[Mailman-Users] Mailman is being a processor sponge.... very slow delivery...

Ecklund, Morgan Morgan.Ecklund at state.vt.us
Tue Sep 2 23:32:14 CEST 2014

Thanks So much Stephen,
I just wanted make sure I got this in writing.
And document what I had to do to fix the loop you found (more savy folks may have done it faster) 
I tried to use a text editor, but of course it did not (could not lock the file)
Tried to create the change_owner script and use withlist, as advised be Mark Shapiro, but would not run Change_owner module not loaded... but that is what I was telling it to load.
So I got a wild hair.
I stopped mailman service. 
I could then go into the mailman list UI.
I changed the owner to a physical account.
Restarted mailman..
Qrunner was still pegged at 99%
Stopped it again.
Went into the UI again (had to wait a minute for the qrunner to spin down) went to tend to moderated items
Checked "discard all messages marked defer"
Mailman is no longer absorbent
Thanks Again!
-----Original Message-----
From: Stephen J. Turnbull [mailto:stephen at xemacs.org] 
Sent: Tuesday, September 02, 2014 7:43 AM
To: Ecklund, Morgan
Subject: RE: [Mailman-Users] Mailman is being a processor sponge.... very slow delivery...

Ecklund, Morgan writes:

 > I am pretty sure it has been hacked.

It looks normal to me.

 > Can you look at the the dumpdb of the mailman list.
 > "relay.comanche.denmark.eu\nfrom:" 
 > Just seems out of place.

No, it's just a very very old default that hasn't been changed.  Back in the late 1990s (!!!) the headers indicated by

 >     'bounce_matching_headers': "\n# Lines that *start* with a '#' are comments.\nto: friend at public.com\nmessage-id: relay.comanche.denmark.eu\nfrom: list at listme.com\nfrom: .*@uplinkpro.com\n",

ie, # Lines that *start* with a '#' are comments.
    to: friend at public.com
    message-id: relay.comanche.denmark.eu
    from: list at listme.com
    from: .*@uplinkpro.com

were famous for reliably indicating spam.  The example regexps haven't been changed since then, that's all.  Aha!  This variable

 >     'owner': [   'mailman at list.education.state.vt.us',
 >                  'list-admin at education.state.vt.us'],

is probably your immediate problem.  It's OK for a list's owner email to be another list, but it should not be itself.  It's very likely to cause a loop where a post causes an error, which cause an error message to go to owner, which is the list, but that causes another error, and this repeats ad infinitum as fast as your CPU and disks can handle it.  It's almost as likely to loop if mailman@ is the owner of @list-admin and vice-versa, so don't do that either.  At least one of your lists needs to have all its owner addresses be regular mailboxes.

The way I set it up at XEmacs.org is that all lists (including
mailman at xemacs.org) have owner xemacs-services at xemacs.org (which is also the real webmaster etc), except that xemacs-services itself is owned by me and a couple of other volunteers.  The owner list for that list is maintained by hand.

Yes, you'd think that it would be easy to recognize such a mail loop and Mailman would just stop looping, and indeed humans can.  But it turns out to be really hard to do automatically, since by definition when an error message is generated to owner the system is in some bizarre state.

Everything else looks fine to me.  If you take mailman@ out of the owners' address list, it should stop the loop, and take a big load off the CPU and disks.


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