Migration of Mailing Lists to Central Service

This project was intended to evaluate whether the new mailing-list service provided by IS was suitable for use by the School for its existing mailing-lists.

This document is not a final report (the project was dropped before completion), but just a few notes, questions, and observations...

Some observations and questions

  • can sysadmins create lists without intervention by IS?
  • can Sympa take Informatics DB feed?
  • are there migration options (to ease the move)?
  • sympa commands can be sent via email (single commands in subject line, or multiple commands in message block)... BUT "Your message can not contain anything else than Sympa commands (no signature block)".
  • What about charity footer?
  • management of lists at inf level??
  • should all lists be prefixed "inf-"? (If so, could this be hidden??) Or are there meta-tags??
  • Should there be an Informatics "topic"?
  • response time? (Does Sympa use DB to store data & build web pages?)

Current (local) arrangements

The database cvs commits the membership lists into the repository cvs.inf.ed.ac.uk:/disk/cvs/mail, and then a cron job on nutty checks out those update and syncs the list membership (see nutty:/opt/mailman/inf_scripts/allcron, which lists the scripts and the order in which they run to update the lists, settings and web page).

Note that if a new list pops into existence at the DB end, it doesn't automatically get created in mailman - that requires some human intervention (though not much more than a copy and paste, run the "newlist" and then commit a new aliases-mailman file).

Gleanings from documentation at http://www.sympa.org/

  • roles
    • (Super) listmasters: main persons administrating the service
    • (Robot) listmasters: list managers

  • You can import subscribtion data into the database from a text file

  • Migrating lists from another software is possible using third-party contributed scripts (this assumes a change of software on the same server, not moving to different software on a different server).

  • Sympa provides a way to have list membership based on third-party data sources. These data sources can include an SQL query, or an LDAP directory filter

Other Notes

Anyone who wants to administer a list cannot do so if they do not have an EASE account (so this is a problem if there are collaborative University list maintainers, eg fred@glaREMOVE_THIS.ac.uk).

It would be possible to migrate if we created a local sympa service, and then used that as a client to the central server

There was some experimentation with accounts set up on the central server, and also the creation of a local Sympa service.

-- RogerBurroughes - 31 Jan 2012

Topic revision: r2 - 01 Feb 2012 - 08:59:02 - RogerBurroughes
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