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Majordomo User Guide

This document is based on the documentation that accompanies the Majordomo application software and makes use of sections of a chapter about Majordomo from the Nutshell Handbook Managing Internet Information Services, written by Jerry Peek. The chapter is (c) Copyright 1994 by O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., and is used in the Majordomo List Owner's Guide by permission of the publisher.

Should you have any suggestions or additions, please forward them by electronic mail to <majordomo-support@concordia.ca>. If your suggestion or addition is incorporated, your name will be added to the credits at the end of this document.

Questions and requests for assistance should be addressed to the IITS Help Line at 848-7613 or <help@concordia.ca>.

What is a list server?

A list server (or more properly, a mail reflector) is a program designed to accept mail messages and to redistribute them to a predefined list of mail recipients. In such a way, a single message may be distributed to many individuals. List servers often maintain a number of different lists, each with a separate name, purpose, distribution (or membership) list, and characteristics.

What is Majordomo?

Majordomo is a system-independent distribution list management system. It automatically handles routine tasks such as forwarding mail to list members, archiving messages for future reference, and subscriptions and unsubscriptions. As well, each list, once established, can be controlled by the list owner via electronic mail.

The list owner is the person (or persons) who will run day-to-day operations of a mailing list by responding to mail messages from Majordomo. Each mailing list operated by Majordomo must have its own list owner(s).

Majordomo supports open, closed, and auto lists. A subscription request sent to an open list will be approved automatically. Only if the request specifies an address different from the one in their e-mail header (the address from which they sent the subscribe command) will the request be referred to the list owner for approval.

Requests for subscriptions to closed lists will be sent to the list owner for approval. Only after the list owner has approved the subscription request and resubmitted it to Majordomo will the subscription process be complete.

An auto list has the absolute minimum of maintenance (but also a minimum of security). All subscription or unsubscription requests will be honoured without any input from the list owner. For example, anyone can subscribe or unsubscribe anyone else.

Majordomo has public and private lists. In a public list, subscribers have access to information about other subscribers through the who and which commands; in a private list, they don't. When a list is private, only subscribers can use the archive commands index and get.

As well, Majordomo supports unmoderated and moderated lists. If a list is unmoderated, all messages sent to the list are immediately forwarded to other list members with no list owner intervention. If the list is moderated, all messages sent to the list will be forwarded to the list owner for review. Only after the list owner has approved a message will it be submitted to the list for distribution.

The owner can potentially receive four types of messages: requests to approve subscriptions (or unsubscriptions), requests to approve messages to the list, notifications of successful subscriptions or unsubscriptions, and bounces (messages sent to the list that weren't delivered). Which of these the owner receives, and how many, depends on the setup of the list (and of course, how many members the list has). On Alcor, Majordomo provides an approve script to help handle approval of subscriptions and messages, and a bounce to help handle bounces.

Common User commands

Majordomo accepts a small set of non-administrative commands. Commands available include ones that allow individuals to enquire about lists distributed from the list server, and to subscribe to and unsubscribe from specific lists. Commands should be sent in the body of an email message to <majordomo@concordia.ca> (or in%"majordomo@concordia.ca" on the VMS computers).

subscribe <list>
Subscribe yourself to the named <list>.

unsubscribe <list>
Unsubscribe yourself from the named <list>.

which <string>
Reports the lists to which you (if <string> is omitted) or others (if <string> is any part of an email address) are subscribed.

who <list>
Find out who is subscribed to the named <list>.

info <list>
Retrieve general introductory information for the named <list>.

index <list>
Gives a listing of files in the archive for the named <list>.

get list filename
Requests that the file named filename is mailed to you from the list archive

Show the lists distributed by this Majordomo server.

Retrieve a summary of Majordomo user commands.

Tell Majordomo to stop processing commands. This command is useful if your mailer adds a signature at the end of a mail message.

Note: Commands in the Subject: line are NOT processed.

Caution: Users of Computing Services Majordomo mailing lists should send all commands to majordomo@concordia.ca. NEVER send commands to the mailing list address (e.g., never to list_name@concordia.ca)! Only messages intended for members of the list should be sent to the list address.

For More Help...

If you are a list owner and run into problems, BY ALL MEANS SAY SOMETHING! This server is meant to simplify the management of mailings lists at Concordia University. We in IITS want it to be successful! To report a problem administrating your list, contact the IITS Help Line, either by mail at help@concordia.ca or by telephone at 848-7613.

Copyright, © 2004, Concordia University,
Instructional and Information Technology Services (IITS).

Author: Geoff Selig
Credits: Anne Bennett, Yoly Young
Maintained by: majordomo-support@concordia.ca
Last update: 2001/08/10 -- Anne Bennett

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