[Mailman-Users] List not archiving, not sending mail, mischief log shows 'Hostile listname: <list>"

Mark Sapiro mark at msapiro.net
Mon May 18 01:26:15 CEST 2015

On 05/17/2015 01:58 PM, Bill Christensen wrote:
> Mark,
> Adding the line
>         SUBSCRIBE_FORM_SECRET = 'Some string unique to your site"
> in mm_cfg.py definitely made a huge difference to the spam registration
> problem I was having.  Looks like I may not need to migrate the list to a
> new address after all.
> One more problem to solve.
> I'm using Gmail for all our email addresses, and pulling the mail into
> Mailman using Fetchmail.  It's been working fine for years.
> One of my more important lists recently started getting this in the
> Fetchmail console:
>     post script, list not found: <listname>
>     fetchmail: Error writing to MDA: Broken pipe
> and the Mailman error log says:
>     <date> gate_news(12061): IOError :  [Errno 13] Permission denied:
> '/opt/local/var/mailman/locks/gate_news.lock.<site FQDN>.12061.0'

This is probably not related. Do you even have any lists with
Mail<->News gateways -> gateway_to_mail = Yes?.
Mailman's cron/gate_news runs by default every five minutes and does use
this lock to prevent concurrent updates. I would also expect to see
entries like 'Could not acquire gate_news lock' in the fromusenet log.

If this is a one-time occurrence, It was just a glitch. Maybe someone
manually ran cron/gate_news as a user not in Mailman's group. If you get
these every 5 minutes, there is a permissions issue, probably with the
user running this cron not being mailman, because if the locks directory
were not group mailman and group writable, lots more would be broken.

>     <date> post(12068): post script, list not found: <listname>

The post script invoked by

 /path/to/mailman/mail/mailman post <listname>

in your fetchmail script says <listname> doesn't exist.

> Mailman mischief log says:
>       Hostile listname: <listname>

This is consistent with the 'post script' report and says that
<listname> contains one or more characters not in the
Defaults.py/mm_cfg.py setting ACCEPTABLE_LISTNAME_CHARACTERS. The
default setting only allows letters, digits, '-', '+', '_', '.' and '='.

Does <listname> contain characters outside this set or whatever set
you've specified?

> In the smtp-failure log I'm seeing
>     Message size exceeds fixed limit
> In General Options => Maximum length in kilobytes (KB) of a message body.
> Use 0 for no limit.  I have '0'.

These two things are unrelated. The message in smtp-failure says Mailman
attempted to send a message which was larger than the MTA would accept.
In Postfix for example, this is the main.cf parameter message_size_limit.

> I've run the check permissions script ( with -f), it changes nothing.  It
> appears that there are 5 messages waiting for delivery, though I don't see
> them in any of the queues.

If Mailman is retrying the smtp-failure, the message would be in
Mailman's 'retry' queue until Mailman eventually gives up. Or, they
could be still in the gmail inbox since fetchmail probably wouldn't
delete them as it couldn't deliver them.

> This appears to have started around the time that I upgraded from Mailman
> 2.1.17 (or so) to 2.1.20
> That list is also not archiving properly, so it clearly has problems

The listname problem would mess up a lot, but it looks like there would
be nothing to archive since nothing for that list is getting posted.

> All the other lists on the server are working fine as far as I can tell.
> Any ideas as to what's wrong?

First, what's the list name? Once you fix that issue, that may be all,
or there may be shunted messages in Mailman's shunt queue to be unshunted.

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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