mlalias is a utility for redirecting and fowarding email at CSE.

These days, it's mainly used for handling internal mailing lists and redirecting mail for conference or utility accounts.

For redirecting your personal email, we recommend you use UNSW Identity Management.

Staff could also consider an option within the File Access Management (FSAM) to create email distribution lists based around file system groups.

Mail aliases

A mail alias is a list of recipients attached to a CSE mail address (anything ending in

When mail arrives for a CSE email address, the server delivers the mail to all the addresses in the list.

If no alias exists for the address, the mail is delivered directly to that user's

Mail forwarding

To forward your mail, create an alias for your CSE username, then add the forwarding address as a recipient.

To remove the forwarding, delete the forwarding address again, or remove the alias altogether.

You can do this for conference or utility accounts you have access to - just log into the account and run the commands as that user.

Mailing lists

A mailing list is just an alias entry with multiple forwarding addresses.

Generally you wouldn't use your own username for this, because you don't want to broadcast all your private mail.

Instead, you'd want to create a whole new alias for the purpose.

If the list is just for personal use, you can create one yourself with your username as a prefix (for example z1234567.project), then add addresses to it.

For school-wide or public lists where a username prefix isn't appropriate, ask System Support to create it for you.

Delegating access

If several people are in charge of a mailing list, you can grant them all access to make changes.

You can do this by making them owners of the the list, which grants them full admin rights to it.

Controlling who can post to a list

You can restrict a mailing list so that only specific people can post to it.

You do this by turning on moderation for the list, and making someone (usually yourself) a moderator.

At this point, only owners will be able to post to the list; from there you can allow recipients to post, and/or add permitted senders.

You can also add user-classes such as @Employee as permitted senders, and users in that class will be allowed to post.

Any mail from people not on the whitelist will now only be sent to the list moderator - who can forward it on to the list themselves if they want.

When this happens, the From: address will show up as [Moderated for aliasname by senderemail]

Controlling visibility of a list

Lists are created as private by default, which means that non-owners aren't allowed to see details of the owners, recipients, etc.

If you want, you can make it public so anyone can see this information.

Controlling opt-in status of a list

Lists are created as closed by default, so that only owners can add or remove recipients.

If you want, you can make it open so that anyone can add or remove themselves as recipients.

Virtual aliases

mlalias also has a concept of virtual aliases, based on people's user-class memberships and updated automatically as they change.

This allows you to automatically mail all students in a given course, all staff in a given category, etc.

Virtual aliases take the form <class>-list, for example COMP1234_Student-list or CSE_RA-list.

In most cases, only CSE employees can post to virtual lists - this can be changed if required.

For more complex requirements, such as mailing past students of a certain course, see the enrol pageboy.

Mlalias commands

Create or remove an alias

To create an alias, run mlalias -C aliasname.

Normal users can only create aliases with their username as a prefix (eg. z1234567.mylist).

To remove an existing alias, run mlalias -R aliasname (you must be an owner of the alias).

View an alias

To see the details of an existing alias, run mlalias aliasname: $ mlalias z1234567 Alias: z1234567 Description: Flags: personal, private, unprivileged, unmoderated, closed Addresses: Owners: z1234567 Senders:

Here you can see the owners, recipients and control flags for mail sent to

Add or remove recipients

To add a recipient to an alias, run mlalias aliasname -a emailaddress

To remove a recipient from an alias, run mlalias aliasname -d emailaddress

The emailaddress can be a bare CSE username, a full email address or another alias.

Add or remove owners

To add an owner to a list, run mlalias aliasname -A username

To remove an owner from a list, run mlalias aliasname -D username

username must be a CSE username.

Enable moderation

To turn on moderation for an alias and appoint someone as moderator, run mlalias aliasname -f moderated mlalias alisname -M username

Note that username must be a CSE username, and that the user will be made an owner of the list, with full admin rights.

To remove a moderator from an alias, run the same command again to toggle their moderator status off.

Add permitted senders

To add a permitted sender, run mlalias aliasname -A emailaddress

emailaddress must be a full email address including an '@' or a user-class like @Employee, not a bare username or alias.

To remove a permitted sender, run mlalias aliasname -D emailaddress

Set other options

You can set the various control flags for an alias by running mlalias aliasname -f flagname

flagname can be one of the following:

List is unmoderated; mail will be accepted from anyone
List is moderated; only owners and permitted senders can post.
As for moderated, except that recipients can also post to the list.
List is private - only owners can view details.
List is public - anyone can view details.
List membership is open - anyone can add or remove themselves as a recipient.
List membership is closed - only owners can add or remove recipients
Last edited by robertd 01/07/2022

Tags for this page:

alias, email, forwarding, lists, mlalias, redirecting