Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(June 1995)

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Subject: Re: Mailing lists on other mailing lists
From: Eric Thomas <ERIC @ SEARN . SUNET . SE>
Date: Thu, 29 Jun 1995 03:20:13 +0200
To: list-managers @ greatcircle . com
In-reply-to: Message of Wed, 28 Jun 95 16:37:29 TZ from list-managers-owner@GreatCircle.COM

On Wed, 28 Jun 95 16:37:29 TZ Benjamin Holz <> said:

>I figured this would be as easy  as placing the address of my local list
>on the external list however this would result in the same message being
>constantly sent back and forth. How  is the accomplished? Do you need to
>count on the mailing list software to know about circular references?

It depends on which software you are  using but in general you do need to
do something  to prevent a  loop and  avoid unwanted error  messages. For
instance, if you use LISTSERV and you  don't do anything, you won't get a
loop but for  each posting you'll get  an error message saying  this is a
duplicate of  a previous message  and maybe  something is wrong.  To make
things  work more  seriously you  would need  to "peer"  the lists.  Then
LISTSERV knows that  the two lists are  really the same thing  and it can
forward subscriptions to the closest available  peer and do the same with
commands like REVIEW, DELETE, etc.

The real  issue though is why  do you need  to do this? Peering  was used
heavily in  1986-88 to do load  balancing. Computers were slower  and the
US-Europe  backbone was  a  mesh of  two  9.6k lines,  of  which one  was
statistically always  down at any given  time :-( It could  easily take a
day  for mail  to  cross the  ocean. Then  DISTRIBUTE  was introduced  to
balance mail delivery whether you have a peer or not, and the network got
more reliable  so you didn't have  to worry about being  unable to access
the archives over  the weekend because both 9.6k lines  were down and the
people  who could  fix them  were taking  the kids  to the  park. Anyway,
nowadays most people just  run one big list. The lists  that you see with
many peers were  mostly created back when things were  done this way, and
people just left it as is.


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