[Mailman-Users] Configure options not known

Mark Sapiro mark at msapiro.net
Fri Dec 9 18:41:28 EST 2016

On 12/09/2016 02:27 PM, Matt Morgan wrote:
> Thanks. --prefix is the standard, but there's nothing in /var apart from
> mailman's crontab. What's an example of a file that I could 'locate' to
> figure out what mailman is using instead of /var? Or is there another
> way to determine what it is?

Where are the archives/, data/, lists/, locks/, logs/, qfiles/ and
spam/ directories. If they are in the same directory as the bin/, cron/,
icons/, mail/,  Mailman/,  messages/, pythonlib/, scripts/ and tests/
directories, then you don't need --with-var-prefix at all because it is
the same as $prefix. If different, then the containing directory is what
you need for --with-var-prefix.

If the bin/, cron/, icons/, mail/,  Mailman/,  messages/, pythonlib/,
scripts/ and tests/ directories are all in /usr/local/mailman, you don't
need --prefix because that's the default.

Finally, if the cgi-bin/ directory is in $prefix, you don't need
--exec-prefix. Otherwise, --exec-prefix is the path that contains the
cgi-bin/ directory.

>     --with-mail-gid and --with-cgi-gid ...
>     You can
>     run strings on your existing mail/mailman and cgi-bin/* wrappers to get
>     a clue if you don't know.
> I tried strings on those files, and either it wasn't helpful or I am not
> clueful enough in the first place to know what to look for in the
> output. Can you offer any additional suggestions here? In case it's
> meaningful, I don't see any unusual-looking groups in /etc/group. There
> is a 'mailman' group but no users are in it. There is a 'mail' group
> with user 'mail' in it.

Is there is a 'mailman' user? Look in your existing Defaults.py for the
definitions of


If these are not 'mailman' you will need --with-username and
--with-groupname options to configure to specify what they are.

The strings output is tricky because the order of things depends very
much on the C compiler that built the wrappers.

Basically, --with-mail-gid is the group with which the MTA invokes the
wrapper. If the MTA is Postfix and delivery is via aliases, this is the
primary group of the user that owns the .db file in which the aliases
are found. With the recommended Postfix-Mailman integration, this is
normally 'mailman'. --with-cgi-gid is the group with which the web
server invokes CGIs. This is usually something like 'www-data' or
'nobody' or 'apache'.

It's easy enough to test. If you get it wrong, you'll get group mismatch
errors and the error message will tell you what you need to do.

For mail group mismatches, both the bounce message and the system mail
log will have a message explaining what the group should be. E.g.

(Command died with status 2: "/var/MM/21/mail/mailman post list1".
Command output: Group mismatch error.  Mailman expected the mail wrapper
script to be executed as group "mark", but the system's mail server
executed the mail script as group "nogroup".  Try tweaking the mail
server to run the script as group "mark", or re-run configure,
providing the command line option `--with-mail-gid=nogroup'. )

says provide --with-mail-gid=nogroup to configure (this is a contrived
test - it usually wouldn't be 'nogroup')

For CGI group mismatches a similar error message is displayed by the web
browser and is written in the web server error log or maybe syslog.

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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