[Beowulf] Administrivia: update on the state of the Beowulf list

Christopher Samuel samuel at unimelb.edu.au
Sat Sep 21 17:09:51 PDT 2013

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Hi folks,

As some of you may know we've had problems with losing subscribers due
to the IP address of beowulf.org getting onto some anti-spam blacklists.

I've been working with Penguin for some time by email and we had
assumed this related to the fact that they had recently changed
providers and the IP address that beowulf.org had ended up with was
previously listed, and so they worked hard to get it unlisted.

But we never could quite get it to stay off the lists, and then I got
an email from someone complaining that they had gotten an unsolicited
email from Mailman saying they'd asked to subscribe to the list and to
click a link to confirm it which was a red flag.

Happily I was in San Francisco this week for the Slurm User Group and
so could visited Penguin Computing (thanks Arend and Adam!) and we
worked through the logs to figure out what was going on (I don't have
any access to the host itself).

It turns out that the web based Mailman subscription interface was
being heavily abused to mailbomb people with subscription requests
(several thousand over the last fortnight) and sadly Mailman has no
capacity to add any form of captcha protection to stop this automated
abuse.  :-(

So as a result we've had no alternative except to disable web based
subscriptions to the list, if you try and hit the subscription URL
directly Apache will now redirect you to the list information page,
and that has been updated to ask people to email the beowulf-owner
email address directly to ask to be subscribed.

The next job is to get the hosts public IP changed so that any new
subscribers won't immediately get booted again for the same reason.

Once that is done we'll be able to accept new subscriptions to the
list and I'll then look at approaching the many people we lost due to
this to see if they're interested in getting back on the list.

Sorry for all this.. :-(

All the best,
- -- 
 Christopher Samuel        Senior Systems Administrator
 VLSCI - Victorian Life Sciences Computation Initiative
 Email: samuel at unimelb.edu.au Phone: +61 (0)3 903 55545
 http://www.vlsci.org.au/      http://twitter.com/vlsci

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