Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(March 1999)

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Subject: Generic mailing list management system?
From: Jeremy Blackman <loki @ maison-otaku . net>
Date: Mon, 8 Mar 1999 23:04:36 -0800 (PST)
To: list-managers @ greatcircle . com

This is a project concept that's been being tossed around by people
involved with the mailing list software I write.  I'm curious if anyone
thinks it would be worthwhile (and if so, I'd invite them to help
contribute).  I think it would help the less technically-minded to admin
lists (and I do believe that requiring everyone to learn Listserv or
Majordomo administrative syntax is not the best solution in all cases).

After all, it's easier to teach people a new skill if they can reuse it
multiple places; a standard for remote administration of mailing list
would be fairly useful.

Any thoughts?
[reposted from listar-dev]

Heya.  I'm finally getting in gear on trying to get the MLMAP project
started, and I'd love to get some others involved.  I created a mailing
list for it (unsurprisingly, it's, and it can be
subscribed to in any of the usual manners, including mailing with subscribe mlmap), and a webpage section
(, though right now it merely contains the
little project charter (which is also the mailing list welcome text).

For those who are curious, and don't want to have to subscribe to the list
just to read what the heck MLMAP is, here's the little charter for the
project below.

Anyone wanna help? :)
MLMAP stands for 'Mailing List Management and Administration Protocol',
and is a protocol to allow a client (be it a standalone X11 or console
client, a Microsoft Outlook plugin, a Macintosh GUI application, or
whatever) to connect to an MLMAP server to perform list management
functions, without regard for what the software the list is running on is.

As the userbase of the Internet grows, a great many users with less
technical inclinations end up in charge of mailing or distribution lists,
and often end up having to call on others to help them administer them.
Not only would having a nice, clean client application help them in so
doing, it would also allow administrators to learn a single administration
interface and not have to worry if the list they're running is on
Majordomo, Smartlist, Listar, Mailman, L-Soft Listserv, or whatever.  Any
mailing list server which implements MLMAP could be administered via an
MLMAP client.  Perhaps MLMAP, if successful, could even be built into
later revisions of mail clients such as Pine or Mutt.

The goals of the MLMAP Project are:

* Design MLMAP in a way that is not tied to any one server.
  - This goal is the one we must be most careful with; keep in mind
    features that one server may have that another might not.  The
    MLMAP protocol must be general enough to allow both lists which
    have individual subscriber options (Listar, Listserv) and those
    which do not (Majordomo, Smartlist), for example.

* Write up a clear specification of the protocol, and submit it as
  an RFC
  - This is vitally important, in order to gain any sort of acceptance
    of the protocol as a 'standard' of any kind.

* Write at least one MLMAP client implementation.
  - This is, obviously, needed as proof-of-concept.  It could be
    a UNIX console app, a Win32 MFC app, an Outlook plugin, an X11
    app, or any number of those.

* Write an MLMAP server implementation.
  - This will probably be done for Listar, as the MLMAP project is
    connected to the Listar developers, and Listar is modular and 
    thus readily modified.
  - It would also not be a bad idea to write an MLMAP implementation
    for majordomo, as a widely-used MLM, to demonstrate further use.

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