[Mailman-Users] How to know if all messages were distributed

Stephen J. Turnbull stephen at xemacs.org
Mon May 25 17:46:33 CEST 2015

Regis writes:

 > Indeed 72 hours after the mailing, i continue to see permanently about 
 > 500 messages in the queue of my messaging server (i have a linux centOS 
 > VPS with Qmail).

Using Qmail is asking for trouble.  Dan Bernstein is unquestionably a
genius, but his software tends to assume that the world is a saner
place than it actually is, and doesn't work and play well with others.
I'll assume that you have perfectly good reasons for using Qmail
rather than Exim or Postfix that are more commonly used with Mailman,
but you should be aware that most of the folks on this list are
experienced with Exim, Postfix, and/or Sendmail, and for Qmail-specific
issues, or interactions between Qmail and Mailman, you probably need
to go to a Qmail channel.

First question: *which queue*?  Mailman has its queues, which you can
examine using ls on the queue directory or mailman/bin/show_qfiles on
the individual queued messages.  Qmail also has its own queue(s), and
if the messages are in the Qmail queues, *it's very unlikely to be a
Mailman-related problem*.  By design, once a mail server has accepted
a message, the mail server is fully responsible for its deliver, or
for reporting non-delivery.

 > But what is strange is that actually some of those messages were
 > really distributed : I am sure because I got return receipt emails
 > for them !

You've cross checked the Message-IDs?  What do you mean by "return
receipt"?  Are you sure they are not "bounce" messages, which indicate
that mailwas *not* delivered?

 > So i am confused on the total distribution of my mailing to all 
 > subscribers : is there a possibility so see the number of messages 
 > processed or not yet processed directly from the server (logs...) ?

I don't know about where Centos keeps Mailman's logs and queues, but
yes, you can look at the logs and queues once you find them.  The
"post" log tells you what posts Mailman has received, but not their
disposition.  The "smtp" log tells you what messages have been sent
(by message-id and time, and how long it took to process the smtp
transaction), but due to the nature of the outgoing runner, there are
typically many log messages for each post.  Mark may have a script for
summing them up to find out how many have actually been delivered.

I'm not sure exactly what goes into the smtp-failure log, but I would
suppose that would record cases where qmail tells mailman that it
can't deliver the message for some reason.  I'm not sure if it records
tempfails, and for tempfails there's no way for qmail to tell mailman
about retries whether they succeed or fail.

For the qfiles, most likely you just care about if they're there in
"outgoing" or "retry".  You might also look in the "shunt" queue
directory for "broken" messages that Mailman can't process.

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