Jerry Peek writes:
>I wonder if the answer is to come up with a translator program that
>translates a standard interface into commands that listserv, listproc
>and majordomo understand. (The masses of mailing lists at yggdrasil
>gave me this idea.) How about a central "subscription clearing house"
>site that accepts subscription requests, munges them into the right
>format for majordomo/listproc/listserv/whatever, and sends them on to
>the proper place?
I think Jerry's on the right track; and I think we already have two models
for how such a mechanism might work.
One of the functions of software systems such as gopher/mosaic/www is
to provide a standard interface into diverse underlying services.
These systems are becoming very successful because they provide a
common, single entry point into a complex web; they also do not exclude
direct access to a single service in that web by anyone knowledgeable
enough and motivated enough to find it.
Once upon a time, the entire Arpanet used a static copy of the hosts
table; when workstations proliferated, the number of hosts rose
dramatically, and DNS was put into service to alleviate the need for
every host to know every other host's address all the time.
Maybe a way to build a central "subscription clearing house" is to leave
out the "central" part: make it distributed, with information propagated
in much the same way DNS does. Provide a single entry point to
the entire system ("mailing-lists@<your-hostname-here>") that's
as ubiquitous as "postmaster". Instead of using IP as the transport
mechanism (as gopher et.al. do) move one step up the ladder and
use mail as the transport, since it has to be configured and working
correctly *anyway*. (And because this will allow the subscription
clearing house to be used by those people without IP connectivity.)
And at this point, I think I'll get some more coffee; I'm shooting
from the hip and I've just run out of bullets. :-)