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Re: Mechanics of the FM list & Happy, Merry, etc.

On Wed, 30 Dec 1998 16:14:38 -0500, Jay Smith <jay@jaysmith.com> wrote:

>Happy New Year!  Remember, only three (3) bottles of champagne per
>person -- but there is a loophole -- the size of bottle was not

Let's see... after Magnum, there's Jeroboam, then Methusalah...
but you need a *really* big party to drink one of those!

>Thanks for all you have done for the FM community this year.

It's been my pleasure... though it looks from here like the
community did most of it for itself!  I'm glad I can facilitate...

>And a question (when you have a spare - ha!- moment).  Your listserv
>is obviously doing a terrific job.  What is involved with setting up
>such a listserv?  Hardware commitment? Software cost?  Time involved? 
>Technical skill involved?  Bandwith/access required for your
>unbelievably fast response time (my most recent experience was under 2

It's not trivial, but it's easier than it looks if you use good
tools in the first place.  I'm using majordomo because it's real
reliable, and it's also open source (Perl).  And free, even for
commercial use.  That's not true of any other ML software I know 
of.  There's even an admins mutual-support mailing list, but I
haven't bothered joining it... the other 15 techie lists I'm on
keep my mailbox full enough, then there's the 9 political and
personal ones, plus a few regular news Web sites, but I'm not
addicted... not really... <bg>

You do need a bit more than the "standard" ISP account to run it.
Some prohibit it; mine not only allows it, but keeps a copy of
the current version and its docs on hand.  I have a "virtual server"
account that gives me full control over what looks like a BSD UNIX
system; I telnet in to a C shell to do admin work, and have full
ftp and http control (unlimited CGI, SSI, etc.).  I can run as many
lists as I please, make all the POP3 mailboxes I want, and use
200MB of hard disk with *no* bandwidth charges.  Hard to beat,
especially for $85/month with excellent email tech support:

AFAIK, Esosoft uses Intel systems, and runs BSDI with multihosting
additions.  They have three T3 comnnections to two different Net
backbone providers currently, and add capacity often.  They do not
have any dialup, so I use a local ISP for that alone (another $20).
I have no problem using Esosoft for my own POP3/SMTP mail too; they
have been more reliable than the local, which my housemate uses.

It took me a couple of days to get set up properly, from zero, but
that wasn't all I was doing for that span; maybe 4 hours real work,
including reading the docs.  I'm a very experienced C++ programmer,
and have used UNIX for maybe 15 years, so others might take longer.

If all you want is to run a list, Esosoft offers that too, for $15
per list per month with no size/usage limits, commercial use OK.
Then your only setup task is editing the self-explanatory config
file, which you can do using email to/from majordomo.  If you are
happy with your main account elsewhere, that's the way to go.

The main ongoing task is assisting the literacy-challenged with
unsub and sub requests.  There are more ways to spell "majordomo"
than you ever imagined... <g>  Then there are mail bounces; I let
them go on for several days, in case it's a config problem at the
other end, then unsub the newly-unknown user.  Sometimes if the
problem is intermittent I write to the subscriber to let them and
their sysadmin know about the trouble, since otherwise it's hard
for them to be sure that they are really missing some mail.

>The answers to these questions might be of interest to others on the
>list so, if you have time to reply at all, you are welcome to do so to
>the list.

As I have... ;-)  Sorry if I've bored anyone, but running lists is
a Good Thing to know about (I run a couple others too), and ISPs
that do it well, and inexpensively, are scarce.  Esosoft is great.

>Thanks again.

Quite welcome... And a wish for a better year to come, for all of us!

Jeremy H. Griffith                        jeremy@omsys.com 
VP, Software Development             http://www.omsys.com/
Omni Systems, Inc.             California and Vermont, USA               

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