FAQ
I have an account on a hosting service that
runs FreeBSD and Qmail. They do not have Mailman
installed. However, they do have Apache and Python
installed. I can also compile sources using GNU C.

The Mailman installation directions suggest that I need root
privileges for some initial setup, but I'm just wondering
if it's possible to do it without root privileges since
I'm just using it with my account.

Thanks!

FB

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  • Jon Carnes at Aug 7, 2002 at 7:32 pm
    No. You need root.

    You can get by without root to simply install the files/applications (in
    your home area - the apps would run as you instead of the user "mailman"),
    but you need to have root access to modify the system's mail aliases file so
    that mail actually makes it to your lists - and to modify the webserver's
    config file so that the Mailman CGI area is setup properly.

    Jon Carnes

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Fred B [mailto:fredb86 at hotmail.com]
    Sent: Wednesday, August 07, 2002 2:38 PM
    To: mailman-users at python.org
    Subject: [Mailman-Users] Installing Mailman without root privileges?



    I have an account on a hosting service that
    runs FreeBSD and Qmail. They do not have Mailman
    installed. However, they do have Apache and Python
    installed. I can also compile sources using GNU C.

    The Mailman installation directions suggest that I need root
    privileges for some initial setup, but I'm just wondering
    if it's possible to do it without root privileges since
    I'm just using it with my account.

    Thanks!

    FB

    _________________________________________________________________
    Join the world?s largest e-mail service with MSN Hotmail.
    http://www.hotmail.com


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  • Bob Weissman at Aug 8, 2002 at 3:03 am

    At 12:32 PM 8/7/02, Jon Carnes wrote:
    No. You need root.
    Not exactly. I have successfully installed Mailman 2.0.x without root privileges.
    You can get by without root to simply install the files/applications (in
    your home area - the apps would run as you instead of the user "mailman"),
    but you need to have root access to modify the system's mail aliases file so
    that mail actually makes it to your lists - and to modify the webserver's
    config file so that the Mailman CGI area is setup properly.
    Jon Carnes
    This is all true and correct. But it doesn't imply you need root. My ISP (Interland) provides enough Unix-group-type privileges that I can accomplish everything I need without root. I.e., I can edit /etc/mail/aliases and the Apache *.conf files without being root.

    Of course, this requires an enlightened ISP which can provide you with just enough rope not to hang yourself.

    - Bob
  • Tom Whiting at Aug 8, 2002 at 4:26 am

    Of course, this requires an enlightened ISP which can provide you with just
    enough rope not to hang yourself.
    Or an ISP with no clue.
    that's all well and good, until you run into the individuals that will abuse
    that power and priviledge to do so, and corrupt quite a few things. I've seen
    it done more than once, but that's beyond the point of the discussion.

    In short:
    You need ROOT access (generally) to modify things such as cgi aliases,
    pointing directly to your list.

    You need ROOT access to create the mailman user (though this CAN be done as
    your regular user I believe... It's just not a good idea).

    You need ROOT access to create the aliases for mailman.

    You need ROOT access to restart apache so that your cgi-bin aliases will work
  • Bob Weissman at Aug 8, 2002 at 4:45 pm

    At 09:26 PM 8/7/02, Tom Whiting wrote:
    You need ROOT access (generally) to modify things such as cgi aliases,
    pointing directly to your list.
    No you don't, you just need write access to the configuration files.
    You need ROOT access to create the mailman user (though this CAN be done as
    your regular user I believe... It's just not a good idea).
    No you don't, you just need an appropriate interface which uses root behind the scenes.
    You need ROOT access to create the aliases for mailman.
    No you don't, you just need write access to the aliases file and execute access to newaliases or a similar program, which can be setuid root.
    You need ROOT access to restart apache so that your cgi-bin aliases will work
    No you don't, you just need execute access to the apacherestart or apachectl program, which can be setuid root.

    I don't want to seem overly pedantic. But all of this is possible depending on your ISP. My ISP charges extra for root access, so I don't have it. But I have enough privileges so that I can fully administer Mailman without ever needing root.

    - Bob
  • Tom Whiting at Aug 8, 2002 at 12:53 am
    Anytime you have to add a user, you need to have root access.
    Anytime you modify mail settings (aliases, filters, etc), you need to have
    root access.
    Any time you have to modify http settings, you need to have root access
    In short, yes, you need root access to install Mailman

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postedAug 7, '02 at 6:37p
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