From SME Server



stephdl Stéphane de Labrusse AKA Stephdl


Contrib 10:
Contrib 9:
The latest version of smeserver-mailman is available in the SME repository, click on the version number(s) for more information.


Mailman is free software for managing electronic mail discussion and e-newsletter lists. Mailman is integrated with the web, making it easy for users to manage their accounts and for list owners to administer their lists. Mailman supports built-in archiving, automatic bounce processing, content filtering, digest delivery, spam filters, and more.

Thanks to Gordon Rowell for developing the rpms.


  • for sme8, sme9
yum install smeserver-mailman --enablerepo=smecontribs 
signal-event mailman-update

or if you want to restart your server

signal-event post-upgrade;signal-event reboot

You should now see a Mailman section under the Configuration section of the server-manager. Please see Known issues below to set up your mailman session. Keep in mind that the mailman administrator password is not the same as the SME Server one, Read the section below to see how find your password.


Creating lists

Error: You are not authorized to create new mailing lists

The administrator of SME Server isn't allowed to create Lists (even from the server-manager), this is how obtain the mailman administrator password. see bugzilla:7836

Information.png Tip:
The mailman password is different of the admin password of SME Server, therefore to know the mailman Password you can issue the following command in a root terminal

[root@sme8dev64 ~]# config show mailman 

You have to use the value of SitePass as your mailman password to create Lists. If you change the password later with /usr/lib/mailman/bin/mmsitepass you *SHOULD* update SitePass using

config setprop mailman SitePass YOUR_PASSWORD
Error: Unknown virtual host: xxxxxx.xx

Go to to create new lists.

If your SMEServer has multiple domains configured, do not prepend www. before the virtual domain.

For example: go to http:// to create lists for that domain name.

Keep in mind that no list can have the same name as an ibay or an user so choose the name carefully.

Important.png Note:
Always use to create your list, where is the exact domain you want to be used after the "@". Failing to do so, will lead to denial to relay error. As an example do not go to to create a mailing list for but to see Bugzilla:5976

If you don't use a FQDN domain Name as described above, you can have an error like this one

Error: Unknown virtual host: xxxxxx

where xxxxxx is the hostname of your Server. see bugzilla:7837

Information.png Tip:
Further more You have to define the concerned domain in the server-manager's domain panel. You can select whether this domain is resolved locally, passed to the corporate DNS servers, or resolved by the Internet DNS servers, otherwise you will have the message: Error: Unknown virtual host: xxxxxx

"www" instead of "apache
But if you are not running the contribs compiled version, Mailman's management interface shows up with a CGI error message. It complains about group mismatch error between "www" and "apache". Login as root and apply the following workaround, which was suggested in bugzilla:6425:
id -u apache                  # should yield 48
id -u www                     # should yield 102
usermod -u 102 -o apache      # makes apache user and www user identical
groupmod -g 102 -o apache     # make apache group and www group identical

File locations

Location Description
/var/lib/mailman location of mailman lists and archives
/usr/lib/mailman location of mailman program files
/usr/lib/mailman/aliases location of qmail alias files

Command line options

You can do a lot using the command line scripts located in /usr/lib/mailman/bin

For example

/usr/lib/mailman/bin/mmsitepass will set the master password for all lists
/usr/lib/mailman/bin/list_members [listname] will list the members of [listname]
/usr/lib/mailman/bin/list_admins [listname] will list all admins of [listname]
/usr/lib/mailman/bin/list_lists will list your mailling lists
/usr/lib/mailman/bin/list_owners will list all owners of mailling lists or will list all mailling list

Running the script with --help will display the options available

Transferring Lists

You can transfer lists from another server and keep everything in tact. It's an easy process but the Mailman FAQ and info seems to be sparse and complicated. This simplifies everything.


First stop the mailman service.

/etc/init.d/mailman stop

Next, tar/zip up the lists.

tar -czvf /temp/mailman.tar.gz /var/lib/mailman

Next, transfer it onto the new server using scp or rsync:

scp -P <sshportnumber> /temp/mailman.tar.gz <newserverip>:/var/lib


rsync --progress -te "ssh -p <sshportnumber>" /temp/mailman.tar.gz <newserverip>:/var/lib


Change to the rpm location.

cd /install

Install the rpms.

yum localinstall mailman-* smeserver-mailman-*

Extract/untar/unzip the tar/zip file.

tar -xvzf /var/lib/mailman.tar.gz

The lists are transferred but the SME SERVER doesn't know about them. Let the server know about the list:

signal-event mailman-addlist <listname>

All your lists and lists' configurations should now be available at:


Important.png Note:
Be warned that personalization is going to stress your server a lot as every mail is sent individually, not in batches as mailman usually do, so test this option before using in a production server

If you want to enable personalization in mailman (make every mail sent with the name of the recipient in the to: field as example or add the name of the user on the text) you do this:

  1. Create the custom-templates tree, in case it does not exist already: mkdir -p /etc/e-smith/templates-custom/usr/lib/mailman/Mailman/
  2. Copy the hostname file from the templates tree to the templates-custom tree maintaining the directory layout:

    cp \
    /etc/e-smith/templates/usr/lib/mailman/Mailman/ \
  3. Now we need to add one line to the custom template fragment to enable personalization:

  4. To refelct your changes we need to regenerate the file using the following commands:

    expand-template /usr/lib/mailman/Mailman/
    signal-event reboot
  5. After the server comes back up again enter your mailing list admin and go to non-digest and in "Should Mailman personalize each non-digest delivery?" choose either yes or full personalization. Test both to see wich one do you like more... Also if you want to add a header with the person name enter in "Header added to mail sent to regular list members" this:

    Hello dear %(user_name)s

    and mailman is going to replace the string with the name the person used when he/she subscribed.

Import lists from ezmlm

Get the script ezmlm2mbox from

wget -O 

Get subscribers:

ezmlm-list /home/e-smith/files/ezmlm/lists/mylist > mylist.subscribers

Get denied subscribers:

ezmlm-list /home/e-smith/files/ezmlm/lists/mylist deny > mylist.deny

Convert the ezmlm list to an mbox-file: ./ezmlm2mbox /home/e-smith/files/ezmlm/lists/mylist > mylist.mbox Backup the ezmlm list, just in case ...

tar -czf mylist.tgz /home/e-smith/files/ezmlm/lists/mylist

Then using the server-manager:

  1. Remove the ezmlm list, via the ezmlm web panel
  2. Create the new Mailman list, via the Mailman web panel
  3. Add subscribers to the new list, using the file you made in step 1. I prefer to do this in silence, without letting the subscribers know.
  4. Check the file mylist.deny from step 2, and - if needed - adjust the settings of your new list accordingly.

Import the mbox to Mailman

cp mylist.mbox  /var/lib/mailman/archives/private/mylist.mbox/mylist.mbox
/opt/mailman/bin/arch --wipe mylist

Check and fix ownerships and access rights

/opt/mailman/bin/check_perms -f

from :,53230.0.html

For more information

Mailman website Mailman FAQ

Current Issues

  • Check submitted bugs in the bug tracker under the contrib component "smeserver-mailman"
  • Current mailman release is 2.1.9
  • Bugzilla:2411: /usr/lib/mailman/aliases and /var/lib/mailman are not currently backed up


Please raise bugs under the SME-Contribs section in bugzilla and select the smeserver-mailman component or use this link .

IDProductVersionStatusSummary (6 tasks)
11278SME Contribs10alphaIN_PROGRESSInitial Import in SME 10 [smeserver-mailman]
8453SME Contribs9betaCONFIRMEDfirst import to sme9 tree [smeserver-mailman]
8056SME Contribs8.0CONFIRMEDwww and apache order will trigger cgi error
2418SME Contribs7.1CONFIRMEDPatch mailman to log extra info on discards
2248SME Contribs7.0CONFIRMEDEnable mailman by default on install, restricted to local network admin
2247SME Contribs7.0CONFIRMEDAdd option to limit mailman web access


Only released version in smecontrib are listed here.