April 23, 2019

How to Run an Email List Under Linux - page 2


  • May 29, 1999
  • By James Andrews
Majordomo does not actually deliver mail. It uses the underlying email transport and delivery system. It just maintains the lists and calls the email systems appropriately. Once majordomo has been installed via a convenient package manager there are a few administration tasks to carry out.
In order to set up access to the email systems functions the person configuring majordomo must add some entries to the systems mail alias file. Under the commonly used sendmail system this is is done by adding lines like this to the /etc/aliases file:

#mylist list
mylist: "|/home/majordom/wrapper resend -p bulk -M 10000 -l mylist -f james -h maths.ex.ac.uk -s mylist-outgoing"
mylist-outgoing: :include:/home/majordom/lists/mylistowner-mylist-outgoing: james
mylist-request: "|/home/majordom/wrapper request-answer mylist"
owner-mylist-request: james
mylist-approval: james

Where 'james' is the email name of the list owner and 'mylist' is the list to be setup. Once the file has been modified notify the email system of a change with the command:


.info Files and the List File

Next get into the majordomo home directory and cd into 'lists'. You can typically jump straight there with the command:

cd /home/majordom/lists

Make a file called 'mylist' and add some mail addresses to it. This is the distribution list. If more people subscribe they get added to this file. If they leave their email address is removed from here. Make another file called 'mylist.info'. The contents of this file will be sent to all new subscribers. You can use this to give FAQs for your list and other information of this sort.

Stopping Spam
One problem that email lists suffer like the rest of us is that of unsolicited messages or spam. However it is potentially a bigger problem as all the spam gets relayed out again to all the addresses on the list!

One way of stopping most spam is to declare the list as closed. To do this, make a file in the lists directory discussed above called 'mylist.closed'. Now all email that is not from someone who is also on the list is forwarded to the list owner. This also forces all the requests for subscribe to the list owner though. To prevent the list owner from having to deal with subscribe and unsubscribe requests also make a file 'mylist.auto'. This will stop spam to the list but keep subscribe/unsubscribe as automatic.

You can find more information on stopping spam in this article.

Most Popular LinuxPlanet Stories