Mailman Troubles and WINE Successes

Steve· recently pointed out that the linux-disciples mail list archives· were two months out of date. Linux-disciples· is a small community maillist I administer for all-purpose newbie linux questions (technically it should be “GNU/Linux-disciples,” but that doesn’t roll off the tongue smoothly). Upon investigation, I discovered that Mailman· has not been archiving any of my mail lists since February.

Previously, I had the problem that ArchRunner (the mailman process that creates archives) was using up all my available CPU·. So I turned ArchRunner off and had it run (or so I thought) every night from midnight until 6am as a cron job under user ‘mailman’.

The problem, I just discovered, was that I had given the wrong path to ArchRunner in the mailman cron job. The error message was going to user ‘mailman’, which was, in fact, a list I had accidentally created.

So it turns out there were over 100,000 error messages that had been sent to the mailman list since February, and these messages were all waiting to be ‘archived’ by ArchRunner once it started running properly again.

The lesson to be learned? There can be an awful lot happening on your server without you realizing it, even running a few monitoring utilities such as logcheck· which are supposed to watch the log files. Also, make sure that error messages from a process that tries to run every minute don’t go to a nonexistent user, and particularly don’t go to a user who is actually a mailing list.

I’m also wondering why google isn’t indexing any of my mailing lists·. A major impetus behind linux-disciples· was to make these questions and answers appear in the search engines.

In other news, I’m using a tryout demo version of Codeweavers Crossover Office· to run Office XP under GNU/Linux. Normally, I do everything with OpenOffice, which I much prefer, but I’m doing some intensive document exchange with others at work, and as much as I’d like to believe it isn’t true, the conversion filter is not yet perfect. The documents we’re working on are legal documents that are ultimately filed as such with official entities. Unfortunately, I think I’ve got to compromise my free software values on this one… On the other hand, so far, CrossOver Office is holding up quite well, and I’ll probably buy a version if things continue to work well.

(no need to comment on why MS Office formats are very bad for legal/confidential documents—e.g., Word Macro Viruses·, accidental disclosure· of confidential information·, etc.·. I know.)