Mailing lists using usenet newsgroup

Rick Moen rick at
Tue Jan 6 15:43:40 PST 2015

On Tue, Jan 6, 2015 at 2:40 PM, jim <jim at> wrote:
> I'm for MailMan. Either we wait until Rick gets to
> it or we set up our own (after we get the backups
> from Rick).

I'm pretty sure I've sent this information to you-plural in the past,
but I'll do it now just in case:   This is intended to help your
collective memory and improve your process going forward.

1.  GNU Mailman can be trivially configured (by the site admin) to
permit public download of the cumulative mbox of any hosted Maliman
mailing list.  That is the set of all past postings to date, from
which the archives can then be recreated anywhere desired, with a
single command (using /var/lib/mailman/bin/arch).  Thus, it is 95% of
the important data comprising the mailing list's 'state'.  In the case
of SF-LUG's mailing list on, the relevant URL was (and
will again be) /
.  Not all Mailman instances are configured to enable that function,
but all of the ones that I administer are.

If I never brought that matter to Jim's attention (and I'm pretty sure
I did), I'm doing so now.  Yr. welcome.

It is common sense for you to periodically back up that file, and
doing so is greatly in your interest.  Shortly before I started
hosting a mailing list for SF-LUG, you guys completely lost all back
traffic to a previous iteration of the SF-LUG mailing list somewhere
else -- to something like a failed hard drive or such -- and at the
time I wondered why you never bothered to back up the mbox, given your
then-recent somewhat ignominious loss.  E.g., anyone whatsoever could
do that task daily or weekly using a simple 'wget -c' fetch in a cron

2.  The other indispensable part of a Mailman mailing list's state is
the subscriber roster.  The mailing list admin can arrange to have
that information mailed to interested parties periodically using the
/var/lib/mailman/bin/list_members utility.   We might call that 4% of
the mailing list's 'state'.  The other 1% would be things like any
unusual mailing list settings, individual subscriber's subscription
passwords, and the like, none of which is a huge loss if you happen to
lose it.

In the case of my server, all mailing list information is present on
both my backups and on the live hard drives of the (down) server.  If
you-all decide you wish to get the current data, you can visit my
house and bring a Linux machine able to read an ext3 filesystem from a
USB device.  I can easily give you the cumulative mbox file during
your visit.  For the roster, I can give you Mailman's stored copy,
which is in a Python's 'pickle' stored-data format.  You would need to
figure out how to extract what you need from that.

You have my cellular number.

Might I suggest that you guys start showing some basic initiative
towards self-preservation?  If you had bothered to do that, you would
not have ignominiously lost your entire previous hard drive, and you
would not be needing to ask me for 'backups from Rick'.

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