[Mailman-Users] Diagnosing command failures

Mark Sapiro mark at msapiro.net
Thu Jan 22 05:10:20 CET 2015

On 01/21/2015 07:44 PM, Gary Merrill wrote:
> I do appreciate your efforts to help, but you should realize that some of
> them are based on assumptions that simply don't hold in this case --
> although they pretty universally held when Mailman was originally written,
> and for some time afterward.  The primary underlying assumption is that the
> list administrator will have access to at least most aspects of the OS and
> server environment.  In this case, that isn't true.

I normally do not assume that people have access to the underlying file
system. If you check the archives of this list, you'll see that I often
go to extra lengths to help people who don't have that access.

I only thought that you might, because your initial post in this thread
asked about logging of errors, so it seemed you might actually have
access to Mailman's logs.

> We subscribe to web hosting from Webhostingpad.com.  The level of our
> service does not give me a virtual machine, doesn't provide me with root
> access, doesn't even provide me with a shell, and does not provide me with
> direct access to any databases (I can create them and layout the tables, but
> that's about it).  So I can't look at server logs and can't run shell
> scripts. I can't throw SQL at a db.  I can't see any of the file system
> that's outside of my "home" directory tree.  So I can't even see where any
> of the usual Mailman files are.  I can only manage things through the
> Mailman web interface.  Oddly, I can create cron jobs, but really have no
> way of testing/debugging them aside from creating the job and seeing what
> happens.  Mailman lists are offered as one of the utilities under the Mail
> heading in Cpanel.  It's simple.  It works.

I did have a conversation about access to logs with a cPanel developer
at PyCon a couple of years ago. The issue is most cPanel Mailman
installs are at hosting companies, and the logs are global so access to
the logs implies access to information from domains other than yours so
the host doesn't want to give you access. I said that this was a problem
with supporting users of cPanel hosted Mailman because they can't see
relevant log info, and their hosting service a) wouldn't support Mailman
and b) wouldn't even provide them with relevant log info.

cPanel at the time seemed interested in doing something to help with
this, but more recently, it seems they want to help only by giving money
to the GNU Mailman project, not by actually implementing a cPanel solution.

Note that not all cPanel hosting services fail to provide decent Mailman
support. There are some exceptions (at least one principal is active on
this list) that will work with you to help and that actively support
Mailman. Unfortunately, there are a lot of hosts that only offer Mailman
because it "comes with" cPanel and don't want to support it.

> Since Mailman doesn't log failures

Actually, Mailman logs quite a bit. It doesn't log the specific
information you want in this case, but if I told you it did, how would
you know otherwise as you don't have access to Mailman's logs ;)

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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