Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ A New Website, Part Ten - More On Mailing

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Nov 30, 2006

The text of the message I sent to CSoft tech support this morning after many long and frustrating hours of trying to make my mailing lists work.


Summary: I solved the problems by creating the /Mail directory in my account on and then rebuilding my mailboxes.

None of the work (which I document below) should have been necessary.

1. The /Mail directory should have been created when the account was created

2. The mailbox routine on the control panel should report an error when the mailbox fails to be created (that it doesn't do this is a remarkable programming error)

3. The list of email addresses in the control panel should be complete

4. 'Delete' should delete email addresses even if there is an error in the mailbox configuration (such as it not existing)

5. Documentation on how to set up mail should be complete, specifying (eg) the use of SSH as a server setting

6. Documentation on how to set up mailing lists should be complete, *especially* the bit about running the command on a second server in the Mail directory

7. Finally, the response to my original complaint was inadequate. At the very least, the person responding should have looked at the Mail directory to see if there was a problem. At that point, he would have noticed that the directory doesn't exist.

Now I'm going to go see if I can figure out how to tell people how to subscribe to my mailing list, which is also undocumented. *sigh*

Here is my work record:

My mail problems multiply.

Attemnpting to login to mailbox 'stephen' fails. Sort of. Stalls at 'sending login information' with 'no encryption', fails entirely under TLS, and appears to accept login but fails to respond under SSL (it may simply be returning an empty mailbox) (obviously I'm just guessing at the settins here, because they are not documented).

An email sent to was not rejected (yay!) but does not appear to be retrievable.

The previous attempt was IMAP. I also attempted to set up a POP account. Mailbox name 'stepop', password 'DAVIDHUME'. I sent an email to '' which was not rejected. Mailbox sizes remained '0' however.

When I attempted to access this account I got: "Sending of password sis not succeed. Mail server MAIL231.CSOFT.NET responded 'Unable to create lockfile' (2) on /home/downes/Mail/stepop/Mailbox': No such file or directory (2)

The list of current email addresses only shows 12 email addresses, all 12 created by two of my attempts to create mailing lists, foo and fob. No current email addresses (including and (both of which I reconfirmed exist) show up on the display.

Attempts to delete six of the addresses (those associated with 'foo' fail with an error).

Error: No such alias recipient: `|/usr/local/bin/ezmlm-moderate'.

I attempted to run the ezmlm command in the Mail directory on as instructed.

The Mail directory did not exist (though there existed a symbolic link Mairdir -> Mail/Maildir). So naturally the ezmlm command failed (I tried ezmlm-make -m ~/Mail/fob ~/Mail/.qmail-fallacies:ca-fob fob and got: ezmlm-make: fatal: unable to create /home/downes/Mail/fob: file does not exist

I created the directory Mail and tried again. The commands then worked.

I tried sending emails to the two email addresses ( and and logging into their respective mailboxes, but again, same results.

I sent email to (the mailing list that should now exist). This email *did* appear in my email ( with a moderation request. Reply to 'accept' did not bounce (I never saw the email again - I guess the moderator doesn't get copies).

I deleted the 'stephen' mailbox and recreated it. I attempted to associate it with ;' again but got an error "Error: Existing recipient: `&stephen'" It seems to me that when you delete a mailbox that email associations should also be deleted. I am of course unable to delete the email address '' because I cannot see it.

I created a new email address, ''. It also does not show up on the list of email addresses (this is getting REALLY frustrating - that HAS to be fixed). It DID show up in the mail box. An email sent to '' also showed up. Clearly, recreating the mailbox (which presumably is now in the 'Mail' directory) was the trick.

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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