LIS 525 - Mailing List Servers
When e-mail is addressed to a mailing list server,
it is automatically forwarded by e-mail to everyone on the list.
(By contrast a newsgroup or forum
must be accessed explicitly for each user to see new messages,
and may often be open to unregistered users.)
originally developed for BITNET in 1986,
is currently sold commercially by L-Soft International;
there is a Lite version,
free for small uses where no fees are charged
and priced up to US$2,000
for other purposes.
Versions of LISTSERV are available for Unix, Windows, and other
LISTSERV includes a Web interface.
Majordomo, also popular, is freeware
and runs under Unix (using Perl).
A separate product,
MajorCool allows modification of some Majordomo settings
via a Web interface.
Other popular list servers are
ListProc (Unix; free) and
(Unix and Windows; free version for small applications,
and various other versions up to more than US$100,000).
Some Things the LISTSERV List Owner Can Control
- What kinds of MIME attachments, if any, are permitted.
- What addresses are blocked from subscribing or posting.
- Who can see the list of subscribers.
- Who may post to the list
and whether postings have to go through an editor.
- What level of acknowledgement messages are sent.
- What the maximum number of messages is
that can be posted per day
or per day by a specific user.
- Whether digests are compiled and, if so, when and how
and how long a digest may be.
- What to put in the "Reply To" field.
- Error Handling.
- Whether bad e-mail addresses are deleted automatically.
- Who receives error messages.
- List Maintenance and Moderation.
- Who are the editors, if any.
- Whether a log is kept of messages sent to the list
and, if so, at what intervals the log file name is changed,
who is allowed to retrieve the file,
and how complete the headers of messages in the file are.
- Whether subscription notifications are sent
and, if so, to whom.
- Who own(s) the list.
- Whether users can select to have a standard text prefixed
to all messages from the list.
- Whether the list is hidden from users.
- Whether certain commands are password-protected.
- What options should be set by default for new subscribers.
- Whether new subscriptions are permitted
and, if so, whether they are automatic
or are handled through the list owner
and if users must confirm their addresses.
- Whether to remove control characters.
Some Web hosting plans include a mailing list server
some plans from OLM include Majordomo).
As an alternative to setting up your own list server
or paying for one as part of a Web hosting plan,
you may choose to make use of a free mailing list service,
such as Coollist or Yahoo! Groups.
Advertising is usually added to messages
posted by such services.
An option may be available to provide access to an archive.
A more common option provided by Web hosting services
is a sort of one-way mailing list.
People can sign up for a list automatically
by sending an e-mail to the server,
and the content provider sends periodic news messages
to everyone on the list.
The number of members permitted is typically limited.
Another variation is represented by the UWO public mailing lists.
Here, only the list owner can add members to the list,
but anyone from a larger group
(such as the university community)
can use the list to send a message to all the list members.
For More Information
Last updated April 16, 2007.
This page maintained by
Prof. Tim Craven
E-mail (text/plain only): email@example.com
Faculty of Information and
University of Western
Canada, N6A 5B7