>But the philosophy of the LISTSERV system is that ALL list servers
>are linked together, they share information on what lists are available.
>Majordomo, on the other hand, and SmartList, do not share this linking
>So there are these two philosophies about mailing lists, as reflected in these
>various software implementations.
I wouldn't read *too* much into the differing approaches. LISTSERV
grew up in the BITNET world; BITNET was a tree-structured network, in
which sites could only talk to their nearest neighbors. (Due to the
lack of a direct link, BITNET traffic between UKentucky and ULouisville
once traversed *8* sites!) Keep in mind, too, that BITNET did not use
routers _per se_; each site along the way had to actively process each
transaction. In that environment, it made perfect sense for the LISTSERVs
to communicate as peers; since every site was acting as a router for
someone else, this peered approach was far more effective than routing
all those individual requests across the net.
Over in the uucp and nascent TCP/IP Internet world, however, the picture
was different. It was a simple matter for a TCP/IP site (and even some
uucp sites) to connect directly to the destination site and drop the mail;
intermediate sites would not be bothered by this. Internet sites did not
face the traffic management problem suffered by BITNET; once placed on
the network, the routers - instead of the actual intermediate sites - han-
dled traffic flow. Given that environment, peering listservers would
actually *create* a middleman!
I don't perceive these differences as philosophical. I see them as the
natural reactions to the network topologies/technologies in use at the
time. For tree-structured BITNET, peering servers was a *HUGE* win; for
the TCP/IP Internet, peering would actually add steps to the process.
Each of these decisions was a no-brainer in terms of network load and
burden on participating sites.
It will be interesting to see how the LISTSERV model works out on the
TCP/IP Internet in the long term. Personally, I foresee the larger
lists benefitting from the peering approach; I don't know if smaller
lists will see *that* much of a windfall.