[Mailman-Users] ListProc to Mailman migration -- any tools or guides?

Bill.Costa at unh.edu Bill.Costa at unh.edu
Mon Mar 2 21:44:54 CET 2015

  Chris Nulk <cnulk at scu.edu> recently wrote, in part...

> Remember that communications with the list owners is extremely
> important.


> What we did was:
> 0. Have a firm timeframe to complete the change over.

Haven't picked the date yet -- nor have I told the users what is
coming yet until I get Mailman installed, tested, and have done
some test conversions.  When that's all in place, you can bet
your sweet bippy there will be a firm timeframe for the

> 1. Try to weed out as many lists as you can that may not be
> used anymore.

Done.  Contacted all list owners with no postings within the past
year.  One way or the other, all ended up being retired.

> 2. Set up Mailman in parallel with ListProc.

Already have two separate list alias files so it will be easy to
switch message delivery from ListProc to Mailman on a
list-by-list basis.

> 3. Create new lists in Mailman...

> 4. List owners of the Mailman lists should be the same as
> ListProc lists.

> 5. Communicate with the list owners of the ListProc lists and
> let them know how to access and configure the list on Mailman.

> 6. Give list owners time to make their changes (e.g. add
> moderators, set moderation, etc.) and test the list.

> 7. After list owner testing, populate the list (or have the
> list owner do it) membership.

My goal, which I did last time we did this (over 10 years ago
from a homegrown system) is to have a script that does the
conversion on a list-by-list basis.  The list owner picks a date
for their list to be 'down'.  I do the conversion on that date,
and bring their new list up and hand over the keys.  This assumes
that I will be able to do a good job of mapping the most
important settings from ListProc to Mailman.  If that doesn't
turn out to be the case, your suggested approach of giving them
some time to play with the Mailman list without subscribers may
make sense.  But for 80% of my list owners, once the list is
initially created as either an 'announce', 'discussion', or
'moderated' list, they never mess with the configuration.  So I'm
optimistic I can map the list behavior automatically and have the
new list working just like the old one, out of the gate.

> 8. Communicate with the list owners for a cutover time (either
> individually or all at once) to do any file conversions like
> archives, etc.

In the last conversion I sent out an announcement to all the list
owners telling why the conversion and the time-frame to contact
me when they were ready to make the switch.  That allowed me to
make adjustments to the process as we went since my early
adopters were better at both finding the bugs, and not panicking
about same.

> 9. Monitor the process carefully.

> 10. Remember that firm timeframe, well some list owners are
> still going to miss it.  Be prepared.

Indeed.  Last time the deal was if I didn't hear from the list
owner by such-and-such a date, the list would simply be retired.
It was amazing how many people just let that happen rather than
just replying to the nag message to say that they didn't want the
list any more so just retire it now.

> Overall, the process went very smoothly for us.  We did not
> convert the archives.

We don't have many lists with archives.  I probably will only
convert if owners explicitly ask.  I'm betting few will.

> We did change how we populated several of our lists though
> which was a bit of a challange (we went from populating via a
> static mechanism once per year to dynamic LDAP populating).

I have a similar issue -- I maintain student announcement lists
by college and class year, or even down to major code, with a
weekly update from Registrar's records.  I'll have to build that
all over again for Mailman.  Doesn't look like it should be too
bad using the command line tools.

Thanks for the observations and advice.


=====================================[ Bill.Costa at unh.edu ]==
  Bill Costa
  1 Leavitt Lane
  UNH IT -- 1st Floor
  University of New Hampshire
  Durham, NH  03824
  Voice: +1-603-862-3056
  No good deed... Goes unpunished.
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