Next time, come prepared

I had no idea that at the time I was adding a mailing-list manager in the list of software that constitute the infrastructure of the CodeTRAX facility, I also added a factor that would cause serious delay in the preparation of the whole project. But, mailing lists are a mandatory feature of the facility’s notification services. Despite the popularity of notifications via RSS/Atom feeds, email notifications are still the de facto method of delivering the news. The mailing list manager I initially used was the Mailman. This is an extremely popular piece of software as it is the backend for the majority of mailing lists worldwide. Having spent over two days with its configuration, I suddenly decided to completely get rid of it and try another list manager. I still cannot figure out what was the main reason for making such a decision, but the following have played a significant part in it:

  • The Mailman is too bloated. I admit it has (almost) all the features one would need, but much of this stuff is not actually that useful. Its sources alone consume 22+ MB of disk space.
  • The actions (configuration) that need to be performed in order to make the software work on an SSL virtual host are not obvious and are only stated into the FAQ, but not in the main installation documentation. This means merciless waste of time.
  • As soon as I finished configuring the Mailman, I realized that this 22MB software which supports features that would satisfy the Earth’s most weird users and whose main reason of existence is to send emails to lists of email addresses does not support SMTP authentication. This means that if your SMTP service requires authentication in order to send emails to domains for which it is not the final destination or if the SMTP service runs on a separate machine, you will have to loosen the server’s security in order to make the SMTPdirect mailman’s delivery method work. (fixing this by hacking the source is rather easy, but – for me – not acceptable when it comes to the flagship of mailing list managers)

Currently, I experiment with another (less popular) mailing list manager, which seems to be lean and mean enough for my needs – allow me not to disclose the software’s name at this moment. If all goes well, I will publish a guide on how to set it up.

I admit that I should have done some research before sticking with the mailman. This was a lesson.

Next time, come prepared by George Notaras is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Copyright © 2007 - Some Rights Reserved

George Notaras avatar

About George Notaras

George Notaras is the editor of the G-Loaded Journal, a technical blog about Free and Open-Source Software. George, among other things, is an enthusiast self-taught GNU/Linux system administrator. He has created this web site to share the IT knowledge and experience he has gained over the years with other people. George primarily uses CentOS and Fedora. He has also developed some open-source software projects in his spare time.