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Thunderbird as search software for Mailman mailing lists

Mailman is a popular software for managing mailing lists. Translat is the largest mailing list for Finnish translators and it runs on Mailman. Unfortunately, the list archive (which spans from 1996 to date and includes more than 300,000 messages as of this writing) are not searchable. However, subscribers can download the archive in the form of a huge (about 900 MB) file in the .MBOX format.

This video (recorded in Finnish because of the intended audience) shows how to use Thunderbird to make the list archive easily searchable. Using filters, the archive’s messages are split into yearly folders in Thunderbird, in order to make them more manageable. Since version 3, Thunderbird supports indexed search, which makes searching the list messages fast and efficient. The same technique can be used with any other Mailman list archive, or any other .mbox file.

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