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OpenBSD Mailing List Server
Introduction to List Configuration When a new mailing list is created, the way in which it is configured may require some adjustment. This document presents a "top ten" list of configuration settings that may require immediate attention. Next is a summary of the configuration categories, with a short description of the purpose of each setting. We conclude with several advanced features for list administrators. First, we will review the basic concepts of list configuration. As mentioned in "help admin", there are three commands that list administrators can use to view and change the configuration settings. These commands are: configdef Return a setting to its default value configset Change the value of a setting configshow See the current value of a setting When the configset command is used to change the value of a setting, the new value sometimes takes up more than one line. In that case, it is necessary to put the new value into a here document (see "help here_document" for more details). The examples in this document assume that you know how to use your list's administrative password. Please review "help admin_passwords", if you have not already done so. In each example, replace LISTNAME with the name of your mailing list. Each configuration setting has its own help file. For example, to see the help file for the subscribe_policy setting, use the "help configset_subscribe_policy" command. All of the configuration settings are listed in the "help topics" document. Look before you leap -------------------- Every configuration setting has a default value. Every time a list administrator uses the configset command, the default value for the setting is overridden, even if the old and new values are identical. For this reason, we recommend that you always "show before you set." Use the configshow command to see the current value of a setting before you change it with the configset command. By overriding the settings that were configured by the domain administrators, a list owner might miss out on wise present and future default values. A technical discussion of default values is presented later, in the "Configuration templates and default values" section. Important settings for new mailing lists ---------------------------------------- Every new mailing list shares the same default values. Because there are so many kinds of mailing list (private or public, moderated or unmoderated, with open or closed membership, etc.), it is likely that most new lists will need some configuration before they are ready to run. This section gives examples for the "top ten" settings that are likely to need attention, in reverse order of importance. 10. category The "lists" command, which shows a list of public mailing lists at openbsd.org, will organize all of the lists by category, but only if the category has been set for any of the lists. For example, configset LISTNAME category = economics 9. noadvertise A pattern or the word ALL can be used to make a mailing list invisible when someone uses the "lists" command. For example, configset LISTNAME noadvertise = ALL would make a list private. 8. subject_prefix People who like to see the name of the list or some other identifying marker in the Subject headers can use the "prefix" personal setting. For example, the subject prefix for the cabbage mailing list might make the message subjects look like this: Subject: [cabbage] Re: Cold frames The subject_prefix setting can be used to customize the Subject header. For example, configset cabbage subject_prefix = [CABBAGE: $SEQNO] would include the sequence number of the message in the subject, Subject: [CABBAGE: 142] Re: Cold frames 7. who_access By default, the subscribers of a mailing list can use the who command to see a list of the other subscribers. If you want to protect the privacy of your subscribers, restrict access to both the who and the which command: configset LISTNAME who_access = closed configset LISTNAME which_access = closed 6. subscribe_policy When someone subscribes to a mailing list, a confirmation notice is mailed. The subscriber then has to confirm the subscription request with the accept command. Using confirmation notices prevents forgeries; however, the list owners can stop requiring confirmations with this command: configset LISTNAME subscribe_policy = open Usually, when someone attempts to subscribe someone else to a mailing list, the moderators' approval is required. In this case, the address making the request is called the "requester," and the address that is being subscribed is called the "victim." Often, the requester and victim are the same person, and the intervention of the moderators is unnecessary. To allow people to subscribe other addresses, subject to the confirmation of the victim, use this command: configset LISTNAME subscribe_policy = auto+confirm Finally, if the moderators would like to approve every subscription, use this command: configset LISTNAME subscribe_policy = closed+confirm There are similar settings for the set and unsubscribe commands; see "help configset_set_policy" and "help configset_unsubscribe_policy" for more details. 5. description The description is shown when someone views the list of mailing lists with the lists command. This short description should be less than 50 characters in length, for example: configset cabbage description = The cabbage family, Brassica oleracea There is also a description_long configuration setting, that is displayed by the lists-long command. See "help configset_description" and "help configset_description_long" for more details. 4. attachment_rules and attachment_filters The widespread appearance of virii and worms in e-mail messages makes content screening a necessity. The attachment_rules setting can be used to moderate or deny messages based on the type of attachments, or to remove attachments from messages before they are delivered. For example, to moderate all messages with application/octet-stream parts, and to remove all HTML body parts, use these command: configset LISTNAME attachment_rules <<LLL application/octet-stream | consult LLL configset LISTNAME attachment_filters <<LLL text/html | discard LLL 3. default_flags When someone joins a mailing list with the subscribe command, her personal preferences are set automatically, according to the contents of the default_flags configuration setting. By default, only the "selfcopy" flag is turned on. If you would like new subscribers to see subject prefixes automatically, use this command: configset LISTNAME default_flags <<ABDF prefix selfcopy ABDF There is also a "default_class" configuration setting that determines how messages are delivered to new subscribers. See "help set" for a detailed discussion of the classes and flags. An address can be subscribed, and the settings configured at the same time. For example, subscribe-set LISTNAME digest email@example.com See "help configset_default_flags", "help configset_default_class", and "help subscribe" for more details. 2. digests Unless the domain administrator has set up default digest settings, each list's administrators must change the digests configuration setting, if they want digests to be supported. An unlimited number of digests can be supported. Each digest begins with the name of a digest, followed by zero or more customizations of the form FIELD=VALUE. Consider the following specification for the "daily" digest: configset LISTNAME digests <<KLM daily times=1-3 maxage=36h minsize=30 maxsize=100 type=text desc=Daily Digest KLM In this example, the fields have the following implications: times=1-3 The digest can only be delivered between 1:00 and 3:59 every morning. maxage=36h The digest will be delivered if a message older than 36 hours is awaiting delivery. minsize=30 The digest will not be delivered unless the total size of the messages awaiting delivery is at least 30 kilobytes. maxsize=100 An individual issue of the digest will be no larger than 100 kilobytes in size. type=text The messages will be displayed in plain text format. No attachments will be included. desc=Daily Digest The description of the digest is "Daily Digest", which will appear in the Subject header of the digest and in the table of contents. The digest_issues configuration setting shows the current volume and issue number for each digest, if any messages have been delivered. The "digest-incvol" command can be used to increase the volume number. See "help configset_digests", "help digest", and "help configset_digest_issues" for more information. 1. access_rules The access_rules setting is one of Majordomo's most powerful and complicated features. It allows the list owners to control access to any request, especially posted messages, that affects a mailing list. There are other configuration settings that control access, such as the subscribe_policy setting, the who_access setting, the moderate setting, and the restrict_post setting; however, access_rules will override any of those settings. The most important use of the access_rules is to control who can post messages to a mailing list. For example, the following rule would allow anyone to post, including unsolicited advertisers: configset LISTNAME access_rules <<ZYZY post allow ALL ZYZY This example allows only people who are subscribed to a mailing list to post messages. Posts from anyone else will be moderated: configset LISTNAME access_rules <<POP post consult !@MAIN POP More examples are shown in "help admin_moderate". For a more detailed description of access_rules, see "help configset_access_rules". To see the current values of the "essential" settings for your mailing list, use the following command: configshow LISTNAME 1 The number 1 stands for "wizard" or "skill" level 1. See "help configset_config_access" for an explanation of wizard levels. Categories of settings ---------------------- Majordomo has over 100 configuration settings. To help you manage them more easily, they have been divided into several categories. Some settings appear in more than one category. The categories of interest to list owners are ACCESS, ARCHIVE, BOUNCE, DELIVER, LISTS, MISCELLANY, MODERATE, PASSWORD, and REPLY. The "help configshow" document gives a summary of each category. As an illustration, to see the current settings in the BOUNCE category, use this command: configshow LISTNAME BOUNCE To see a summary of the categories, use this command: configshow-categories LISTNAME The configedit command ---------------------- The mj_shell command-line interface has a special feature. If you use the configedit command, the current values of the settings you name on the command line will be edited by your favorite text editor program. This makes the value of the setting much easier to edit and replace. This feature only applies to the mj_shell program. If the configedit command is used in an e-mail message, it will not be recognized. Configuration templates and default values (advanced topic) ----------------------------------------------------------- Any list owner can use the configdef, configset, and configshow commands to store configuration settings in files called configuration templates. They are called templates because they act as guides for copying settings from list to list. Template names have the same constraints as list names: they must consist only of letters, digits, period, hyphen, and underscore. Each template must be managed by an existing mailing list. To refer to a template, use the listname, followed by a colon and the template name. For example, this command: configset LISTNAME:mytemplate moderate = 1 would create or change a template called "mytemplate" and set its "moderate" configuration setting. Once a template exists, you can see all of its values using the configshow-declared command, for example: configshow-declared LISTNAME:mytemplate would show only one value, for the "moderate" configuration setting, because only one value has been declared in that template. The most important templates are the ones stored by the DEFAULT list. These configuration files are available to any list owner through the configshow command. To see a description of the DEFAULT templates, use this command: lists-config DEFAULT Two of these templates are critically important. The DEFAULT:MAIN template is another name for the main configuration settings of the DEFAULT list. The DEFAULT:_install template gives the installation default values. These settings apply to all lists in the openbsd.org domain. When Majordomo looks up the value of a setting for a mailing list, if that setting is not declared within the list's main configuration table, it looks through the templates in the config_defaults setting. If none of those templates has declared a value for the setting, Majordomo will look in the DEFAULT:MAIN configuration template. If the setting has not been declared there, it uses the value from the DEFAULT:_install template. As a consequence, the DEFAULT:_install template must have a declaration of every configuration setting. The values in the DEFAULT:_install template should never be changed, because they will be overwritten if the software is upgraded. The DEFAULT:personal template gives an example of how useful templates can be. This template customizes each posted message; the address of the subscriber is placed in the To: header, and a footer is added that also shows the subscriber's address. Please look at the settings using this command: configshow-declared-nocomments DEFAULT:personal As you can see, it takes several commands to achieve the "personal" effect. These commands would be difficult to remember, but you can easily apply them to your mailing list with the configshow-merge command: configshow-merge-append-nocomments DEFAULT:personal LISTNAME or by adding the word "personal" to the list of templates in the config_defaults setting. Please see "help configset_config_defaults" for more details. The configshow command will automatically change the configset commands that are displayed so they apply to the LISTNAME mailing list. Please read the "comments" setting in the output of the configshow command: personalized mailing lists require more resources, because a separate copy of each posted message is delivered to each recipient. If you decide to undo the changes from the DEFAULT:personal template, simply use the configshow-extract command: configshow-merge-extract-nocomments DEFAULT:personal LISTNAME The configset commands displayed by the configshow-extract command will return the settings to their original values. When the configshow command displays an undeclared value for a setting in a configuration template, it will use the default value for that setting from the DEFAULT:_install template. Templates never inherit values from other templates. If you would like to see other templates added to Majordomo, contact the developers at firstname.lastname@example.org. Password levels (advanced topic) -------------------------------- Each configuration setting has two numbers that determine what level of password is required to see or change the value of the setting. Higher numbers mean greater restrictions. In the output of the configshow command, you will see comments like this: # master_password (level 2) "level 2" means that a level 2 password is required to change the value. Your list's master administrative password has level 2. If you wish to change any setting with a higher level, you will need to contact a domain or site manager. For more details, see "help configset_config_access". See Also: help admin help admin_commands help admin_delivery help admin_documents help admin_moderate help admin_monitor help admin_passwords help admin_subscribers help configdef help configset help configshow help here_document help set help subscribe This is the "admin_config" help document for Majordomo 2, version 0.1201103110. For a list of all help documents, send the following command: help topics in the body of a message to email@example.com.
For assistance, please contact the openbsd.org administrators.
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