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ARCHIVED: What are the differences between Majordomo and LISTSERV?

UITS has retired the Majordomo list server at Indiana University Bloomington. If you were the primary owner of an IUB Majordomo list, you can no longer use it to send mail. If you'd like to create a new mailing list, anyone with an IU Network ID username and passphrase can request a LISTSERV list. For instructions, see ARCHIVED: At IU, how do I request a new LISTSERV list? Also, for a collection of documents with general LISTSERV information, and information about owning and subscribing to LISTSERV lists at IU, see the Knowledge Base menu ARCHIVED: LISTSERV, distribution lists, and mass mailing.

Both Majordomo and LISTSERV are programs for creating and maintaining centralized electronic mailing lists. You can use either Majordomo or LISTSERV to set up a distribution list for your own use. Using either, you can optionally configure your list so that other people can add (subscribe) themselves or send messages to the entire list.

LISTSERV mailing lists are highly configurable, with extensive setup options available to the list owner and to individual subscribers. LISTSERV offers comprehensive security features. You also can limit who is able to post to the list, "hide" the list so that non-subscribers won't stumble across it inadvertently, and prevent bogus subscriptions by requiring that subscribers confirm their requests. Subscribers can choose to receive postings as individual messages, as periodic "digests", or as an indexed list. Both list owners and subscribers can set many other detailed options for privacy, spam prevention, and convenience.

Majordomo mailing lists have fewer options, which some people find makes them easier to use. Majordomo is not as secure as LISTSERV, but it does offer some security options. You can, for example, refuse postings from others or from non-subscribers, "moderate" your list (only allow postings that you have approved), or require approval for new subscribers.

If you need a straightforward mailing list with a few basic options, Majordomo will work. If your list is highly confidential, needs special configuration features, or serves subscribers with widely different individual requirements, you should consider LISTSERV.

At Indiana University, UITS supports LISTSERV 1.8e. Its benefits and enhancements include:

  • List administration wizards provide owners with a user-friendly interface for modifying the list configuration.

  • Owners with moderated lists can use a web interface to view messages and attachments in a browser window before authorizing delivery of a posting.

  • The attachment filter has been improved, and allows owners to determine which types of attachments may and may not be distributed to subscribers.

  • Owners can configure a content filter to automatically reject messages such as out-of-office messages.

  • Subscribers can now manage all of their list subscriptions on the same server using one web page.

  • Spam filters and the anti-spoof feature have been improved to reduce the amount of unsolicited email.

  • Owners can download or view list activity reports using the web interface. Owners can view messages subscribers have sent, the number of new subscribers, and information about those who have unsubscribed. Reports may be organized daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly.

  • Owners may also generate list configuration and subscriber setting reports.

  • Additionally, because UITS will be supporting a single list service environment, you will see enhanced support from the UITS Support Centers.

At IU, if you are interested in requesting a LISTSERV list, see the Knowledge Base document ARCHIVED: At IU, how do I request a new LISTSERV list?

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Last modified on October 30, 2008.

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