Monday, September 12, 2011

Are you a Listowner? Try listadmin CLI tool

I don't consider myself a very techie person, and generally chose the GUI tools over text-based commands in a console, with few exceptions. However, my life keeps getting busier, and spending time on mindless tasks like deleting list spam seems like a waste. Especially when there is a command-line interface (CLI) tool which promises both speed and control.

This will only be useful if you are a listowner, and your list is administered using Mailman, and you use Linux/Unix/BSD. But if this fits you, give it a try! In your package manager, select listadmin, or use apt-get install listadmin or the equivalent in your distribution. To start the application, in your console, type listadmin. If it's the first time you've run listadmin, you'll first see a series of questions which when answered will fill in the file $HOME/.listadmin.ini. I found it easier to edit this file by hand until I found the correct way to enter the password and listnames. You can edit this file in any text editor; I prefer Kate.

Here's my file, with some sample lists:
password XxXxX
spamlevel 8

# If you uncomment the following you will only have to press Return
# to discard a message:
default discard

# Uncomment the following to get a terse transaction log:
# log "~/.listadmin.log"

password XxXxXx

Username in this case is the email account you use in Mailman to administer the list; password is the password exactly as you type it - no extra spaces or symbols, and list address takes a bit more explanation. I successfully figured out the listname so it worked by using the Mailman administration weblink for the subdomain and domain part. For instance, my Linuxchix link is, which becomes For Rootsweb lists, it's, which becomes, where # is the server number. The same procedure works for KDE lists: becomes

The coolest thing is that if you set up your ini file as I did, you can do ALL your Mailman lists in one run, no matter how many servers the lists live on, and how many passwords you use. Be sure to use a blank line after the last list in a group, then create another group as shown above.

For more information, see the author's description: and the Manual: