FAQ
Mailman 2.1.5 on RedHat Linux -

How can I set up a new list that sends to multiple existing lists - but
only sends one message to each person - even if the person is a member
of multiple lists?

a. LSOFT calls this a "superlist"

b. Can "Mailman" do this?

c. In this case, we have a system newsletter that will be sent to
multiple lists. I'd like people to receive the message only once, even
if they are on more than one of the lists included in the mailing.



Thank you,

Sandi Gruver
Unix system administrator
Center for Information Services
Bellevue, WA 98004
phone 425.803.9753
fax 425.803.9652

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  • Brad Knowles at Jan 1, 2008 at 3:22 am

    On 12/31/07, Gruver, Sandi wrote:

    How can I set up a new list that sends to multiple existing lists - but
    only sends one message to each person - even if the person is a member
    of multiple lists?

    a. LSOFT calls this a "superlist"

    b. Can "Mailman" do this?
    Not directly, no. When all you have is the name of the list, you
    don't know who any of the subscribers are. Once you've handed the
    message off to the list (or sublist) itself, it knows who it's own
    subscribers are, but doesn't know who any of the other subscribers
    are for any of the other lists.

    With some command-line tools to dump the complete set of all
    subscribers from the selected sublists, then do a "sort -u" on those
    addresses and then re-import those into another list, you could
    achieve the same results. But this is not automatic, and would
    depend on you regularly running some sort of a cron job.

    Search the archives for more information.

    --
    Brad Knowles <brad at shub-internet.org>
    LinkedIn Profile: <http://tinyurl.com/y8kpxu>
  • Mark Sapiro at Jan 2, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    Brad Knowles wrote:
    On 12/31/07, Gruver, Sandi wrote:

    How can I set up a new list that sends to multiple existing lists - but
    only sends one message to each person - even if the person is a member
    of multiple lists?

    a. LSOFT calls this a "superlist"

    b. Can "Mailman" do this?
    Not directly, no. When all you have is the name of the list, you
    don't know who any of the subscribers are. Once you've handed the
    message off to the list (or sublist) itself, it knows who it's own
    subscribers are, but doesn't know who any of the other subscribers
    are for any of the other lists.

    With some command-line tools to dump the complete set of all
    subscribers from the selected sublists, then do a "sort -u" on those
    addresses and then re-import those into another list, you could
    achieve the same results. But this is not automatic, and would
    depend on you regularly running some sort of a cron job.

    Mailman 2.1.10 has a new 'sibling list' feature that enables setting up
    a list with no members and some siblings, the members of which will
    receive copies of a post to the first list without duplication. This
    is only one example of the use of sibling lists.

    Sibling lists are a much more powerful concept than umbrella lists. The
    only drawback is the sibling list features don't work for digest
    members or digests, but for individual message recipients, you can do
    much more than with umbrella lists and avoid duplicate messages.

    --
    Mark Sapiro <mark at msapiro.net> The highway is for gamblers,
    San Francisco Bay Area, California better use your sense - B. Dylan
  • Sandi Gruver at Feb 24, 2010 at 11:27 pm
    Dear Sirs,

    It's not clear to me even after reading MM archive posts how to contain this filesystem - /var/lib/mailman/archives/private.

    So I go in and manually gzip the <listname>.mbox/<listname>.mbox file, but that doesn't stop the growth.
    Yesterday I read about not gzipping the <listname>/2009-December.txt files so turned that off in mailman's cron.
    But ...

    104 lists on RedHat EL4 server.

    Thank you for simple, clear ideas, I'm not a programmer nor much of a techie.

    - Sandi
  • Mark Sapiro at Feb 25, 2010 at 1:24 am

    Sandi Gruver wrote:
    It's not clear to me even after reading MM archive posts how to contain this filesystem - /var/lib/mailman/archives/private.

    So I go in and manually gzip the <listname>.mbox/<listname>.mbox file, but that doesn't stop the growth.

    No, and if I understand correctly, you now have a relatively useless
    <listname>.mbox/<listname>.mbox file containing a gzipped mbox with
    additional text appended to it.

    Yesterday I read about not gzipping the <listname>/2009-December.txt files so turned that off in mailman's cron.
    But ...

    104 lists on RedHat EL4 server.

    Thank you for simple, clear ideas, I'm not a programmer nor much of a techie.

    If you don't have enough storage to support your archives, perhaps you
    should either get more or turn archiving off.

    The point of an archive is to archive messages. By its nature, it grows
    with time.

    Now that you're not gzipping the periodic .txt files, you can do

    rm /path/to/archives/private/*/*.txt.gz

    to remove all the old, redundant gzipped files.

    If you want to delete older messages from the pipermail archive, you
    can do something like, e.g.

    rm -r /path/to/archives/private/*/1997*
    rm -r /path/to/archives/private/*/attachments/1997*
    rm -r /path/to/archives/private/*/database/1997*

    This will remove all of 1997. The only problem is that the archive
    table of contents will still have links to those nonexistent pages.

    Another method is to edit the
    /path/to/archives/private/<listname>.mbox/<listname>.mbox files and
    remove older messages from the beginning of the file leaving only the
    newer messages at the end, and then run Mailman's

    bin/arch --wipe listname. This will leave a consistent archive, but
    it will renumber all the messages and break any saved links or links
    in archived messages to other archived messages.

    --
    Mark Sapiro <mark at msapiro.net> The highway is for gamblers,
    San Francisco Bay Area, California better use your sense - B. Dylan
  • Me at Feb 25, 2010 at 1:29 am

    On 25/02/2010 10:27, Sandi Gruver wrote:
    Dear Sirs,

    It's not clear to me even after reading MM archive posts how to contain this filesystem - /var/lib/mailman/archives/private.

    So I go in and manually gzip the<listname>.mbox/<listname>.mbox file, but that doesn't stop the growth.
    Yesterday I read about not gzipping the<listname>/2009-December.txt files so turned that off in mailman's cron.
    But ...

    104 lists on RedHat EL4 server.

    Thank you for simple, clear ideas, I'm not a programmer nor much of a techie.

    - Sandi
    Hello,

    What I think is that your 104 lists are set-up to archive messages.
    After a while your partition /var (if setup independant) becomes too
    small to handle all the messages archives.
    The only thing you have to do is the contact the system administrator of
    the server that handles your lists and ask him/her to increase the /var
    partition size.
    off-topic : that's not that easy as I would need to do it on one server ...

    Nicolas Canonne
  • Carl Zwanzig at Feb 25, 2010 at 1:32 am

    On 2/24/2010 3:27 PM, Sandi Gruver wrote:

    So I go in and manually gzip the<listname>.mbox/<listname>.mbox file, but
    that doesn't stop the growth. Yesterday I read about not gzipping
    the<listname>/2009-December.txt files so turned that off in mailman's
    cron. But ...
    The only way to stop an archive from growing is to stop archiving messages.
    You could, however, edit the archive mbox to remove old messages and
    regenerate the pages. Check out-
    http://wiki.list.org/pages/viewpage.action?pageId@30681 and
    http://wiki.list.org/pages/viewpage.action?pageIdv02232

    You could also move the archives to a bigger file system, but doesn't
    eliminate the problem, it just puts it off.

    z!
  • Steff Watkins at Feb 25, 2010 at 10:32 am

    So I go in and manually gzip the
    <listname>.mbox/<listname>.mbox file, but that doesn't stop
    the growth.
    ...
    - Sandi
    Forgive me if I'm barking up the wrong sequoia here...

    Do you mean that even though you've archived your files the amount of
    filespace is still above 90%?

    If so, that could be because the Mailman processes themselves are
    holding the location of the ends of the files so that it can write to
    them. It "may" be holding files open so that it can continuously write
    to them as and when it needs to.

    As such, even if you reduced the actual file length to zero bytes then a
    process would be holding open an X megabyte image of the file so the O/S
    would see it as X megabytes in use.

    I'd suggest arranging a little downtime and using the startup script,
    shutdown Mailman and then start it up again. This should only need a
    minute or two at the most. It should cause the various qrunner processes
    to close any files they may have open and then re-open them. This may
    "reclaim" the unused space that is marked as "in use" but isnt.

    Regards,
    Steff Watkins
    [What? No footer containg amusing quotes from HHGTTG?]

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