[Mailman-Users] Install from repository, or build from source?

Lindsay Haisley fmouse at fmp.com
Thu Jun 5 02:57:56 CEST 2014

On Thu, 2014-06-05 at 00:18 +0900, Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
> Steve Matzura writes:
>  > I am a site admin for a system built on Debian version 7 (Wheezy). The
>  > current available mailman package distribution version is 2.1.15 but I
>  > want to use 2.1.18-1, which means, unless I miss my guess, it's got to
>  > be built from source. If this isn't so, I'd greatly appreciate knowing
>  > where and how to obtain the installable package. I've tried including
>  > the version number, etc., in apt-get, but as of right now,k no go.
> There is no package at Debian yet; even "sid" is currently on 2.1.16:
> https://packages.debian.org/sid/mailman
> Source builds aren't that hard, though.  It's also not that hard to
> put new source into an old source package and update things, usually.
> (Well, to be honest, I haven't done that in at least 10 years!)
> Patches can be a little tricky (especially if they've since been
> integrated into upstream), but the continuity is often worth it.

As a former user of Gentoo Linux I'm rather familiar with how complex an
install from source can be, and Mailman is definitely on the easy end of
the spectrum.  If Debian provides a source directory for Mailman's
currently distributed version with their .deb file, or if a config.log
from a Debian build file is available elsewhere, this will give you the
parameters you need to run the configure script and get everything in
the right place with the right permissions.  The configure options for
my build here, on Ubuntu Server, is:

 ./configure --prefix=/usr/lib64/mailman --with-var-prefix=/var/lib/mailman --with-mail-gid=mail --with-cgi-gid=www-data --with-mailhost=<your FQ hostname> --with-urlhost=<your FQ hostname>

Your setup may be somewhat different.  Mailman makes creative use of
group permissions, so getting --with-mail-gid right is important and not
getting it right is a frequent source of problems.  If you get it wrong,
Mailman will cause a rather descriptive error to be logged to your mail
log telling you about it.

Run check_perms, and if necessary check_perms -f after you get Mailman
installed to make sure all file permissions and ownerships are

Lindsay Haisley       | "Everything works if you let it"
FMP Computer Services |
512-259-1190          |          --- The Roadie
http://www.fmp.com    |

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