SUMMARY: mailing list software

From: Mark Glasser (
Date: Fri Mar 06 1992 - 00:40:34 CST

My original inquiry:

markg> Does anyone know of any software packages for setting up and
markg> maintaing mailing lists such as this one?

everyone ignored the typo :-)

I received a bunch of "me-too" requests. I hope this summary satifies those
folks with the information they need.

J Eric Townsend <JET@UH.EDU> writes:

JET> try the listserv-for-unix package from It's much better
JET> than the software used to run this list. :-)

Several other respondents also pointed me to listserv on (Fritz Willmann) (Maxim Samo)
Michael Morse <>

Here are the listings from that location so you can see file sizes (it's not
very big).

dir /pub/listserv

total 198
-rw-r--r-- 1 3157 gradstd 1252 Feb 27 17:29 WARNINGS
-rw-r--r-- 1 3157 gradstd 2412 Feb 29 19:15 current_version
-rw------- 1 3157 gradstd 183076 Mar 1 19:06
drwxr-xr-x 2 3157 gradstd 512 Feb 27 17:28 utils

dir /pub/listserv/utils

total 5
-rw-r--r-- 1 3157 gradstd 3319 Oct 28 11:12 clean.c
-rwxr-xr-x 1 3157 gradstd 266 Oct 25 13:22 stds

------------------------------------------------------------------------ (Matt Cohen) writes:

Matt.Cohen> There's a program called "distribute" that rewrites the
Matt.Cohen> headers so that that replies go to the originator and errors go
Matt.Cohen> to you (the maintainer). I use it for my high-end publishing
Matt.Cohen> mailing list.
Matt.Cohen> It's available in various archives, and I can send you a
Matt.Cohen> copy as well.
Matt.Cohen> Be sure to post a summary - I'm looking for other tools as
Matt.Cohen> well.

I replied to him that I didn't know where to find a copy and he graciously
sent me one. I don't know if he is willing to fill everyone's request for a
copy, but if he doesn't, I will.

------------------------------------------------------------------------ (Peter Gutmann) writes:

peterg> Setting up a mailing list is quite simple using the tools at hand.
peterg> If you are using sendmail, you can use the alias file and the
peterg> instructions that I picked up a while ago. If you are using Smail
peterg> 3.1.X there are simple instructions contained in the smail docs.
peterg> Hope this helps
peterg> Peter Gutmann
peterg> --------------------------------------------------------------
peterg> Subject: Re: How to run a mailing list?
peterg> Date: 26 Sep 90 16:49:37 GMT
peterg> Organization: GenBank Computing Resource for Mol. Biology
peterg> The dos and don'ts of mailing lists:
peterg> *DO* create the following aliases for your list:
peterg> list-request: to point at you or a group of people who
peterg> administer the list.
peterg> owner-list: some people / mailers use this address, if
peterg> it exists, to report errors. Sendmail is
peterg> one such mailer, if I recall.
peterg> *DO* make an attempt to set the return-path of mail sent to that
peterg> list to list-request. Note that the return path is an address kept
peterg> in the ENVELOPE of a message, a part that should not be viewed by
peterg> the everyday user. With sendmail, you would probably have to do
peterg> something like the following in your aliases file:
peterg> list: "|/usr/lib/sendmail -flist-request real-list"
peterg> real-list: :include:/usr/local/mlists/list
peterg> The benefit is that many bounces involving the list that would
peterg> otherwise go to the original sender will now be redirected to the
peterg> administrators (who can presumably do something about the error).
peterg> One caveat: In the above example, messages sent from the machine
peterg> that contains the list will not get their return path set correctly.
peterg> This has to do with sendmail's security mechanisms.
peterg> *DON'T* muck with the From:, Sender:, or Reply-to: lines. Each of
peterg> these lines has specific purposes, as mentioned in RFCs 822 and
peterg> 1123.
peterg> --
peterg> Eliot Lear
peterg> []

------------------------------------------------------------------------ (Perry E. Metzger) writes

pmetzger> Straight sendmail does mailing lists.
pmetzger> You might want to use "procmail" along with it to clean and press
pmetzger> your headers if you plan on having a lot of users; send me an
pmetzger> "ack" if you want more info.

I queried him for more info and he wrote back:

pmetzger> Well, if you are running a big national mailing list you probably
pmetzger> want to fix things so replys go to the list and not the sender.
pmetzger> You probably want to remove spurious "reply-to"s, and probably
pmetzger> want to insert "er rors-to" of your own. There is a bunch of
pmetzger> stuff that you want to do to handle the inevitable flood of bounce
pmetzger> mail. However, if you are just handling a few dozen users and they
pmetzger> are local there is no real point.


I haven't had a chance to try any of these things out, but I plan to do so
in the very near future. I'll post to the list if I find any major
problems. With multiple recommendations it's doubtful I'll find any
show-stoppers. I'd like to hear others experiences as well.

Many thanks to everyone who replied.

Mark Glasser
------------------------------------------------------------------------ Nextwave Design Automation
                                                   2339 Charleston Rd #A
                                                 Mountain View, CA 94043
                                                    (voice) 415.691.0332
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