[identity profile] codeswitcher.livejournal.com
Did you ever wonder whatever happened to the Daughter of Bilitis?

It was destroyed when a disgruntled member/volunteer stole the sole copy of the list of members. Bam! End of organization.

Mailman is a popular list server with a web-based self-service interface for users. It has many fine features, none of which are a way to back up your actual membership list (to say nothing of your archives and config files) from the web interface.

Since the vast majority of Mailman list owners/moderators are apparently customers running their lists on Mailman servers operated by web hosting companies for their customers, the vast majority of Mailman list owners/moderators do not have command-line access to the Mailman install running their list and they have no way to back up their data, save asking their hosting company to do that for them (manually!)...

Or this.

The one thing you can back up is the list of email addresses of a list and the associated personal names, and the one way to do it is through the email interface.

Manually, this is simple enough. Email [$listname]-request@domain.tld with "who $adminpassword" in the body of the message. The list will be emailed back to whatever address you sent it from. Lovely.

What follows is a description of my automated system for firing off such an email every night, using nmh, procmail, and cron.

cut for length )

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