[Mailman-Users] Linux packages vs source install?

Jay Sekora jsekora at csail.mit.edu
Thu Dec 29 12:20:14 EST 2016

On 12/29/2016 11:51 AM, Carl Zwanzig wrote:
> [changed the subject]
> Hi,
> I realize this wasn't part of your question, but-
> On 12/29/2016 8:16 AM, Jay Sekora wrote:
>> The old server is running Debian and Mailman 2.1.13 (from the Debian
>> package).  The new server is running Ubuntu and Mailman 2.1.16 (from the
>> Ubuntu Trusty package; we need to run Trusty for now for complex and
>> uninteresting reasons; I'd rather run 2.1.18, and may look into running
>> that on Trusty once I get the basic migration issues resolved).
> Install 2.1.23 from source? I seems like most linux packages are older
> versions (and the list archive has many questions about them). I assume
> there are reasons, but I'm not that deep into linux to know what they are.

Sure, that's a good way to go if freshness is more important than
consistent packaging.  The advantage of sticking with distro packages is
that (1) somebody else is on top of the security updates (and with
Debian in particular, a lot of attention is often devoted to automating
upgrade-related maintenance) and (2) there's coordination with other
packages on the system (so for instance if a security upgrade to Python
requires a minor tweak to Mailman I'll get both at the same time), and
log-rotation and cron jobs and the like are handled in a consistent way
across packages, and you can expect the Debian/Ubuntu Mailman package to
work smoothly with the Debian/Ubuntu SpamAssassin and Exim packages, for

In this particular case, I have seen reports that the Xenial (16.04)
Mailman packages install and run cleanly on Trusty (14.04), and another
approach would be to rebuild the package with newer source, but of
course those impact the above advantages to some degree (as does just
installing from upstream source).


PS -- One other advantage to installing from distro packages, especially
on a widely deployed platform like Ubuntu, Fedora, or RHEL, is that a
large fraction of the other people out on the web are doing the same
thing, so if you run into something peculiar, some other package-using
newbie on the net may have posted about the exact same problem.
Obviously on a Mailman-specific list like this (or a Drupal-specific
list or a ClamAV-specific list, or whatever) the ratio of people
installing from source is likely to be higher, though, and of course
that's where to look for the highest-quality answers.

Jay Sekora
Linux system administrator and postmaster,
The Infrastructure Group
MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory

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