Mailman Bounced

Mailman has no documentation.

That’s basically the truth. Oh – there’s a bit – couple of paragraphs about setting up the MTA (very confusing paragraphs, Linux mail servers are a living hell to comprehend/configure) and that’s it.

The same docs exist in a couple of places on the net, in different formats, and in various places point to each other. This is not helpful.

An honourable mention must also go to the fact that having visited the Mailman download page, I had no idea how to download Mailman.

So, after a bit you realise Mailman has no built-in web-interface.

This is a separate project.

You then look for it.

There’s a GitLab repo – the wiki is empty and there are no docs to be seen, except a readme.

In the readme the sole sign of docs is a link to one of the web-sites holding a copy of the it’s-not-documentation-really docs. Having realised what the WWW interface is called, I then look at its section.

This doesn’t take long, it’s very short.

In fact, it at the start contains a link to “Mailman Bundler”, as an easy way to install everything.

This sounds just the ticket – at least, in principle – so I head over.

“All of this documentation is obsolete! Mailman Bundler is no longer recommended or supported. Do not use it to try to install GNU Mailman 3, you will be frustrated. Please go see the Mailman Suite documentation instead. It includes links for setting up all the components.”

I head back.

Turns out the WWW interface runs on Django.

Okay, this is seriously not what I’m looking for, and I’d actually say seriously not *right*.

I’m reading typically small Django apps take about 70mb of RAM.

I have 1 GB on my VM.

I’m looking for a mailing list, right? it takes an email now and then, and users subscribe and unsubscribe once in a blue moon, using a CGI, which takes no resources at all and just writes a row or two to the database.

Resource usage should be approximtely *zero*.

This does not equate with what seems to be a range of always-running processes and 70mb of RAM.

I’m going to look a bit more at Mailman. Maybe it’s configured and is actually working, and so maybe I can just set up a static page with email addresses on, to subscribe/unsubscribe.

Well, I looked.

It doesn’t work out of the box.

You’re supposed to do this;

mailman info

To generate the initial config file.

What I get it this;

ImportError: No module named core.i18n

There’s no sign of documentation or information on pre-requisites.

I’m bailing out now. If the experience so far is like this, it’s going to be like this after I get it working too, even if I do.

Once bitten, twice shy.

If a project looks bad, it probably is bad.

There might be – *might* be – a core of gold in there, but it’s fabulously easier just to go and find a project which actually *is* working out of the box and *has* documentation.