the way from 10.3.

(a digression as to how aliases.db is created. aliases is a text file in a 
prescribed format. To turn it into the hash table Postfix wants to use, 
it's run through postmap. postmap hash:aliases created aliases.db)

The purpose of that customization is to append Mailman's alias file to the 
existing alias file.

If you don't have /etc/postfix/aliases.db, then don't include it in 
alias_maps. It's that simple. If you have a different aliases file, use 
that in place of /etc/postfix/aliases in alias_maps.

The best way to do this is to look in your Postfix main.cf for an earlier 
definition of alias_maps. So if you find
alias_maps = hash:foo, then replace my instructions with
alias_maps = hash:foo,

If there is no prior definition of alias_maps in main.cf, then do
postconf -d alias_maps and then:
alias_maps = (whatever postconf -d alias_maps returned),

However, please note that my instructions assume and expect familiarity 
with Postfix. If you don't understand Postfix, you will almost certainly 
have other problems in the future.

-- Larry Stone
    lstone19 at stonejongleux.com

More information about the Mailman-Users mailing list