A short link to this page is https://wiki.list.org/x/4030530

Clear message

1.29. How do I use the Apple-provided version of Mailman under Mac OS X Server?

Officially, all support issues relating to using the Apple-provided versions of Mailman under Mac OS X Server should first be directed to Apple, since they are the ones that modified the Mailman installation to suit their environment and they have not contributed their changes back to the Mailman project (Note: Mailman is GPL-licensed, so the source of the modified version is provided by Apple to every purchaser or available to anyone; at least that's the case if Apple isn't breaking the law). Among other things, they based their code on an old version of Mailman from years ago, they changed the directory structure where Mailman-related programs and logs are kept, and they created a management/monitoring interface that is completely unique to their platform.

If we can confirm that the issues you're having are not unique to the Apple-provided version of Mailman, we will try to provide whatever assistance we can. If you have a particular problem with the Apple-provided version of Mailman and you manage to find out what the solution is, please let us know and we will try to keep this FAQ entry up-to-date.

Unofficially, we will try to provide you whatever support we can, but that will be limited. If we tell you to run a particular command under the Mailman-standard directory /usr/local/mailman/bin and you discover that you don't have this directory structure at all, it will be your responsibility to figure out how to perform this function on your system – that might be interacting with an Apple-provided GUI program, or perhaps by simply running the same command that may be found in a different directory. Likewise, if we tell you to look at the contents of a particular log file under the Mailman-standard directory /usr/local/mailman/logs and you discover that you don't have this directory structure at all, then it will be your responsibility to find out how to perform that function on your system – you may need to interact with an Apple-provided GUI program, or maybe you can find the same log file in a different directory structure. But translating the Mailman-standard actions and commands into a method and format that is suitable for your Apple-specific environment is something that we cannot do for you.

As background, the Apple-provided version of Mailman under Mac OS X Server includes a GUI interface to manage the mail server and Mailman, and also a chapter in the Apple-provided Mail Server Administration book. Unfortunately, both seem to be very limited when it comes to managing Mailman. Apple also changed the Mailman-standard directory structure, to split executable files and configuration files from the logs and the queue system. The mailman executables (in Python), configuration files, etc... are all found under the directory hierarchy at:


Specifically, the local configuration file is at:


The logs, list configuration pickles, archives, queues, etc... are under the hierarchy at:


Our thanks to Robert Snyder and Dan Phillips for finding and providing this information to us. Unfortunately, this has been yet another case of the community having to step up to fill an information gap left by the vendor.

If you are having problems with permissions problems under Mac OS X 10.3 Server, see the Apple KnowledgeBase article found by Steve Burling, mentioned at http://mail.python.org/pipermail/mailman-users/2004-July/037903.html. You may also be interested in the article at http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=107906.

In terms of upgrading the version of Mailman provided with Mac OS X Server, officially you need to talk to Apple about that. They provided the original binary package version, and unless you want to rip out everything they've got and install your own copy from the official Mailman source, there is no other known upgrade path available.

However, if you do want to disable the Apple-provided version of Mailman under Mac OS X Server and install the Mailman-standard version, we will be in a much better position to help support you. Disabling their version of the software is a step that we will leave up to you, and installing the Mailman-standard version of the software should be relatively easy (see How do I use Mailman with Mac OS X?, among other places).

Converted from the Mailman FAQ Wizard

This is one of many Frequently Asked Questions.