Roadmap96: MAP06 - Other Mail Servers
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MAP06: OTHER MAIL SERVERS
"Immature artists imitate. Mature artists
-- Lionel Trilling, in Esquire
I am proud to say that not a single word in this entire lesson is mine. :)
Actually, I want to thank James Milles (the Head of Computer Services at the Saint Louis University Law Library) for giving me permission to reprint his "Discussion Lists: Mail Server Commands" file. James is a "net-guru" in my book, and his support really means a lot to me.
We covered basic LISTSERV commands in MAP05. This lesson is going to show you some advanced LISTSERV commands, as well as commands for other mail list servers. These additional mail servers are Listproc, Mailbase, Mailserv, and Majordomo.
Unlike LISTSERV, there is no set way to figure out if a mailing list is running on a Listproc, Mailbase, Mailserv, or Majordomo without someone telling you. So, today's lesson is really just a review of some of the LISTSERV commands we went over in MAP05, an introduction to some new LISTSERV commands, and a reference sheet for other mail server commands that you can use later.
DISCUSSION LISTS: MAIL LIST MANAGER COMMANDS Version 1.27 January 25, 1996 James Milles Saint Louis University Law Library firstname.lastname@example.org 1. E-mail discussion lists constitute one of the most popular methods of group communication on the Internet. Discussion lists support group communication by providing, at minimum, two basic functions: (1) the ability to distribute a message to a group of people by sending it to a single, central address, and (2) the ability to quietly join and leave the list at any time. 1.1. In order to provide these separate functions, an e-mail discussion list typically has two addresses associated with it: (1) a "listname address," the address to which you send any messages that you intend to be read by the list subscribers; and (2) an "administrative address," the address to which you send any commands or requests that affect your subscription to the list. It's easy to remember this distinction by thinking of your local newspaper: the first address is somewhat analogous to sending a "letter to the editor," while the second is like sending a letter to the newspaper's subscription office. 1.2. With most discussion lists, the "administrative address" is a computer program that allows the subscriber to subscribe and unsubscribe automatically, without external intervention. There are at least five popular mail server programs used to manage Internet discussion lists: REVISED LISTSERV (also called BITNET LISTSERV), Unix ListProcessor (or Listproc), Mailbase, Mailserv, and Majordomo. The commands for subscribing and unsubscribing under most of these programs are the same; however, other useful commands differ greatly from one program to another, and some programs support features that others do not. 1.3. This document does not describe all the features supported by any of these programs, only those most commonly used. For more information on any of these programs, send a message containing only the word "help" to the appropriate mail server. Additional programs and commands will be added in future revisions of this document. 1.4. This document also does not deal with discussion lists to which one subscribes by sending a message to "[listname]-request," sometimes referred to as "Internet lists." There are a great many discussion lists of this type; some are distribution lists maintained manually by the listowner, while others use some form of mailer software ranging from a simple script to a fairly sophisticated mailing list program. Some require that subscription requests be placed in the message text; others require them to be included in the Subject: line. Because of the variety of methods of maintaining these lists, it is impossible to generalize about their command features. However, as a rule, assume that any discussion list with an administrative address of "[listname]-request" is maintained manually by a human being. Accordingly, you should subscribe by sending a friendly message in plain English to "[listname]-request." If a program responds with instructions for subscribing, follow the instructions. 1.5. The latest version of this document is available by e-mail and by anonymous ftp: E-mail: Send a message containing only the line GET MAILSER CMD NETTRAIN F=MAIL to LISTSERV@UBVM.cc.buffalo.edu. FTP: Anonymous ftp to ubvm.cc.buffalo.edu cd /nettrain get mailser.cmd -- or -- anonymous ftp to lawlib.slu.edu get mailser.cmd Web: http://lawlib.slu.edu/home.htm 2. When you subscribe to a list, you will typically receive a "welcome" message, describing the purpose of the list and telling you how to unsubscribe. Save this message! It tells you which program the discussion list is run under, and how to get further help. 2.1. Mail servers can be confusing. Many people use the term "listserv" generically, to refer to any list mail server program. To make things worse, the Unix ListProcessor (listproc) program was originally called "listserv," just like REVISED LISTSERV. Many listproc hosts are still configured with the name "listserv," and will accept commands addressed to "listserv@[host]" as well as to the correct name, "listproc@[host]." 2.2. Usually--but not always--you can find out which program a discussion list is run under by examining the message headers. For instance, listproc lists should include a line saying "Unix ListProcessor." However, the best practice is to save any "welcome" message you receive when you subscribe, and to note at that time which set of commands is applicable. 3. Remember to send all commands to the "administrative address"--[mailserver]@[host]--not to the "listname address". [Mailserver] is the program that maintains the list (either listproc, LISTSERV, mailbase, mailserv, or majordomo); [host] is the address of the host computer (for example, ucdavis.edu or cleo.murdoch.edu.au). 3.1. Be sure to leave the Subject: line blank, and to delete any signature file if your mailer allows you to do so. 3.2. Always include the name of the list in the message to [mailserver]@[host]. Most mailserver sites maintain many different discussion lists, and it is essential that you tell the mail server which list you are talking about. 3.3. For instance, to join the discussion list email@example.com, send an e-mail message containing only the command SUBSCRIBE LAW-LIB John Doe to firstname.lastname@example.org. The other examples used below are: INT-LAW@UMINN1.BITNET (REVISED LISTSERV), email@example.com (Mailbase), firstname.lastname@example.org (Mailserv),and email@example.com (Majordomo). 4. For information on how to obtain and install these discussion list packages and many others, see the "Mailing List Management Software FAQ" by Norm Aleks: FTP: available by anonymous ftp from ftp.uu.net, directory /usenet/news.answers/mail/list-admin/, file software-faq E-mail: Send a message containing only the line get doc mlm-software-faq to ListProc@avs.com Web: http://www.ummed.edu:8000/pub/n/naleks/mlmfaq/ mlmfaq_toc.html ---------------------------------------------------------------- Join a list: Listproc: SUBSCRIBE [listname] Firstname Lastname (e.g., SUBSCRIBE LAW-LIB John Doe) LISTSERV: SUBSCRIBE [listname] Firstname Lastname (e.g., SUBSCRIBE INT-LAW John Doe) Mailbase: JOIN [listname] Firstname Lastname (e.g., JOIN LAW-EUROPE John Doe) Mailserv: SUBSCRIBE [listname] Firstname Lastname (e.g., SUBSCRIBE ENVIROLAW John Doe) (Optionally, include the e-mail address at which you wish to receive list mail:) SUBSCRIBE [listname] Firstname Lastname [address] Majordomo: SUBSCRIBE [listname] (e.g., SUBSCRIBE ELAW-J) (Optionally, include the e-mail address at which you wish to receive list mail:) SUBSCRIBE [listname] [address] Leave a list: Listproc: UNSUBSCRIBE [listname] LISTSERV: SIGNOFF [listname] -- or -- UNSUBSCRIBE [listname] Mailbase: LEAVE [listname] Mailserv: UNSUBSCRIBE [listname] (UNSUBSCRIBE [listname] [address] if you subscribed under a different e-mail address.) Majordomo: UNSUBSCRIBE [listname] (UNSUBSCRIBE [listname] [address] if you subscribed under a different e-mail address.) Receive the list in digest format (multiple messages compiled into a single mailing, usually daily or weekly): Listproc: SET [listname] MAIL DIGEST LISTSERV: SET [listname] DIGEST Mailbase: Not supported. Mailserv: Not supported. Majordomo: SUBSCRIBE [listname]-DIGEST (in the same message, unsubscribe from the undigested version:) UNSUBSCRIBE [listname] (Note: with those programs that support the digest option, whether or not to offer the digest format is within the discretion of the listowner; consequently not all lists offer digests.) Cancel digest format; receive the list as separate mailings: Listproc: SET [listname] MAIL ACK LISTSERV: SET [listname] MAIL Mailbase: Not supported. Mailserv: Not supported. Majordomo: UNSUBSCRIBE [listname]-DIGEST (in the same message, subscribe to the undigested version:) SUBSCRIBE [listname] Suspend mail temporarily (without unsubscribing): Listproc: SET [listname] MAIL POSTPONE LISTSERV: SET [listname] NOMAIL Mailbase: SUSPEND MAIL [listname] Mailserv: Not supported. Majordomo: Not supported. Resume receipt of messages: Listproc: SET [listname] MAIL ACK -- or -- SET [listname]MAIL NOACK -- or -- SET [listname] MAIL DIGEST LISTSERV: SET [listname] MAIL -- or -- SET [listname] DIGEST Mailbase: RESUME MAIL [listname] Mailserv: Not supported. Majordomo: Not supported. Receive copies of your own messages: Listproc: SET [listname] MAIL ACK LISTSERV: SET [listname] REPRO (to simply receive an automatic acknowledgement that your message has been sent to the list, use:) SET [listname] ACK Mailbase: Standard feature; you always receive your own messages. Mailserv: Same as mailbase. Majordomo: Same as mailbase. Do not receive copies of your own messages: Listproc: SET [listname] MAIL NOACK LISTSERV: SET [listname] NOREPRO Mailbase: Not supported. Mailserv: Not supported. Majordomo: Not supported. Obtain a list of subscribers: Listproc: RECIPIENTS [listname] LISTSERV: REVIEW [listname] F=MAIL (can also be sorted by name or by country:) REVIEW [listname] BY NAME F=MAIL -- or -- REVIEW [listname] BY COUNTRY F=MAIL Mailbase: REVIEW [listname] Mailserv: SEND/LIST [listname] Majordomo: WHO [listname] Hide your address, so that it does not appear on the list of subscribers: Listproc: SET [listname] CONCEAL YES (to reverse this command, use:) SET [listname] CONCEAL NO LISTSERV: SET [listname] CONCEAL (to reverse this command, use:) SET [listname] NOCONCEAL Mailbase: Not supported. Mailserv: Not supported. Majordomo: Not supported. Obtain a list of lists maintained by this mail server: Listproc: LISTS LISTSERV: LISTS (to obtain a list of all known LISTSERV lists, send the command LISTS GLOBAL; to search for LISTSERV lists with a given keyword or character string in the description, send the command LISTS GLOBAL /[keyword], e.g., LISTS GLOBAL /LAW.) Mailbase: LISTS Mailserv: DIRECTORY/LIST Majordomo: LISTS Obtain a listing of archive files for a particular list: Listproc: INDEX [listname] LISTSERV: INDEX [listname] Mailbase: INDEX [listname] Mailserv: INDEX [listname] Majordomo: INDEX [listname] Retrieve an archive file: Listproc: GET [listname] [filename] (e.g., GET LAW-LIB feb94) LISTSERV: GET [filename] [filetype] [listname] F=MAIL (e.g., GET INT-LAW LOG9406 INT-LAW F=MAIL) Mailbase: SEND [listname] [filename] (e.g., SEND LAW-EUROPE 05-1994) Mailserv: SEND [listname] [filename] (e.g., SEND ENVIROLAW smith.txt) Majordomo: GET [listname] [filename] (e.g., GET ELAW-J BOYLE.TXT) Search the archives for keywords (where available--some lists do not keep archives): Listproc: SEARCH [listname] "[keywords]" Boolean searches are possible using the symbols "&" (and), "|" (or), and "~" (not). For example, to search for "mead" or "mdc" in law-lib, use the command SEARCH LAW-LIB "mead | mdc" LISTSERV: LISTSERV uses a sophisticated and powerful search engine that does lots of neat things like finding "sounds like" matches; however, it uses a difficult, batch-coded search language to construct queries. I find it useful to keep a "template" file in my Internet account, and then edit the file as appropriate when I need to do a search. Here's the search file: // JOB Echo=No Database Search DD=Rules //Rules DD * Search nafta in int-law since 93/6/1 Index /* To run a search, send this file in an e-mail message to LISTSERV@[host]. The Search line can be modified as needed. The date is optional; Boolean combinations, nesting with parentheses, and a great number of other capabilities are supported. For a full description of LISTSERV search functions, send the command GET LISTDB MEMO F=MAIL to LISTSERV@UMINN1.BITNET. Once you've received a list of messages matching your query, send another message to LISTSERV@[host] to retrieve the specific messages you want: // JOB Echo=No Database Search DD=Rules //Rules DD * Search nafta in int-law since 93/6/1 Print all of 636 637 640 /* Mailbase: Archives of Mailbase lists are searchable through the Mailbase Gopher (gopher mailbase.ac.uk). Mailbase does not support batch searching by e-mail request. Mailserv: Not supported. Majordomo: Not supported. ----------------------------------------------------------------- James Milles Voice: (314) 977-2759 Head of Computer Services FAX: (314) 977-3966 Saint Louis University Law Library firstname.lastname@example.org 3700 Lindell Blvd. St. Louis, MO 63108
Originally written by Patrick Douglas Crispen