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GNU Mailman - Installation Manual

  Barry Warsaw
  barry (at) list dot org
  Release 2.1
  February 26, 2019
                                 Front Matter
  This document describes how to install GNU Mailman on a POSIX-based
  system such as Unix, MacOSX, or GNU/Linux. It will cover basic
  installation instructions, as well as guidelines for integrating
  Mailman with your web and mail servers.
  The GNU Mailman website is at
                         1 Installation Requirements
  Please note that the information on this page may be out of date. Check
  for the latest installation information on the Mailman wiki.
  GNU Mailman works on most POSIX-based systems such as Unix, MacOSX, or
  GNU/Linux. It does not currently work on Windows. You must have a mail
  server that you can send messages to, and a web server that supports
  the CGI/1.1 API. Apache makes a fine choice for web server, and mail
  servers such as Postfix, Exim, Sendmail, and qmail should work just
  To install Mailman from source, you will need an ANSI C compiler to
  build Mailman's security wrappers. The GNU C compiler gcc works well.
  You must have the Python interpreter installed somewhere on your
  system. As of this writing, Python 2.4.4 is recommended, but see the
  wiki page above for the latest information.
                             2 Set up your system
  Before installing Mailman, you need to prepare your system by adding
  certain users and groups. You will need to have root privileges to
  perform the steps in this section.

2.1 Add the group and user

  Mailman requires a unique user and group name which will own its files,
  and under which its processes will run. Mailman's basic security is
  based on group ownership permissions, so it's important to get this
  step right^1. Typically, you will add a new user and a new group, both
  called mailman. The mailman user must be a member of the mailman group.
  Mailman will be installed under the mailman user and group, with the
  set-group-id (setgid) bit enabled.
  If these names are already in use, you can choose different user and
  group names, as long as you remember these when you run configure. If
  you choose a different unique user name, you will have to specify this
  with configure's --with-username option, and if you choose a different
  group name, you will have to specify this with configure's
  --with-groupname option.
  On Linux systems, you can use the following commands to create these
  accounts. Check your system's manual pages for details:
   % groupadd mailman
   % useradd -c"GNU Mailman" -s /no/shell -d /no/home -g mailman mailman

2.2 Create the installation directory

  Typically, Mailman is installed into a single directory, which includes
  both the Mailman source code and the run-time list and archive data. It
  is possible to split the static program files from the variable data
  files and install them in separate directories. This section will
  describe the available options.
  The default is to install all of Mailman to /usr/local/mailman^2. You
  can change this base installation directory (referred to here as
  $prefix) by specifying the directory with the --prefix configure
  option. If you're upgrading from a previous version of Mailman, you may
  want to use the --prefix option unless you move your mailing lists.
  Warning: You cannot install Mailman on a filesystem that is mounted
  with the nosuid option. This will break Mailman, which relies on setgid
  programs for its security. If this describes your environment, simply
  install Mailman in a location that allows setgid programs.
  Make sure the installation directory is set to group mailman (or
  whatever you're going to specify with --with-groupname) and has the
  setgid bit set^3. You probably also want to guarantee that this
  directory is readable and executable by everyone. For example, these
  shell commands will accomplish this:
   % cd $prefix
   % chgrp mailman .
   % chmod a+rx,g+ws .
  Warning: The installation directory, $prefix, cannot be the same
  directory that the source tarball has been unpacked to and in which you
  run configure, but it can, if you wish, be a subdirectory, e.g.,
  You are now ready to configure and install the Mailman software.
                         3 Build and install Mailman

3.1 Run configure

  Before you can install Mailman, you must run configure to set various
  installation options your system might need.
  Note: Take special note of the --with-mail-gid and --with-cgi-gid
  options below. You will probably need to use these.
  You should not be root while performing the steps in this section. Do
  them under your own login, or whatever account you typically use to
  install software. You do not need to do these steps as user mailman,
  but you could. However, make sure that the login used is a member of
  the mailman group as that that group has write permissions to the
  $prefix directory made in the previous step. You must also have
  permission to create a setgid file in the file system where it resides
  (NFS and other mounts can be configured to inhibit setgid settings).
  If you've installed other GNU software, you should be familiar with the
  configure script. Usually you can just cd to the directory you unpacked
  the Mailman source tarball into, and run configure with no arguments:
 % cd mailman-<version>
 % ./configure
 % make install
  The following options allow you to customize your Mailman installation.
         Standard GNU configure option which changes the base directory
         that Mailman is installed into. By default $prefix is
         /usr/local/mailman. This directory must already exist, and be
         set up as described in 2.2.
         Standard GNU configure option which lets you specify a different
         installation directory for architecture dependent binaries.
         Store mutable data under dir instead of under the $prefix or
         $exec_prefix. Examples of such data include the list archives
         and list settings database.
         Specify an alternative Python interpreter to use for the wrapper
         programs. The default is to use the interpreter found first on
         your shell's $PATH.
         Specify a different username than mailman. The value of this
         option can be an integer user id or a user name. Be sure your
         $prefix directory is owned by this user.
         Specify a different groupname than mailman. The value of this
         option can be an integer group id or a group name. Be sure your
         $prefix directory is group-owned by this group.
         Specify an alternative group for running scripts via the mail
         wrapper. group-or-groups can be a list of one or more integer
         group ids or symbolic group names. The first value in the list
         that resolves to an existing group is used. By default, the
         value is the list mailman, other, mail, and daemon.
         Note: This is highly system dependent and you must get this
         right, because the group id is compiled into the mail wrapper
         program for added security. On systems using sendmail, the configuration file designates the group id of
         sendmail processes using the DefaultUser option. (If commented
         out, it still may be indicating the default...)
         Check your mail server's documentation and configuration files
         to find the right value for this switch.
         Specify an alternative group for running scripts via the CGI
         wrapper. group-or-groups can be a list of one or more integer
         group ids or symbolic group names. The first value in the list
         that resolves to an existing group is used. By default, the
         value is the the list www, www-data, and nobody.
         Note: The proper value for this is dependent on your web server
         configuration. You must get this right, because the group id is
         compiled into the CGI wrapper program for added security, and no
         Mailman CGI scripts will run if this is incorrect.
         If you're using Apache, check the values for the Group option in
         your httpd.conf file.
         Specify an extension for cgi-bin programs. The CGI wrappers
         placed in $prefix/cgi-bin will have this extension (some web
         servers require an extension). extension must include the
         leading dot.
         Specify the fully qualified host name part for outgoing email.
         After the installation is complete, this value can be overriden
         in $prefix/Mailman/
         Specify the fully qualified host name part of urls. After the
         installation is complete, this value can be overriden in
         Don't use gcc, even if it is found. In this case, cc must be
         found on your $PATH.

3.2 Make and install

  Once you've run configure, you can simply run make, then make install
  to build and install Mailman.
                          4 Check your installation
  After you've run make install, you should check that your installation
  has all the correct permissions and group ownerships by running the
  check_perms script. First change to the installation (i.e. $prefix)
  directory, then run the bin/check_perms program. Don't try to run
  bin/check_perms from the source directory; it will only run from the
  installation directory.
  If this reports no problems, then it's very likely <wink> that your
  installation is set up correctly. If it reports problems, then you can
  either fix them manually, re-run the installation, or use
  bin/check_perms to fix the problems (probably the easiest solution):
    * You need to become the user that did the installation, and that
      owns all the files in $prefix, or root.
    * Run bin/check_perms -f
    * Repeat previous step until no more errors are reported!
  Warning: If you're running Mailman on a shared multiuser system, and
  you have mailing lists with private archives, you may want to hide the
  private archive directory from other users on your system. In that
  case, you should drop the other execute permission (o-x) from the
  archives/private directory. However, the web server process must be
  able to follow the symbolic link in public directory, otherwise your
  public Pipermail archives will not work. To set this up, become root
  and run the following commands:
  1. cd <prefix>/archives
  2. chown <web-server-user> private
  3. chmod o-x private
  You need to know what user your web server runs as. It may be www,
  apache, httpd or nobody, depending on your server's configuration.
                           5 Set up your web server
  Congratulations! You've installed the Mailman software. To get
  everything running you need to hook Mailman up to both your web server
  and your mail system.
  If you plan on running your mail and web servers on different machines,
  sharing Mailman installations via NFS, be sure that the clocks on those
  two machines are synchronized closely. You might take a look at the
  file Mailman/; the constant CLOCK_SLOP helps the locking
  mechanism compensate for clock skew in this type of environment.
  This section describes some of the things you need to do to connect
  Mailman's web interface to your web server. The instructions here are
  somewhat geared toward the Apache web server, so you should consult
  your web server documentation for details.
  You must configure your web server to enable CGI script permission in
  the $prefix/cgi-bin to run CGI scripts. The line you should add might
  look something like the following, with the real absolute directory
  substituted for $prefix, of course:
   Exec        /mailman/*      $prefix/cgi-bin/*
   ScriptAlias /mailman/       $prefix/cgi-bin/
  Warning: You want to be very sure that the user id under which your CGI
  scripts run is not in the mailman group you created above, otherwise
  private archives will be accessible to anyone.
  Copy the Mailman, Python, and GNU logos to a location accessible to
  your web server. E.g. with Apache, you've usually got an icons
  directory that you can drop the images into. For example:
   % cp $prefix/icons/*.{jpg,png} /path/to/apache/icons
  You then want to add a line to your $prefix/Mailman/ file
  which sets the base URL for the logos. For example:
 IMAGE_LOGOS = '/images/'
  The default value for IMAGE_LOGOS is /icons/. Read the comment in for details.
  Configure your web server to point to the Pipermail public mailing list
  archives. For example, in Apache:
   Alias   /pipermail/     $varprefix/archives/public/
  where $varprefix is usually $prefix unless you've used the
  --with-var-prefix option to configure. Also be sure to configure your
  web server to follow symbolic links in this directory, otherwise public
  Pipermail archives won't be accessible. For Apache users, consult the
  FollowSymLinks option.
  If you're going to be supporting internationalized public archives, you
  will probably want to turn off any default charset directive for the
  Pipermail directory, otherwise your multilingual archive pages won't
  show up correctly. Here's an example for Apache, based on the standard
  installation directories:
   <Directory "/usr/local/mailman/archives/public/">
       AddDefaultCharset Off
  Also, you may need to specifically allow access to Mailman's
  directories. For example, in Apache, the above Directory block may need
  something like
       Require all granted
       Order allow,deny
       Allow from all
  depending on the Apache version and similarly for the $prefix/cgi-bin/
  Now restart your web server.
                          6 Set up your mail server
  This section describes some of the things you need to do to connect
  Mailman's email interface to your mail server. The instructions here
  are different for each mail server; if your mail server is not
  described in the following subsections, try to generalize from the
  existing documentation, and consider contributing documentation updates
  to the Mailman developers.
  Under rare circumstances or due to mis-configuration, mail to the
  owner(s) of the 'mailman' site-list (see section 8) can bounce. In
  order to prevent a mail loop this mail is sent with envelope from
  mailman-loop which is normally aliased as
   mailman-loop: $varprefix/data/owner-bounces.mbox
  but which can be aliased to any, always deliverable, local address or
  file. If you are using the Postfix MTA integrated as described in
  section 6.1, this alias will be generated automatically. In all other
  cases, you should install this alias along with your normal system

6.1 Using the Postfix mail server

  Mailman should work pretty much out of the box with a standard Postfix
  installation. It has been tested with various Postfix versions up to
  and including Postfix 2.11.3 (as of April 2016).
  In order to support Mailman's optional VERP delivery, you will want to
  disable luser_relay (the default) and you will want to set
  recipient_delimiter for extended address semantics. You should comment
  out any luser_relay value in your and just go with the
  defaults. Also, add this to your file:
   recipient_delimiter = +
  Using "+" as the delimiter works well with the default values for
  When attempting to deliver a message to a non-existent local address,
  Postfix may return a 450 error code. Since this is a transient error
  code, Mailman will continue to attempt to deliver the message for
  DELIVERY_RETRY_PERIOD - 5 days by default. You might want to set
  Postfix up so that it returns permanent error codes for non-existent
  local users by adding the following to your file:
   unknown_local_recipient_reject_code = 550
  Finally, if you are using Postfix-style virtual domains, read the
  section on virtual domain support below.
 6.1.1 Integrating Postfix and Mailman
  You can integrate Postfix and Mailman such that when new lists are
  created, or lists are removed, Postfix's alias database will be
  automatically updated. The following are the steps you need to take to
  make this work.
  In the description below, we assume that you've installed Mailman in
  the default location, i.e. /usr/local/mailman. If that's not the case,
  adjust the instructions according to your use of configure's --prefix
  and --with-var-prefix options.
  Note: If you are using virtual domains and you want Mailman to honor
  your virtual domains, read the 6.1 section below first! Then come back
  here and do these steps.
    * Add this to the bottom of the $prefix/Mailman/ file:
       MTA = 'Postfix'
      The MTA variable names a module in the Mailman/MTA directory which
      contains the mail server-specific functions to be executed when a
      list is created or removed.
    * Look at the file for the variables POSTFIX_ALIAS_CMD
      and POSTFIX_MAP_CMD command. Make sure these point to your
      postalias and postmap programs respectively. Remember that if you
      need to make changes, do it in
    * Run the bin/genaliases script to initialize your aliases file.
       % cd /usr/local/mailman
       % bin/genaliases
      Make sure that the owner of the data/aliases and data/aliases.db
      file is mailman, that the group owner for those files is mailman,
      or whatever user and group you used in the configure command, and
      that both files are group writable:
       % su
       % chown mailman:mailman data/aliases*
       % chmod g+w data/aliases*
    * Hack your Postfix's file to include the following path in
      your alias_maps variable:
      Note that there should be no trailing .db. Do not include this in
      your alias_database variable. This is because you do not want
      Postfix's newaliases command to modify Mailman's aliases.db file,
      but you do want Postfix to consult aliases.db when looking for
      local addresses.
      You probably want to use a hash: style database for this entry.
      Here's an example:
       alias_maps = hash:/etc/postfix/aliases,
    * When you configure Mailman, use the --with-mail-gid=mailman switch;
      this will be the default if you configured Mailman after adding the
      mailman owner. Because the owner of the aliases.db file is mailman,
      Postfix will execute Mailman's wrapper program as uid and gid
  That's it! One caveat: when you add or remove a list, the aliases.db
  file will updated, but it will not automatically run postfix reload.
  This is because you need to be root to run this and suid-root scripts
  are not secure. The only effect of this is that it will take about a
  minute for Postfix to notice the change to the aliases.db file and
  update its tables.
 6.1.2 Virtual domains
  Note: This section describes how to integrate Mailman with Postfix for
  automatic generation of Postfix virtual_alias_maps for Mailman list
  addresses. Mailman's support of virtual domains is limited in that list
  names must be globally unique within a single Mailman instance, i.e.,
  two lists may not have the same name even if they are in different
  Postfix 2.0 supports ``virtual alias domains, essentially what used
  to be called ``Postfix-style virtual domains in earlier Postfix
  versions. To make virtual alias domains work with Mailman, you need to
  do some setup in both Postfix and Mailman. Mailman will write all
  virtual alias mappings to a file called, by default,
  /usr/local/mailman/data/virtual-mailman. It will also use postmap to
  create the virtual-mailman.db file that Postfix will actually use.
  First, you need to set up the Postfix virtual alias domains as
  described in the Postfix documentation (see Postfix's virtual(5)
  manpage). Note that it's your responsibility to include the
  virtual-alias.domain anything line as described manpage (in recent
  Postfix this is not required if the domain is included in
  virtual_alias_domains in; Mailman will not include this line
  in virtual-mailman. You are highly encouraged to make sure your virtual
  alias domains are working properly before integrating with Mailman.
  Next, add a path to Postfix's virtual_alias_maps variable, pointing to
  the virtual-mailman file, e.g.:
   virtual_alias_maps = <your normal virtual alias files>,
  assuming you've installed Mailman in the default location. If you're
  using an older version of Postfix which doesn't have the
  virtual_alias_maps variable, use the virtual_maps variable instead.
  The default mappings in virtual-mailman map list addresses in virtual
  domains to unqualified local names as in:
   mylist@dom.ain         mylist
   mylist-request@dom.ain mylist-request
   # and so on...
  In some Postfix configurations it may be necessary to qualify those
  local names as for example:
   mylist@dom.ain         mylist@localhost
   mylist-request@dom.ain mylist-request@localhost
   # and so on...
  If this is the case, you can include
  or whatever qualification is needed in
  Next, in your file, you will want to set the variable
  POSTFIX_STYLE_VIRTUAL_DOMAINS to the list of virtual domains that
  Mailman should update. This may not be all of the virtual alias domains
  that your Postfix installation supports! The values in this list will
  be matched against the host_name attribute of mailing lists objects,
  and must be an exact match.
  Here's an example. Note that this example describes an unusual
  configuration. A more usual configuration is described next. Say that
  Postfix is configured to handle the virtual domains dom1.ain, dom2.ain,
  and dom3.ain, and further that in your file you've got the
  following settings:
   myhostname = mail.dom1.ain
   mydomain = dom1.ain
   mydestination = $myhostname, localhost.$mydomain
   virtual_alias_maps =
  If in your virtual-dom1 file, you've got the following lines:
   dom1.ain  IGNORE
   @dom1.ain @mail.dom1.ain
  this tells Postfix to deliver anything addressed to dom1.ain to the
  same mailbox at, its default destination.
  In this case you would not include dom1.ain in
  POSTFIX_STYLE_VIRTUAL_DOMAINS because otherwise Mailman will write
  entries for mailing lists in the dom1.ain domain as
   mylist@dom1.ain         mylist
   mylist-request@dom1.ain mylist-request
   # and so on...
  The more specific entries trump your more general entries, thus
  breaking the delivery of any dom1.ain mailing list.
  However, you would include dom2.ain and dom3.ain in
   POSTFIX_STYLE_VIRTUAL_DOMAINS = ['dom2.ain', 'dom3.ain']
  Now, any list that Mailman creates in either of those two domains, will
  have the correct entries written to
  In a more usual configuration, dom1.ain would not be a virtual domain
  at all as in the following:
   myhostname = mail.dom1.ain
   mydomain = dom1.ain
   mydestination = $myhostname, $mydomain localhost.$mydomain
   virtual_alias_maps =
  In this case too, you would include dom2.ain and dom3.ain in
   POSTFIX_STYLE_VIRTUAL_DOMAINS = ['dom2.ain', 'dom3.ain']
  As in the previous section with the data/aliases* files, you want to
  make sure that both data/virtual-mailman and data/virtual-mailman.db
  are user and group owned by mailman.
 6.1.3 An alternative approach
  Fil has an alternative approach based on virtual maps and
  regular expressions, as described at:
    * (French)
    * (English)
  This is a good (and simpler) alternative if you don't mind exposing an
  additional hostname in the domain part of the addresses people will use
  to contact your list. I.e. if people should use mylist@lists.dom.ain
  instead of mylist@dom.ain.

6.2 Using the Exim mail server

  Note: This section is derived from Nigel Metheringham's ``HOWTO - Using
  Exim and Mailman together, which covers Mailman 2.0.x and Exim 3. It
  has been updated to cover Mailman 2.1 and Exim 4. The updated document
  is here: and is recommended
  over the information in the subsections below if you are using Exim 4.
  There is no Mailman configuration needed other than the standard
  options detailed in the Mailman install documentation. The Exim
  configuration is transparent to Mailman. The user and group settings
  for Mailman must match those in the config fragments given below.
 6.2.1 Exim configuration
  The Exim configuration is built so that a list created within Mailman
  automatically appears to Exim without the need for defining any
  additional aliases.
  The drawback of this configuration is that it will work poorly on
  systems supporting lists in several different mail domains. While
  Mailman handles virtual domains, it does not yet support having two
  distinct lists with the same name in different virtual domains, using
  the same Mailman installation. This will eventually change. (But see
  below for a variation on this scheme that should accommodate virtual
  domains better.)
  The configuration file excerpts below are for use in an already
  functional Exim configuration, which accepts mail for the domain in
  which the list resides. If this domain is separate from the others
  handled by your Exim configuration, then you'll need to:
    * add the list domain, ``my.list.domain to local_domains
    * add a ``domains=my.list.domain option to the director (router)
      for the list
    * (optional) exclude that domain from your other directors (routers)
  Note: The instructions in this document should work with either Exim 3
  or Exim 4. In Exim 3, you must have a local_domains configuration
  setting; in Exim 4, you most likely have a local_domains domainlist. If
  you don't, you probably know what you're doing and can adjust
  accordingly. Similarly, in Exim 4 the concept of ``directors has
  disappeared - there are only routers now. So if you're using Exim 4,
  whenever this document says ``director, read ``router.
  Whether you are using Exim 3 or Exim 4, you will need to add some
  macros to the main section of your Exim config file. You will also need
  to define one new transport. With Exim 3, you'll need to add a new
  director; with Exim 4, a new router plays the same role.
  Finally, the configuration supplied here should allow co-habiting
  Mailman 2.0 and 2.1 installations, with the proviso that you'll
  probably want to use mm21 in place of mailman - e.g., MM21_HOME,
  mm21_transport, etc.
 6.2.2 Main configuration settings
  First, you need to add some macros to the top of your Exim config file.
  These just make the director (router) and transport below a bit
  cleaner. Obviously, you'll need to edit these based on how you
  configured and installed Mailman.
   # Home dir for your Mailman installation -- aka Mailman's prefix
   # directory.
   # User and group for Mailman, should match your --with-mail-gid
   # switch to Mailman's configure script.
 6.2.3 Transport for Exim 3
  Add this to the transports section of your Exim config file, i.e.
  somewhere between the first and second ``end line:
   driver = pipe
   command = MAILMAN_WRAP \
             '${if def:local_part_suffix \
                   {${sg{$local_part_suffix}{-(\\w+)(\\+.*)?}{\$1}}} \
                   {post}}' \
   current_directory = MAILMAN_HOME
   home_directory = MAILMAN_HOME
   user = MAILMAN_USER
   group = MAILMAN_GROUP
 6.2.4 Director for Exim 3
  If you're using Exim 3, you'll need to add the following director to
  your config file (directors go between the second and third ``end
  lines). Also, don't forget that order matters - e.g. you can make
  Mailman lists take precedence over system aliases by putting this
  director in front of your aliasfile director, or vice-versa.
 # Handle all addresses related to a list 'foo': the posting address.
 # Automatically detects list existence by looking
 # for lists/$local_part/config.pck under MAILMAN_HOME.
   driver = smartuser
   require_files = MAILMAN_HOME/lists/$local_part/config.pck
   suffix = -bounces : -bounces+* : \
            -confirm+* : -join : -leave : \
            -owner : -request : -admin
   transport = mailman_transport
 6.2.5 Router for Exim 4
  In Exim 4, there's no such thing as directors - you need to add a new
  router instead. Also, the canonical order of the configuration file was
  changed so routers come before transports, so the router for Exim 4
  comes first here. Put this router somewhere after the ``begin routers
  line of your config file, and remember that order matters.
   driver = accept
   require_files = MAILMAN_HOME/lists/$local_part/config.pck
   local_part_suffix = -admin : -bounces : -bounces+* : \
                       -confirm : -confirm+* : \
                       -join : -leave : \
                       -owner : -request : \
                       -subscribe : -unsubscribe
   transport = mailman_transport
 6.2.6 Transports for Exim 4
  The transport for Exim 4 is the same as for Exim 3 (see 6.2; just copy
  the transport given above to somewhere under the ``begin transports
  line of your Exim config file.
 6.2.7 Additional notes
  Exim should be configured to allow reasonable volume - e.g. don't set
  max_recipients down to a silly value - and with normal degrees of
  security - specifically, be sure to allow relaying from, but
  pretty much nothing else. Parallel deliveries and other tweaks can also
  be used if you like; experiment with your setup to see what works.
  Delay warning messages should be switched off or configured to only
  happen for non-list mail, unless you like receiving tons of mail when
  some random host is down.
 6.2.8 Problems
    * Mailman will send as many MAIL FROM/RCPT TO as it needs. It may
      result in more than 10 or 100 messages sent in one connection,
      which will exceed the default value of Exim's
      smtp_accept_queue_per_connection value. This is bad because it will
      cause Exim to switch into queue mode and severely delay delivery of
      your list messages. The way to fix this is to set Mailman's
      SMTP_MAX_SESSIONS_PER_CONNECTION (in $prefix/Mailman/ to
      a smaller value than Exim's smtp_accept_queue_per_connection.
    * Mailman should ignore Exim delay warning messages, even though Exim
      should never send this to list messages. Mailman 2.1's general
      bounce detection and VERP support should greatly improve the bounce
      detector's hit rates.
    * List existence is determined by the existence of a config.pck file
      for a list. If you delete lists by foul means, be aware of this.
    * If you are getting Exim or Mailman complaining about user ids when
      you send mail to a list, check that the MAILMAN_USER and
      MAILMAN_GROUP match those of Mailman itself (i.e. what were used in
      the configure script). Also make sure you do not have aliases in
      the main alias file for the list.
 6.2.9 Receiver Verification
  Exim's receiver verification feature is very useful - it lets Exim
  reject unrouteable addresses at SMTP time. However, this is most useful
  for externally-originating mail that is addressed to mail in one of
  your local domains. For Mailman list traffic, mail originates on your
  server, and is addressed to random external domains that are not under
  your control. Furthermore, each message is addressed to many recipients
  - up to 500 if you use Mailman's default configuration and don't tweak
  Doing receiver verification on Mailman list traffic is a recipe for
  trouble. In particular, Exim will attempt to route every recipient
  addresses in outgoing Mailman list posts. Even though this requires
  nothing more than a few DNS lookups for each address, it can still
  introduce significant delays. Therefore, you should disable recipient
  verification for Mailman traffic.
  Under Exim 3, put this in your main configuration section:
   receiver_verify_hosts = !
  Under Exim 4, this is probably already taken care of for you by the
  default recipient verification ACL statement (in the RCPT TO ACL):
 accept  domains       = +local_domains
         message       = unknown user
         verify        = recipient
  which only does recipient verification on addresses in your domain.
  (That's not exactly the same as doing recipient verification only on
  messages coming from non- hosts, but it should do the trick
  for Mailman.)
 6.2.10 SMTP Callback
  Exim's SMTP callback feature is an even more powerful way to detect
  bogus sender addresses than normal sender verification. Unfortunately,
  lots of servers send bounce messages with a bogus address in the
  header, and there are plenty that send bounces with bogus envelope
  senders (even though they're supposed to just use an empty envelope
  sender for bounces).
  In order to ensure that Mailman can disable/remove bouncing addresses,
  you generally want to receive bounces for Mailman lists, even if those
  bounces are themselves not bounceable. Thus, you might want to disable
  SMTP callback on bounce messages.
  With Exim 4, you can accomplish this using something like the following
  in your RCPT TO ACL:
 # Accept bounces to lists even if callbacks or other checks would fail
 warn     message      = X-WhitelistedRCPT-nohdrfromcallback: Yes
          condition    = \
          ${if and {{match{$local_part}{(.*)-bounces\+.*}} \
                    {exists {MAILMAN_HOME/lists/$1/config.pck}}} \
 accept   condition    = \
          ${if and {{match{$local_part}{(.*)-bounces\+.*}} \
                    {exists {MAILMAN_HOME/lists/$1/config.pck}}} \
 # Now, check sender address with SMTP callback.
 deny   !verify = sender/callout=90s
  If you also do SMTP callbacks on header addresses, you'll want
  something like this in your DATA ACL:
 deny   !condition = $header_X-WhitelistedRCPT-nohdrfromcallback:
        !verify = header_sender/callout=90s
 6.2.11 Doing VERP with Exim and Mailman
  VERP will send one email, with a separate envelope sender (return
  path), for each of your subscribers - read the information in
  $prefix/Mailman/ for the options that start with VERP. In a
  nutshell, all you need to do to enable VERP with Exim is to add these
  lines to $prefix/Mailman/
  (The director (router) above is smart enough to deal with VERP
 6.2.12 Virtual Domains
  One approach to handling virtual domains is to use a separate Mailman
  installation for each virtual domain. Currently, this is the only way
  to have lists with the same name in different virtual domains handled
  by the same machine.
  In this case, the MAILMAN_HOME and MAILMAN_WRAP macros are useless -
  you can remove them. Change your director (router) to something like
 require_files = /virtual/${domain}/mailman/lists/${lc:$local_part}/config.pck
  and change your transport like this:
 command = /virtual/${domain}/mailman/mail/mailman \
           ${if def:local_part_suffix \
                {post}} \
 current_directory = /virtual/${domain}/mailman
 home_directory = /virtual/${domain}/mailman
 6.2.13 List Verification
  This is how a set of address tests for the Exim lists look on a working
  system. The list in question is, and
  these commands were run on the mail server ("% "
  indicates the Unix shell prompt):
 % exim -bt quixote-users
   router = mailman_main_router, transport = mailman_transport
 % exim -bt quixote-users-request
   router = mailman_router, transport = mailman_transport
 % exim -bt quixote-users-bounces
   router = mailman_router, transport = mailman_transport
 % exim -bt
   router = mailman_router, transport = mailman_transport
  If your exim -bt output looks something like this, that's a start: at
  least it means Exim will pass the right messages to the right Mailman
  commands. It by no means guarantees that your Exim/Mailman installation
  is functioning perfectly, though!
 6.2.14 Document History
  Originally written by Nigel Metheringham Updated
  by Marc Merlin for Mailman 2.1, Exim 4.
  Overhauled/reformatted/clarified/simplified by Greg Ward

6.3 Using the Sendmail mail server

  Warning: You may be tempted to set the DELIVERY_MODULE configuration
  variable in to 'Sendmail' when using the Sendmail mail
  server. Don't. The module is misnamed - it's really a
  command line based message handoff scheme as opposed to the SMTP scheme
  used in (the default). has known security
  holes and is provided as a proof-of-concept only^4. If you are having
  problems using fix those instead of using, or
  you may open your system up to security exploits.
 6.3.1 Sendmail ``smrsh compatibility
  Many newer versions of Sendmail come with a restricted execution
  utility called ``smrsh, which limits the executables that Sendmail
  will allow to be used as mail programs. You need to explicitly allow
  Mailman's wrapper program to be used with smrsh or Mailman will not
  work. If mail is not getting delivered to Mailman's wrapper program and
  you're getting an ``operating system error in your mail syslog, this
  could be your problem.
  One good way of enabling this is:
    * Find out where your Sendmail executes its smrsh wrapper
           % grep smrsh /etc/mail/
    * Figure out where smrsh expects symlinks for allowable mail
      programs. At the very beginning of the following output you will
      see a full path to some directory, e.g. /var/adm/sm.bin or similar:
           % strings $path_to_smrsh | less
    * cd into /var/adm/sm.bin, or where ever it happens to reside on your
      system - alternatives include /etc/smrsh, /var/smrsh and
           % cd /var/adm/sm.bin
    * Create a symbolic link to Mailman's wrapper program:
           % ln -s /usr/local/mailman/mail/mailman mailman
 6.3.2 Integrating Sendmail and Mailman
  David Champion has contributed a recipe for more closely integrating
  Sendmail and Mailman, such that Sendmail will automatically recognize
  and deliver to new mailing lists as they are created, without having to
  manually edit alias tables.
  In the contrib directory of Mailman's source distribution, you will
  find four files:
    * mm-handler.readme - an explanation of how to set everything up
    * mm-handler - the mail delivery agent (MDA)
    * - a toy configuration file sample
    * virtusertable - a sample for RFC 2142 address exceptions
 6.3.3 Performance notes
  One of the surest performance killers for Sendmail users is when
  Sendmail is configured to synchronously verify the recipient's host via
  DNS. If it does this for messages posted to it from Mailman, you will
  get horrible performance. Since Mailman usually connects via localhost
  (i.e. to the SMTP port of Sendmail, you should be sure to
  configure Sendmail to not do DNS verification synchronously for
  localhost connections.

6.4 Using the Qmail mail server

  There are some issues that users of the qmail mail transport agent have
  encountered. None of the core maintainers use qmail, so all of this
  information has been contributed by the Mailman user community,
  especially Martin Preishuber and Christian Tismer, with notes by Balazs
  Nagy (BN) and Norbert Bollow (NB).
    * You might need to set the mail-gid user to either qmail, mailman,
      or nofiles by using the --with-mail-gid configure option.
      BN: it highly depends on your mail storing policy. For example if
      you use the simple ~alias/.qmail-* files, you can use `id -g
      alias`. But if you use /var/qmail/users, the specified mail gid can
      be used.
      If you are going to be directing virtual domains directly to the
      mailman user (using ``virtualdomains on a list-only domain, for
      example), you will have to use --with-mail-gid=gid of mailman
      user's group. This is incompatible with having list aliases in
      ~alias, unless that alias simply forwards to mailman-listname*.
    * If there is a user mailman on your system, the alias mailman-owner
      will work only in ~mailman. You have to do a touch .qmail-owner in
      ~mailman directory to create this alias.
      NB: An alternative, IMHO better solution is to chown root ~mailman,
      that will stop qmail from considering mailman to be a user to whom
      mail can be delivered. (See ``man 8 qmail-getpw.)
    * In a related issue, if you have any users with the same name as one
      of your mailing lists, you will have problems if list names contain
      "-" in them. Putting .qmail redirections into the user's home
      directory doesn't work because the Mailman wrappers will not get
      spawned with the proper GID. The solution is to put the following
      lines in the /var/qmail/users/assign file:
      where in this case the listname is e.g. zope-users.
      NB: Alternatively, you could host the lists on a virtual domain,
      and use the /var/qmail/control/virtualdomains file to put the
      mailman user in charge of this virtual domain.
    * BN:If inbound messages are delivered by another user than mailman,
      it's necessary to allow it to access ~mailman. Be sure that
      ~mailman has group writing access and setgid bit is set. Then put
      the delivering user to mailman group, and you can deny access to
      ~mailman to others. Be sure that you can do the same with the WWW
      By the way the best thing is to make a virtual mail server to
      handle all of the mail. NB: E.g. make an additional "A" DNS record
      for the virtual mailserver pointing to your IP address, add the
      line to /var/qmail/control/virtualdomains and
      a line to /var/qmail/control/rcpthosts file. Don't
      forget to HUP the qmail-send after modifying ``virtualdomains.
      Then every mail to will arrive to's
      mailman user.
      Then make your aliases:
         .qmail              => mailman@...'s letters
         .qmail-owner        => mailman-owner's letters
      For list aliases, you can either create them manually:
         .qmail-list         => posts to the 'list' list
         .qmail-list-admin   => posts to the 'list's owner
         .qmail-list-request => requests to 'list'
      or for automatic list alias handling (when using the
      virtual as above), see contrib/ in the Mailman
      source distribution. Modify the ~mailman/.qmail-default to include:
         |preline /path/to/python /path/to/
      and new lists will automatically be picked up.
    * You have to make sure that the localhost can relay. If you start
      qmail via inetd and tcpenv, you need some line the following in
      your /etc/hosts.allow file:
     tcp-env: 127. 10.205.200. : setenv RELAYCLIENT
      where 10.205.200. is your IP address block. If you use tcpserver,
      then you need something like the following in your /etc/tcp.smtp
    * BN: Bigger /var/qmail/control/concurrencyremote values work better
      sending outbound messages, within reason. Unless you know your
      system can handle it (many if not most cannot) this should not be
      set to a value greater than 120.
    * More information about setting up qmail and relaying can be found
      in the qmail documentation.
  BN: Last but not least, here's a little script to generate aliases to
  your lists (if for some reason you can/will not have them automatically
  picked up using contrib/
  This script is for the Mailman 2.0 series:
  1. !/bin/sh

if [ $# = 1 ]; then

   echo Making links to $i in the current directory...
   echo "|preline /home/mailman/mail/mailman post $i" > .qmail-$i
   echo "|preline /home/mailman/mail/mailman mailowner $i" > .qmail-$i-admin
   echo "|preline /home/mailman/mail/mailman mailowner $i" > .qmail-$i-owner
   echo "|preline /home/mailman/mail/mailman mailowner $i" > .qmail-owner-$i
   echo "|preline /home/mailman/mail/mailman mailcmd $i" > .qmail-$i-request


  Note: This is for a new Mailman 2.1 installation. Users upgrading from
  Mailman 2.0 would most likely change /usr/local/mailman to
  /home/mailman. If in doubt, refer to the --prefix option passed to
  configure during compile time.
  1. !/bin/sh

if [ $# = 1 ]; then

   echo Making links to $i in the current directory...
   echo "|preline /usr/local/mailman/mail/mailman post $i" > .qmail-$i
   echo "|preline /usr/local/mailman/mail/mailman admin $i" > .qmail-$i-admin
   echo "|preline /usr/local/mailman/mail/mailman bounces $i" > .qmail-$i-bounc


   # The following line is for VERP
   # echo "|preline /usr/local/mailman/mail/mailman bounces $i" > .qmail-$i-bou


   echo "|preline /usr/local/mailman/mail/mailman confirm $i" > .qmail-$i-confi


   echo "|preline /usr/local/mailman/mail/mailman join $i" > .qmail-$i-join
   echo "|preline /usr/local/mailman/mail/mailman leave $i" > .qmail-$i-leave
   echo "|preline /usr/local/mailman/mail/mailman owner $i" > .qmail-$i-owner
   echo "|preline /usr/local/mailman/mail/mailman request $i" > .qmail-$i-reque


   echo "|preline /usr/local/mailman/mail/mailman subscribe $i" > .qmail-$i-sub


   echo "|preline /usr/local/mailman/mail/mailman unsubscribe $i" > .qmail-$i-u

nsubscribe fi

 6.4.1 Information on VERP
  You will note in the alias generating script for 2.1 above, there is a
  line for VERP that has been commented out. If you are interested in
  VERP there are two options. The first option is to allow Mailman to do
  the VERP formatting. To activate this, uncomment that line and add the
  following lines to your file:
   VERP_FORMAT = '%(bounces)s-+%(mailbox)s=%(host)s'
   VERP_REGEXP = r'^(?P<bounces>.*?)-\+(?P<mailbox>[^=]+)=(?P<host>[^@]+)@.*$'
  The second option is a patch on SourceForge located at:
  This patch currently needs more testing and might best be suitable for
  developers or people well familiar with qmail. Having said that, this
  patch is the more qmail-friendly approach resulting in large
  performance gains.
 6.4.2 Virtual mail server
  As mentioned in the 6.4 section for a virtual mail server, a patch
  under testing is located at:
  Again, this patch is for people familiar with their qmail installation.
 6.4.3 More information
  You might be interested in some information on modifying footers that
  Norbert Bollow has written about Mailman and qmail, available here:
                         7 Review your site defaults
  Mailman has a large number of site-wide configuration options which you
  should now review and change according to your needs. Some of the
  options control how Mailman interacts with your environment, and other
  options select defaults for newly created lists^5. There are system
  tuning parameters and integration options.
  The full set of site-wide defaults lives in the
  $prefix/Mailman/ file, however you should never modify this
  file! Instead, change the file in that same directory. You
  only need to add values to that are different than the
  defaults in, and future Mailman upgrades are guaranteed
  never to touch your file.
  The file is documented extensively, so the options are not
  described here. The and are both Python files so
  valid Python syntax must be maintained or your Mailman installation
  will break.
  You should make any changes to using the account you
  installed Mailman under in the 3 section.
                      8 Create a site-wide mailing list
  After you have completed the integration of Mailman and your mail
  server, you need to create a ``site-wide mailing list. This is the
  one that password reminders will appear to come from, and it is
  required for proper Mailman operation. Usually this should be a list
  called mailman, but if you need to change this, be sure to change the
  MAILMAN_SITE_LIST variable in You can create the site list
  with this command, following the prompts:
   % bin/newlist mailman
  Now configure your site list. There is a convenient template for a
  generic site list in the installation directory, under
  data/sitelist.cfg which can help you with this. You should review the
  configuration options in the template, but note that any options not
  named in the sitelist.cfg file won't be changed.
  The template can be applied to your site list by running:
   % bin/config_list -i data/sitelist.cfg mailman
  After applying the sitelist.cfg options, be sure you review the site
  list's configuration via the admin pages.
  You should also subscribe yourself to the site list.
                                9 Set up cron
  Several Mailman features occur on a regular schedule, so you must set
  up cron to run the right programs at the right time^6.
  If your version of crontab supports the -u option, you must be root to
  do this next step. Add $prefix/cron/ as a crontab entry by
  executing these commands:
   % cd $prefix/cron
   % crontab -u mailman
  If you used the --with-username option, use that user name instead of
  mailman for the -u argument value. If your crontab does not support the
  -u option, try these commands:
   % cd $prefix/cron
   % su - mailman
   % crontab
  Warning: If you accepted the defaults for the --with-username option
  and for the name of the site list, and one of the cron jobs ever
  encounters an error, the cron daemon will mail the error output to the
  'mailman' user and it will most likely be delivered to the 'mailman'
  site list and possibly not be accepted. For this reason it is a good
  idea to insert
  at the beginning of before installing it to cause this
  output to be mailed to a real user or to the owner of the site list or
  to configure the site list (see section 8) to accept this mail.
                         10 Start the Mailman qrunner
  Mailman depends on a process called the ``qrunner to delivery all
  email messages it sees. You must start the qrunner by executing the
  following command from the $prefix directory:
   % bin/mailmanctl start
  You probably want to start Mailman every time you reboot your system.
  Exactly how to do this depends on your operating system. If your OS
  supports the chkconfig command (e.g. RedHat and Mandrake Linuxes) you
  can do the following (as root, from the Mailman install directory):
   % cp misc/mailman /etc/init.d/mailman
   % chkconfig --add mailman
  Note that /etc/init.d may be /etc/rc.d/init.d on some systems.
  On Gentoo Linux, you can do the following:
   % cp misc/mailman /etc/init.d/mailman
   % rc-update add mailman default
  On Debian, you probably want to use:
   % update-rc.d mailman defaults
  For Unixes that don't support chkconfig, you might try the following
  set of commands:
   % cp misc/mailman /etc/init.d/mailman
   % cd /etc/rc.d/rc0.d
   % ln -s ../init.d/mailman K12mailman
   % cd ../rc1.d
   % ln -s ../init.d/mailman K12mailman
   % cd ../rc2.d
   % ln -s ../init.d/mailman S98mailman
   % cd ../rc3.d
   % ln -s ../init.d/mailman S98mailman
   % cd ../rc4.d
   % ln -s ../init.d/mailman S98mailman
   % cd ../rc5.d
   % ln -s ../init.d/mailman S98mailman
   % cd ../rc6.d
   % ln -s ../init.d/mailman K12mailman
                        11 Check the hostname settings
  You should check the values for DEFAULT_EMAIL_HOST and DEFAULT_URL_HOST
  in Make any necessary changes in the file, not
  in the file. If you change either of these two values,
  you'll want to add the following afterwards in the file:
  You will want to run the bin/ to change the domain of any
  existing lists.
                         12 Create the site password
  There are two site-wide passwords that you can create from the command
  line, using the bin/mmsitepass script. The first is the ``site
  password which can be used anywhere a password is required in the
  system. The site password will get you into the administration page for
  any list, and it can be used to log in as any user. Think root for a
  Unix system, so pick this password wisely!
  The second password is a site-wide ``list creator password. You can
  use this to delegate the ability to create new mailing lists without
  providing all the privileges of the site password. Of course, the owner
  of the site password can also create new mailing lists, but the list
  creator password is limited to just that special role.
  To set the site password, use this command:
   % $prefix/bin/mmsitepass <your-site-password>
  To set the list creator password, use this command:
   % $prefix/bin/mmsitepass -c <list-creator-password>
  It is okay not to set a list creator password, but you probably do want
  a site password.
                      13 Create your first mailing list
  For more detailed information about using Mailman, including creating
  and configuring mailing lists, see the Mailman List Adminstration
  Manual. These instructions provide a quick guide to creating your first
  mailing list via the web interface:
    * Start by visiting the url http://my.dom.ain/mailman/create.
    * Fill out the form as described in the on-screen instructions, and
      in the ``List creator's password field, type the password you
      entered in section 7. Type your own email address for the ``Initial
      list owner address, and select ``Yes to notify the list
    * Click on the ``Create List button.
    * Check your email for a message from Mailman informing you that your
      new mailing list was created.
    * Now visit the list's administration page, either by following the
      link on the confirmation web page or clicking on the link from the
      email Mailman just sent you. Typically the url will be something
      like http://my.dom.ain/mailman/admin/mylist.
    * Type in the list's password and click on ``Let me in...
    * Click on ``Membership Management and then on ``Mass
    * Enter your email address in the big text field, and click on
      ``Submit Your Changes.
    * Now go to your email and send a message to mylist@my.dom.ain.
      Within a minute or two you should see your message reflected back
      to you via Mailman.
  Congratulations! You've just set up and tested your first Mailman
  mailing list. If you had any problems along the way, please see the 14
                              14 Troubleshooting
  If you encounter problems with running Mailman, first check the
  question and answer section below. If your problem is not covered
  there, check the online help, including the FAQ and the community FAQ
  Also check for errors in your syslog files, your mail and web server
  log files and in Mailman's $prefix/logs/error file. If you're still
  having problems, you should send a message to the mailing list^7; see for more
  Be sure to including information on your operating system, which
  version of Python you're using, and which version of Mailman you're
  Here is a list of some common questions and answers:
    * Problem: All Mailman web pages give a 404 File not found error.
      Solution: Your web server has not been set up properly for handling
      Mailman's CGI programs. Make sure you have:
        1. configured the web server to give permissions to
        2. restarted the web server properly.
      Consult your web server's documentation for instructions on how to
      do check these issues.
    * Problem: All Mailman web pages give an "Internal Server Error".
      Solution: The likely problem is that you are using the wrong user
      or group for the CGI scripts. Check your web server's log files. If
      you see a line like
           Attempt to exec script with invalid gid 51, expected 99
      you will need to reinstall Mailman, specifying the proper CGI group
      id, as described in the 3 section.
    * Problem: I send mail to the list, and get back mail saying the list
      is not found!
      Solution: You probably didn't add the necessary aliases to the
      system alias database, or you didn't properly integrate Mailman
      with your mail server. Perhaps you didn't update the alias
      database, or your system requires you to run newaliases explicitly.
      Refer to your server specific instructions in the 6 section.
    * Problem: I send mail to the list, and get back mail saying,
      ``unknown mailer error.
      Solution: The likely problem is that you are using the wrong user
      or group id for the mail wrappers. Check your mail server's log
      files; if you see a line like
           Attempt to exec script with invalid gid 51, expected 99
      you will need to reinstall Mailman, specifying the proper mail
      group id as described in the 3 section.
    * Problem: I use Postfix as my mail server and the mail wrapper
      programs are logging complaints about the wrong GID.
      Solution: Make sure the $prefix/data/aliases.db file is user owned
      by mailman (or whatever user name you used in the configure
      command). If this file is not user owned by mailman, Postfix will
      not run the mail programs as the correct user.
    * Problem: I use Sendmail as my mail server, and when I send mail to
      the list, I get back mail saying, ``sh: mailman not available for
      sendmail programs.
      Solution: Your system uses the Sendmail restricted shell (smrsh).
      You need to configure smrsh by creating a symbolic link from the
      mail wrapper ($prefix/mail/mailman) to the directory identifying
      executables allowed to run under smrsh.
      Some common names for this directory are /var/admin/sm.bin,
      /usr/admin/sm.bin or /etc/smrsh.
      Note that on Debian Linux, the system makes /usr/lib/sm.bin, which
      is wrong, you will need to create the directory /usr/admin/sm.bin
      and add the link there. Note further any aliases newaliases spits
      out will need to be adjusted to point to the secure link to the
    * Problem: I messed up when I called configure. How do I clean things
      up and re-install?
       % make clean
       % ./configure --with-the-right-options
       % make install
                    15 Platform and operating system notes
  Generally, Mailman runs on any POSIX-based system, such as Solaris, the
  various BSD variants, Linux systems, MacOSX, and other generic Unix
  systems. It doesn't run on Windows. For the most part, the generic
  instructions given in this document should be sufficient to get Mailman
  working on any supported platform. Some operating systems have
  additional recommended installation or configuration instructions.

15.1 GNU/Linux issues

  Linux seems to be the most popular platform for running Mailman. Here
  are some hints on getting Mailman to run on Linux:
    * If you are getting errors with hard link creations and/or you are
      using a special secure kernel (securelinux/openwall/grsecurity),
      see the file contrib/README.check_perms_grsecurity in the Mailman
      source distribution.
      Note that if you are using Linux Mandrake in secure mode, you are
      probably concerned by this.
    * Apparently Mandrake 9.0 changed the permissions on gcc, so if you
      build as the mailman user, you need to be sure mailman is in the
      cctools group.
    * If you installed Python from your Linux distribution's package
      manager (e.g. .rpms for Redhat-derived systems or .deb for Debian),
      you must install the ``development package of Python, or you may
      not get everything you need.
      For example, using Python 2.2 on Debian, you will need to install
      the python2.2-dev package. On Redhat, you probably need the
      python2-devel package.
      If you install Python from source, you should be fine.
      One symptom of this problem, although for unknown reasons, is that
      you might get an error such as this during your install:
         Traceback (most recent call last):
           File "bin/update", line 44, in ?
             import paths
         ImportError: No module named paths
         make: *** [update] Error 1
      If this happens, install the Python development package and try
      configure and make install again. Or install the latest version of
      Python from source, available from
      This problem can manifest itself in other Linux distributions in
      different ways, although usually it appears as ImportErrors.

15.2 BSD issues

  Vivek Khera writes that some BSDs do nightly security scans for setuid
  file changes. setgid directories also come up on the scan when they
  change. Also, the setgid bit is not necessary on BSD systems because
  group ownership is automatically inherited on files created in
  directories. On other Unixes, this only happens when the directory has
  the setgid bit turned on.
  To install without turning on the setgid bit on directories, simply
  pass in the DIRSETGID variable to make, after you've run configure:
   % make DIRSETGID=: install
  This disables the chmod g+s command on installed directories.

15.3 MacOSX issues

  Much of the following is no longer applicable to more recent versions
  of MacOSX. See the FAQ at for links to more
  recent information.
  Many people run Mailman on MacOSX. Here are some pointers that have
  been collected on getting Mailman to run on MacOSX.
    * Jaguar (MacOSX 10.2) comes with Python 2.2. While this isn't the
      very latest stable version of Python, it ought to be sufficient to
      run Mailman 2.1.
    * David B. O'Donnell has a web page describing his configuration of
      Mailman 2.0.13 and Postfix on MacOSX Server.
    * Kathleen Webb posted her experiences in getting Mailman running on
      Jaguar using Sendmail.
    * Panther server (MacOSX 10.3) comes with Mailman; Your operating
      system should contain documentation that will help you, and Apple
      has a tech document about a problem you might encounter running
      Mailman on Mac OS X Server 10.3:
  Terry Allen provides the following detailed instructions on running
  Mailman on the 'client' version of OSX, or in earlier versions of OSX:
  Mac OSX 10.3 and onwards has the basics for a successful Mailman
  installation. Users of earlier versions of Mac OSX contains Sendmail
  and those users should look at the Sendmail installation section for
  tips. You should follow the basic installation steps as described
  earlier in this manual, substituting as appropriate, the steps outlined
  in this section.
  By default, Mac OSX 10.3 'client' version does not have a fully
  functional version of Postfix. Setting up a working MTA such as Postfix
  is beyond the scope of this guide and you should refer to for tips on getting Postfix running. An easy way
  to set Postfix up is to install and run Postfix Enabler, a stand-alone
  tool for configuring Postfix on Mac OSX, available from
  Likewise, Mac OSX 'client' version from 10.1 onwards includes a working
  Apache webserver. This is switched on using the System Preferences
  control panel under the 'Sharing tab'. A useful tool for configuring
  the Apache on Mac OSX is Webmin, which can be obtained from
  Webmin can also perform configuration for other system tasks, including
  Postfix, adding jobs to your crontab, adding user and groups, plus
  adding startup and shutdown jobs.
  In a stock installation of OSX, the requirement for Mailman is to have
  Python installed. Python is not installed by default, so it is advised
  that you install the developer's tools package, which may have been
  provided with your system. It can also be downloaded from the Apple
  developer site at Not only is the developer
  tools package an essential requirement for installing Mailman, but it
  will come in handy at a later date should you need other tools. The
  developer's tools are also know by the name XCode tools.
  As a minimum, the Python version should be 2.2, but 2.3 is recommended.
  If you wish to add a user and group using the command line in OSX
  instead of via Webmin or another GUI interface, open your terminal
  application and follow the commands as indicated below - do not type
  the comments following the "#" since they are just notes:

sudo tcsh niutil -create / /users/mailman niutil -createprop / /users/mailman name mailman

  1. Note that xxx is a free user ID number on your system

niutil -createprop / /users/mailman uid xxx niutil -createprop / /users/mailman home /usr/local/mailman mkdir -p /usr/local/mailman niutil -createprop / /users/mailman shell /bin/tcsh passwd mailman

  1. To prevent malicious hacking, supply a secure password here

niutil -create / /groups/mailman niutil -createprop / /groups/mailman name mailman

  1. Note that xxx is a free group ID number on your system

niutil -createprop / /groups/mailman gid xxx niutil -createprop / /groups/mailman passwd '*' niutil -createprop / /groups/mailman users 'mailman' chown mailman:mailman /usr/local/mailman cd /usr/local/mailman chmod a+rx,g+ws . exit su mailman

  For setting up Apache on OSX to handle Mailman, the steps are almost
  identical and the configuration file on a stock Mac OSX Client version
  is stored in the nearly standard location of /etc/httpd/httpd.conf.
  The site has a time-saving automated startup item creator
  for Mailman, which can be found at
  To install it, copy it into your /Library/StartupItems directory. As
  the root or superuser, from the terminal, enter the following:

gunzip MailmanStartup.tar.gz tar xvf MailmanStartup.tar

  It will create the startup item for you so that when you reboot,
  Mailman will start up.
                           About this document ...
  GNU Mailman - Installation Manual, February 26, 2019, Release 2.1
  This document was generated using the LaTeX2HTML translator.
  LaTeX2HTML is Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, Nikos Drakos,
  Computer Based Learning Unit, University of Leeds, and Copyright ©
  1997, 1998, Ross Moore, Mathematics Department, Macquarie University,
  The application of LaTeX2HTML to the Python documentation has been
  heavily tailored by Fred L. Drake, Jr. Original navigation icons were
  contributed by Christopher Petrilli.
  ... right^1
         You will be able to check and repair your permissions after
         installation is complete.
         This is the default for Mailman 2.1. Earlier versions of Mailman
         installed everything under /home/mailman by default.
  ... set^3
         BSD users should see the 15.2 section for additional
  ... only^4
         In fact, in later versions of Mailman, this module is explicitly
         sabotaged. You have to know what you're doing in order to
         re-enable it.
  ... lists^5
         In general, changing the list defaults described in this section
         will not affect any already created lists. To make changes after
         a list has been created, use the web interface or the command
         line scripts, such as bin/withlist and bin/config_list.
  ... time^6
         Note that if you're upgrading from a previous version of
         Mailman, you'll want to install the new crontab, but be careful
         if you're running multiple Mailman installations on your site!
         Changing the crontab could mess with other parallel Mailman
  ... list^7
         You must subscribe to this mailing list in order to post to it,
         but the mailing list's archives are publicly visible.
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  Release 2.1, documentation updated on February 26, 2019.