Sympa – “cookie parameter has changed”

Perhaps you’ve just moved your Sympa list manager to another machine and you’re seeing a dreadful message in your syslog that looks like:

sympa_msg.pl[21920]: DIED: sympa.conf/cookie parameter has changed. You may have severe inconsitencies in to password storage. Restore previous cookie or write some tool to re-encrypt password in database and check spools contents (look at /etc/sympa/cookies.history file). at /usr/lib/sympa/bin/sympa_msg.pl line 313.

Oh, Lordy, what have I done? Is my database hosed? Did I lose the key to all my data forever? Holy smokes, I have SEVERE INCONSISTENCIES!!! Now I have to start programming some kind of crypto algorithm crypto to get it up?

The cookie= parameter looks fine, matches the old machine, the database looks intact!

OK, take a deep breath. The code isn’t checking anything of the sort! It’s checking whether your cookie= value is in the file cookies.history. That’s it. It appears to be there to help people recover—if it were documented what to do. But the package manager probably made a new one when you installed on the new machine. So, just:

echo "mycookievalue" > /etc/sympa/cookies.history
chown sympa:sympa /etc/sympa/cookies.history
chmod 660 /etc/sympa/cookies.history
systemctl restart sympa

And everything will be right as rain again. There was nothing to be afraid of.