[RESOLVED] lists.ibiblio.org PLANNED outage and changes

lists.ibiblio.org outage and changes


START of outage: Mon Jan 29 10:00:00 EST 2024

END of outage: Wed Jan 31 14:00:00 EST 2024

Click here to see the outage START time in your local time zone.

Click here to see the outage END time in your local time zone.

This is a major outage that will span three (3) business days.


If you are a list owner or moderator of a mailing list hosted at lists.ibiblio.org, you are affected and should read on. If you merely post messages to ibiblio-hosted lists, your posts will bounce back and not be delivered during much of the outage, but if that is not a problem for you, you can stop reading here.

Owners and moderators of mailing lists hosted with us that support communities that depend on messages being delivered within a business day should alert their communities now and make alternative plans for the three business days involved. Even if your community does not depend on timely delivery of messages, people may have concerns about the outage if they are caught unawares, so consider letting them know that this maintenance is planned.

Owners and moderators of mailing lists hosted at lists.ibiblio.org will have new workflows for common tasks such as adding subscribers, changing list landing page text, and approving or denying messages held for moderation. We understand that this will mean re-learning where to click for quite a number of people and quite a number of tasks. That’s why we have prepared this page and why we encourage you to set aside some time to get familiar with the new interface. Fear not, for as with the old interface, the new one is web-based. Additionally, common tasks will often be easier to perform.


There are really three questions here. The first one is “why change at all?” ; the second is “why change now?” ; and the last is “Why so long an outage?” We will tackle them in order.

Our existing infrastructure powering lists.ibiblio.org is now End-of-Life and not receiving updates. A major change to the web interface was inevitable, as our existing software moved to a new major version that split the web interface out into its own separate project. We reviewed what other institutions that had migrated away from our old solution had done, and we prioritized looking at migrations that had stayed with self-hosted Free/Libre and Open Source Software (F/LOSS), as well as migrations done by institutions similar to ours. We considered several of the options and eventually settled on one that has an active community, good documentation, and multiple large universities that have been public about their migration from the same system we currently have to this solution.

The reason we have accelerated this change and are implementing it now is that our parent institution has support for complying with new rules from Google and Yahoo! about mail signing (and other factors) for bulk mail. There is no way for us to be confident of the needed changes to comply with Google’s new rules using our existing platform.

The reason why this outage is taking multiple business days has two parts. The first is that we have relatively few staff given the size of our infrastructure, and the second is that we take our role as an archive very seriously. While we could have a relatively short outage, we are not confident that we could assure you that your list archives would still be present in full and available (either privately to subscribers or publicly depending on the list) as they are now. The only way that we can confidently migrate our systems is to take additional time to test while the system is down to prevent changes.


The new lists.ibiblio.org infrastructure uses Sympa, and for an example of a public mailing list landing page and archive using the default styling, you can click here to see the english language support list for Sympa itself.

A Comparison of Terms between old and new:

Mailman Sympa
Site Administrator Listmaster
List Manager/administrator List owner
List Manager/moderator Moderator (also called Editor)
Subscriber Subscriber (also called List Member)

documentation on our instance is available at this link: https://lists.ibiblio.org/sympa/help/

This outage has begun. If you have an issue with an ibiblio-hosted mailing list, please read the outage notice above before replying or opening a help request.

This outage continues, but we have reached a check point where we are working from the new system. Some mail may begin to flow outbound, but mail inbound continues to be rejected. If you receive mail from lists.ibiblio.org before our announcement that the outage is complete, this does not mean that the service is available. We appreciate your patience as we work to ensure a stable and correct system before opening it up to the public.

Unexpected delays associated with user data migrations mean that our outage may continue until the end of the business day Eastern Time today. We will post updates as we are able.

Our outage is complete and the service is now live. Given the diversity of lists we host, we know that there will be corner cases we have overlooked. Please do reach out if something about your mailing list does not seem to be right.

We are working to resolve an issue with posting to lists.

While we do not have a specific time for a resolution, we hope to have mailing list services available again tonight (Wednesday the 31st Eastern Time).

Lists seem to be working, but the manner in which we got lists working leads us to believe that future changes will be needed within the next two weeks. If we plan to take an outage to make those changes, we will start a new thread. For now, consider this outage and migration resolved.