I'm a new Mailman web admin with 10 years at the Unix Linux command level and 40 years in the comupter biz as a hands-on pro who's successfully completed downloads and installs of both python 2.4.5 and Mailman 2.1.11 on my RedHat Linux server. I managed to follow the Mailman install process successfully through step 8 (Create a site-wide mailing list). But then at the end of step 8, the documentation leaves me completely hanging with, "After applying the sitelist.cfg options, be sure you review the site list's configuration via the admin pages."
Huh?? What admin pages? Where ARE they? How do I access them? All we've done so far is installed the program and now I've created the first site-wide Mailman mailing list. Although I have added two domain owners on the server to the mailman group, as far as I know these programs are only available if I log in as mailman. Should I add mailman to the search paths of the two domains where I expect to use them? SHould Mailman be set up to run within a subdomain on my server or can it be made to work from within any given domain on the server. In short, I find myself hanging completely in midair here without any help that I've found in the FAQ or in the server admin manual or in the list administrator's manual either.
I've seen NO hint of urls or web page addresses or anything else and as far as I can tell Mailman is certainly not linked yet into any of the web accounts on my server... I've wasted the whole afternoon today spinning my wheels and digging around in the FAQs and the Docs for ANYTHING that connects the dots from for "After applying the sitelist.cfg options, be sure you review the site list's configuration via the admin pages." to "It's really up and working now for at least one live list" or at least some HINT as to what the heck "be sure you review the site list's configuration via the admin pages." really means and I've come up empty handed. I have two days left with an existing web client before their current web hosting (which includes unsupported Mailman hosting from "DreamHost" is due to expire and I find myself high-centered here without a clue as to what to do next.
Incidentally, I also wasted a couple of hours today trying to dope out how to export or download or capture 5 years of historical mailman messages in this client's existing mailman 2.1.10 archives from their Dreamhost server and convert them to my dedicated Linux server when the client doesn't have shell level access on the Dreamhost side. I find your message base is ominously silent on this subject too. I'm about to conclude it's impossible to download, upload and convert the mailman's existing historical database from Dreamhost without shell level access on both sides. Is that conclusion correct?
Obviously, I'm looking for here help. Can anyone offer advice other than Yahoo Groups or Google Groups? Believe it or not, the client isn't actually unhappy with mailman. They're just fed up with getting no support for a product they had assumed was no longer even alive and kicking... and now -- much as I hate to say i -- I'm beginning to see why they reached that conclusion..
BTW, I do realize this is probably not the most appropriate place to post this message. It appears to me from my research that the mailman users listserv would be a better place for it. But I applied to join that list as a member 7 or 8 hours ago, received the verification request within the hour and have heard nothing since. Times-a-wasting on my project... and I'm watching the sand in the hour glass rapidly run out while I wait for approval to even ASK my question. 8-(
On converting old archives:
The easiest way to do conversions is if you have an old mbox file, so what I'd suggest is that if you don't have one, you make one using what you've got.
I've never used to Dreamhost, but I'm assuming what your client has is a bunch of HTML archives. There are plenty of ways you can download HTML archives and try to convert them back to mbox files. I've recently taken to using Perl's WWW::Mechanize for slurping up things I want to scrape off web pages, but really anything will do and I'm sure there are plenty of other packages available for web scraping. Once you've got the information from each message, you just need to reformat it into a text file. A google search should tell you what an mbox file looks like, or you can send a couple of test messages through your list to see what mailman makes.
Once you've built up the mbox file, you need to let mailman parse it to generate the HTML archives. Since you've got a fresh install, you won't have any existing mailman archives (well, barring a few test messages that you probably don't want) so you can just copy this file into $MAILMAN/archives/private/$LISTNAME.mbox/$LISTNAME.mbox where $LISTNAME is of course the name of the list. (If you do have messages there, you'll need to concatenate the files together so that the posts are in chronological order.)
When you've got the archive in the right place, you'll probably want to run $mailman/bin/cleanarch to make sure it's ok, fix any leftover problems, then $MAILMAN/bin/arch to generate the archives.
Make sure that that mbox file is writeable, and when you start up the list, Mailman will add new messages to the end of that file and generate further archives on its own.
The Admin Interface
The admin interface is going to be somewhere like http://$WEBSERVER/mailman/admin/$LISTNAME – it's a web thing.
I'm surprised that it wasn't mentioned in the install stuff directly (I'll have to take a look at improving that if it's not) but what definitely is in there is instructions on how to set up the ScriptAlias in Apache to make that work. Hopefully you did find that part already and it should already be up in running (if you didn't, do a quick search for ScriptAlias on the install files that came with Mailman. It's definitely in there somewhere.)
Where to post this message
And yes, the wiki is not really the place for this, but I can turn it into an FAQ later so no harm done.
The appropriate place is the mailman-users list as you mention:
You can post while still a non-member, but you have to wait for one of the admins to approve your post, which can take a little while, so subscribing yourself first is definitely the best option.
PS - you did answer the confirmation request, right? I know mail can be slow, but I haven't seen it take 8hrs to subscribe before...
I'd really rather do this on mailman-users, but ...
"After applying the sitelist.cfg options, be sure you review the site list's configuration via the admin pages."
Huh?? What admin pages? Where ARE they? How do I access them?
The normal mailing list defaults are not appropriate for the site list so we provide data/sitelist.cfg which is intended to be used as
bin/config_list -i data/sitelist.cfg mailman
You set up your web server at step 5. The admin pages are at http://example.com/mailman/admin/mailman.
Incidentally, I also wasted a couple of hours today trying to dope out how to export or download or capture 5 years of historical mailman messages in this client's existing mailman 2.1.10 archives from their Dreamhost server and convert them to my dedicated Linux server when the client doesn't have shell level access on the Dreamhost side.
If the client asks nicely, Dreamhost may give the client the archives/private/listname.mbox/listname.mbox file which is the cumulative mbox containing all list posts that you can use as input to bin/arch on your site to rebuild the HTML archive. Actually, the client or you may be able to download it from the web site via a URL like http://dreamhost.example.com/mailman/private/listname.mbox/listname.mbox. In order for this to work, you have to first go to http://dreamhost.example.com/mailman/private/listname and log in, even if it's a public archive. If you can't get the listname.mbox file, all you can do is crawl the existing archive web site, but this only gives you the HTML pages.