L-Soft international, Inc.


Site Manager's Operations Manual


LISTSERV®, version 14.5


23 February 2006

Initial Release





















The reference number of this document is 0603-MD-01.

Information in this document is subject to change without notice.  Companies, names and data used in examples herein are fictitious unless otherwise noted. L-Soft international, Inc. does not endorse or approve the use of any of the product names or trademarks appearing in this document.


Permission is granted to copy this document, at no charge and in its entirety, provided that the copies are not used for commercial advantage, that the source is cited and that the present copyright notice is included in all copies, so that the recipients of such copies are equally bound to abide by the present conditions. Prior written permission is required for any commercial use of this document, in whole or in part, and for any partial reproduction of the contents of this document exceeding 50 lines of up to 80 characters, or equivalent. The title page, table of contents and index, if any, are not considered to be part of the document for the purposes of this copyright notice, and can be freely removed if present.


The purpose of this copyright is to protect your right to make free copies of this manual for your friends and colleagues, to prevent publishers from using it for commercial advantage, and to prevent ill-meaning people from altering the meaning of the document by changing or removing a few paragraphs.



Copyright © 1996-2006 L-Soft international, Inc.

All Rights Reserved Worldwide.


L-SOFT, LISTSERV and LSMTP are registered trademarks of L-Soft international, Inc.

LMail is a trademark of L-Soft international.

EASE and CataList are service marks of L-Soft international, Inc.

UNIX is a registered trademark of X/Open Company Limited.

AIX and IBM are registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation.

Alpha AXP, Ultrix, OpenVMS and VMS are trademarks of Digital Equipment Corporation.

OSF/1 is a registered trademark of Open Software Foundation, Inc.

Microsoft is a registered trademark and Windows, Windows NT and Windows 95 are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation.

HP is a registered trademark of Hewlett-Packard Company.

Sun is a registered trademark of Sun Microsystems, Inc.

IRIX is a trademark of Silicon Graphics, Inc.

PMDF is a registered trademark of Innosoft International.

Pentium and Pentium Pro are registered trademarks of Intel Corporation.

All other trademarks, both marked and not marked, are the property of their respective owners.


All of L-Soft's manuals for LISTSERV are available in ascii-text format via LISTSERV and in popular word-processing formats via ftp.lsoft.com.  They are also available on the World Wide Web at the following URL:




L-Soft invites comment on its manuals. Please feel free to send your comments via e-mail to MANUALS@LSOFT.COM, and mention which manual you are commenting on. (However, please do not send support questions to this address.  See chapter 19 of this manual for appropriate support addresses.)


"Hot fix" revisions to this and other L-Soft manuals are posted as they are made to the master document, on the announcement-only mailing list:




A word about formatting: This manual was written in Microsoft Word 2000, and originally formatted to be printed on 8-1/2"x11" paper on an HP LaserJet 1000 series printer. When printing the manual on a different type of printer, or converting to a different word-processing program, it is highly likely that the formatting and pagination will change and it will be necessary to update the tables of contents and figures as well as the index prior to printing. The author has taken great pains to ensure that the pagination and formatting works properly with the particular printer mentioned above, and cannot be held responsible for what is, in the end, a limitation of the software used to produce the manual.



Reference Number 0603-MD-01


Table of Contents


Preface: LISTSERV Command Syntax and Other Conventions. 11

Editorial Note – New Version Numbering. 11

LISTSERV Command Syntax Conventions. 11

1. Who should read this book. 13

1.1. Changes and updates to the manual13

1.2. New documentation is coming!13

2. Differences Between Architectures and Implementations. 14

2.1. Differences between architectures. 14

2.2. Differences between LISTSERV and LISTSERV Lite. 15

2.3. Operating Systems and Architectures Supported. 16

3. Principles of Operation. 18

4. A LISTSERV How-To for Site Managers. 20

4.1. Installation/Startup Questions. 20

How do I install LISTSERV?. 20

Why do I need a DNS A record and a static IP number for my LISTSERV machine?. 20

Can LISTSERV read mail from POP mailboxes?. 20

How do I install the web archive/administration interface?. 20

How do I start LISTSERV?. 20

How do I stop LISTSERV?. 20

4.2. Initial configuration. 21

How do I add, change, and delete LISTSERV Maintainers (aka postmasters)?. 21

How do I create passwords for postmasters, and what are they used for?. 21

How do I make my first list?. 22

How do I delete a list?. 22

Does LISTSERV have a GUI interface?. 22

5. Configuring your LISTSERV® site. 23

5.1. Site configuration files. 23

5.2. What can be configured?. 23

5.3. Files used by LISTSERV.. 29

5.4. Installing and configuring LISTSERV's WWW Archive and Administration Interface  34

5.4.1. The WWW Archive Interface described. 35

5.4.2. The WWW Administration Interface described. 36

5.4.3. Installing a web server36

5.4.4. Installing the web archive interface script37

5.4.5. Creating a subdirectory for the archive interface. 38

5.4.6. Configuring LISTSERV to activate the web archive interface. 39

5.4.7. Customizing the web pages LISTSERV creates. 39

5.4.8. Enabling individual lists. 40

5.4.9. Enabling web-based bulk operations. 42

5.5. The "spam" detector and anti-subscription-"spoofing" feature. 42

5.5.1. Spam quarantine. 42

5.5.2. "Anonymous" spam alerts. 43

5.5.3. Subscription anti-spoofing feature. 43

5.6. Server Registration. 44

5.6.1. Registering LISTSERV Classic Servers. 44

5.6.2. The LISTSERV backbone. 45

5.6.3. Automatic Registration for LISTSERV Lite Servers. 46

5.7. Inter-server Updates. 46

5.8. Setting up archive and notebook directories for use with LISTSERV.. 47

5.9. DBMS and Mail Merge Functions. 47

5.10. Synonymous host name registration via ALIASES NAMES.. 48

5.11. Real-Time Anti-Virus Scanning. 48

6. LISTSERV Commands. 50

6.1. General Commands. 50

6.1.1. List subscription commands (from most to least important)50

6.1.2. Other list-related commands. 55

6.1.3. Informational commands. 58

6.1.4. Commands related to file server and web functions. 59

6.1.5. Other (advanced) commands. 62

6.2. List Owner and File Owner Commands. 65

6.2.1. File management commands (for file owners only)65

6.2.2. List management functions. 66

6.3. LISTSERV Maintainer Commands. 69

6.4. Sending commands to LISTSERV.. 72

6.5. Defining Personal Passwords. 73

7. Creating and Maintaining Lists. 74

7.1. Basic list creation. 74

7.2. Architecture-Specific Steps for List Creation. 76

7.2.1. Unix: Creating required Sendmail aliases. 76

7.2.2. OpenVMS: Creating required PMDF aliases. 77

7.3. A sample checklist for creating lists. 78

7.4. Naming Conventions. 79

7.5. List Header Keywords and what they do. 81

7.6. Retrieving and editing the list – some considerations. 81

7.7. Adding a list password (obsolete since 1.8c)83

7.8. Storing a modified list on the host machine. 84

7.9. Fixing mistakes. 84

7.10. A sample list header file. 85

7.11. Deleting a list85

7.12. Adding HTML to a list header for the CataList86

7.12.1. Update latency. 87

7.12.2. Inserting a pointer to another list87

7.12.3. Restrictions on the placement of equal signs. 87

7.13. How to set up lists for specific purposes. 88

7.13.1. Public discussion lists. 88

7.13.2. Private discussion lists. 89

7.13.3. Edited lists. 89

7.13.4. Moderated lists. 91

7.13.5. Semi-moderated lists. 93

7.13.6. Self-moderated lists. 93

7.13.7.  Private edited/moderated lists. 93

7.13.8. Auto-responders. 94

7.13.9. Announce-only lists. 95

7.13.10.  Restricted subscription lists with automatically-generated questionnaire. 95

7.13.11. Peered lists. 97

7.13.12. "Super-lists" and "sub-lists"100

7.13.13. "Cloning" lists. 101

7.14. Merging existing LISTSERV lists. 103

7.14.1. Merging list A into list B; list A user options not preserved. 103

7.14.2. Merging list A into list B; list A user options preserved. 103

7.14.3. Merging list A and list B into list C.. 104

7.15. Migrating lists from one site to another104

7.15.1. Migrating lists from one LISTSERV site to another LISTSERV site. 105

7.15.2. Migrating lists from non-LISTSERV sites. 106

7.15.3. Migrating lists from Sendmail alias files, databases, etc.107

7.16. Changing the name of an existing list108

7.17. Bulk operations (ADD and DELETE)109

7.17.1. Bulk ADD operations. 109

7.17.2. Bulk DELETE operations. 110

7.18. Content filtering. 110

7.19. DomainKeys Message Signing (14.5)113

8. File and Notebook Archives. 114

8.1. What is the file archive?. 114

8.2. Starting a file archive for your list114

8.3. Filelist maintenance (VM systems only)115

8.3.1. VM only: Creating a filelist115

8.3.2. VM only: Adding FAC codes. 115

8.3.3. VM only: Retrieving the filelist115

8.3.4. VM only: Adding file descriptors to the filelist116

8.3.5. VM only: File Access Codes (FAC) for user access. 117

8.3.6. VM only: Deleting file descriptors from the filelist117

8.3.7. VM only: Storing the filelist117

8.4. The listname.CATALOG system on non-VM systems. 118

8.4.1. Adding files to the SITE.CATALOG.. 119

8.4.2. Delegating file management authority. 120

8.4.3. Creating a sub-catalog. 120

8.4.4. Updating the sub-catalog. 121

8.4.5. Indexing the sub-catalog. 122

8.5. Storing files on the host machine. 122

8.6. Deleting files from the host machine. 123

8.7. Automatic File Distribution (AFD) and File Update Information (FUI)124

8.8. File "Packages". 125

8.9. Where to find more information on File Archives. 126

8.10. Notebook Archives. 126

8.10.1. Setting up notebook archives for a list126

8.10.2. Migrating old notebook archives to a new site (LISTSERV to LISTSERV)127

8.10.3. Migrating old notebook archives (non-LISTSERV to LISTSERV)127

8.10.4. Deleting old notebook archives. 129

8.10.5. Indexing existing notebook archives. 129

9. Creating and Editing LISTSERV's Mail and Web Templates. 130

9.1. What LISTSERV uses templates for130

9.2. The default  template  files and how to get copies. 130

9.3. Mail template format and embedded formatting commands. 130

9.3.1. 8-bit characters in templates. 135

9.4. Creating and editing a <listname>.MAILTPL file for a list135

9.4.1. The INFO template form.. 136

9.4.2. Other available template forms. 137

9.4.3. Tips for using templates. 141

9.5. Storing the <listname>.MAILTPL file on the host machine. 142

9.6. Other template files:  DIGEST-H and INDEX-H.. 142

9.7. Templates and template forms for the WWW interface. 143

9.7.1. Forms contained in DEFAULT MAILTPL. 143

9.7.2. The www_archive.mailtpl file (optional)144

9.7.3. The default.wwwtpl file. 144

9.7.4. The site.wwwtpl file (optional)147

9.7.5. National language template files (idiom.mailtpl) (optional)147

9.7.6. Template precedence. 148

9.8. Using the DAYSEQ(n) function. 149

9.8.1. Rotating bottom banner149

9.8.2. Rotating FAQ via the PROBE1 template and "Renewal= xx-Daily"150

9.8.3. Calculating the value for DAYSEQ()150

9.9. Serving up custom web pages for your list151

9.9.1. A practical example:  ADMIN_POST. 151

9.10. Modifying the output of LISTSERV's HELP command (non-VM)153

9.11. The $SITE$.MAILTPL file. 154

10. Interpreting and Managing LISTSERV's log files. 156

10.1. Logs kept by LISTSERV.. 156

10.2. Managing the logs. 156

10.3. Interpreting the LISTSERV log. 157

10.3.1. Expiring cookies. 157

10.3.2. Releasing and reallocating a disk slot158

10.3.3. Reindexing a list158

10.3.4. Distributing a digest158

10.3.5. Daily error monitoring reports. 159

10.3.6. Processing  mail for local lists. 159

10.3.7. Administrative mail (X-ADMMAIL)160

10.3.8. DISTRIBUTE jobs from remote hosts. 160

10.3.9. Requesting "OK" confirmation for commands. 160

10.3.10. Subscription summary updates (SUPD jobs)161

10.3.11. Global list of lists updates (LUPD jobs)161

10.3.12. Valid "OK" confirmation received. 162

10.3.13. Invalid "OK" confirmation received. 163

10.3.14. User is already subscribed to a given list163

10.3.15. User has included non-command text (e.g., a .sig file) in his mail to LISTSERV  163

10.3.16. Response to list owner or LISTSERV maintainer commands. 164

10.3.17. Response to a user who tries to post to a held list (or one for which PRIMETIME is in effect)164

10.3.18. Command forwarded via GLX from another host164

10.3.19. Netwide DELETE (X-DEL jobs)164

10.3.20. FIOC cache notifications. 164

10.3.21. Web archive/administration interface logging (starting with 1.8d)165

10.3.22. X-SPAM jobs. 165

10.3.23. X-TBREG jobs. 166

10.3.24. Responses to LVMON@VM.SE.LSOFT.COM.. 166

10.3.25. MIME parser messages (1.8e)167

10.3.26. Content filter rejection message (1.8e)168

10.4. Interpreting the SMTP logs (Windows servers only)168

10.5. Interpreting the SMTP "worker" log entries (non-VM only)169

10.6. Change logs. 170

10.7. Using LISTSERV logs and SHOW CTR to extract server statistics. 171

10.7.1. Sample log-processing scripts. 171

10.7.2. Interpreting the output of SHOW CTR.. 174

10.8. Using the system changelog to track distributions. 176

10.9. Logging changelog information to a DBMS.. 177

11. Using the Web Adminstration Interface. 179

11.1. Default LISTSERV Home Page. 179

11.2. Logging in. 179

11.3. Setting a LISTSERV password. 180

11.4. The List Management main page. 181

11.5. Maintaining subcriptions via the web. 182

11.5.1. Examine or delete a subscription. 183

11.5.2. Add a new user to the list185

11.6. Maintaining the list header via the web. 185

11.7. Customizing how a list's pages look. 186

11.8. Maintaining mail and WWW templates via the web. 186

11.9. Bulk operations via the web. 187

11.10. Sending interactive commands via the web. 189

11.11. Mail merge. 189

11.12. Server administration interface. 189

12. Distribution Features and Functions. 191

12.1. Controlling the default level of acknowledgement to user postings. 191

12.2. Controlling the maximum number of postings per day. 191

12.2.1. Controlling total postings to the list per day. 191

12.2.2. Controlling the number of postings per day from individual users. 191

12.3. Controlling "prime" time. 191

12.4. "Holding" and "freeing" a list193

12.4.1. Automatic list holds. 193

12.4.2. Manual list holds. 193

12.5. Controlling the list digest feature. 194

12.6. Setting up list topics. 194

12.7. Allowing/Blocking MIME Attachments. 195

13. Error Handling Features and Functions. 197

13.1. Defining list-level error handling addresses. 197

13.2. The auto-deletion feature. 197

13.3. LISTSERV's loop detection feature. 198

13.3.1. The anti-spamming filter198

13.4. RFC822 mail header parsing. 199

13.5. Address Probing. 200

13.5.1. Active address probing. 200

13.5.2. Passive address probing. 201

13.5.3. OS-specific issues with probing. 202

13.6. Defining server-level error handling addresses. 202

13.6.1. BOUNCES_TO=. 202

13.6.2. Crash reports and CRASH_MONITOR=. 203

14. List Maintenance and Moderation Features and Functions. 205

14.1. Setting up edited/moderated mailing lists. 205

14.2. Restricting the size of messages posted to the list206

14.3. Restricting the number of posts per user per day. 206

14.4. Moving a list to a new location: the New-List= keyword. 206

15. Security Features and Functions. 208

15.1. First line of defense:  The VALIDATE= keyword. 208

15.2. Controlling subscription requests. 209

15.3. Controlling the service area of the list209

15.4. Controlling who may review the list of subscribers. 210

15.5. Controlling who may access the notebook files. 210

15.6. Controlling who may post mail to the list211

15.7. The "OK" confirmation mechanism.. 212

15.7.1. Explicitly cancelling "OK" cookies (1.8e)214

15.8. Denying Service to Problem Users. 214

15.8.1. The "Filter=" list header keyword. 214

15.8.2. The "FILTER_ALSO" configuration file variable. 215

15.8.3  The "SERVE" command. 215

15.8.4. The POST_FILTER list exit point215

15.9. Hiding selected header lines. 216

15.10. Tracking subscription changes with the Change-Log keyword. 216

16. Subscription Features and Functions. 217

16.1. Setting up subscription confirmation. 217

16.2. Defining default options for subscribers at subscription time. 217

16.3. Setting up subscription renewal218

17. Other Features and Functions. 220

17.1. Setting up national language mail templates. 220

17.2. Translating control characters included in list mail220

17.3. Communicating with list owners. 220

17.3.1. The listname-REQUEST alias. 220

17.3.2. The ALL-REQUEST alias. 221

17.3.3. Configuration required for unix servers and VMS servers running PMDF. 221

17.3.4. Other aliases used by LISTSERV. 222

18. Special Functionality for ISP's. 223

18.1. Directory quotas for individual lists. 223

18.1.1. The QUOTA.FILE.. 223

18.1.2. Displaying quota information. 223

18.1.3. Reloading quota information after making changes. 224

18.2. Limiting the number of subscribers to a list224

19. Contacting L-Soft225

19.1. Support225

19.2. Sales. 225

19.3. Manuals. 225

Appendix A:    Command Reference Card for LISTSERV® version 14.5  226

Appendix B:    List Keyword Reference for LISTSERV® version 14.5  234

Appendix C: Site Configuration Keyword Reference for LISTSERV® 14.5  295

Appendix D: Sample Boilerplate Files. 389

Appendix E: Related Documentation and Support393

Appendix F: Revision History. 395

Index. 396


List of Tables and Figures


Table 5.1. LISTSERV site configuration variables. 23

Figure 6.1. Sample output of an INDEX listname command.56

Figure 7.1. A sample list header.74

Figure 7.2. A sample list header file for a list called MYLIST.85

Figure 7.3. The edited list header file ready to be sent back to the server.85

Figure 8.1. Sample filelist retrieved with (CTL option.116

Figure 8.2. Adding a file descriptor to the filelist117

Figure 8.3. This output will appear either if an attempt is made to change "Notebook= No" to "Notebook= Yes", or if an attempt is made to change the location where notebook archives are stored on the server, by anyone who is not a LISTSERV maintainer.127

Figure 9.1. The default contents of the INFO template form of DEFAULT.MAILTPL.136

Figure 9.2. Sample edited INFO template form.136

Figure 9.3. Typical contents of a DIGEST-H or INDEX-H file.142

Figure 9.4. Sample DIGEST output for a list with a DIGEST-H file. The INDEX-H output would be similar, following the list of postings.143

Figure 10.1. Sample CLEANLOG.REXX script for managing LISTSERV's log files. This particular script runs under Regina REXX on Windows NT or 95.157

Figure 10.2. Typical SMTP log for the SMTPL.EXE "listener"169

Figure 10.3. Typical SMTPS log for the SMTPW.EXE SMTP "workers"169

Figure 13.1. A typical daily error monitoring report.198

Figure 13.2. Sample RFC822 parser error.200

Figure 15.1. The editor-header for a list set to Send= Editor,Hold. 211

Figure 15.2. A typical command confirmation request.213

Figure 16.1. Typical daily subscription renewal monitoring report.219

Figure 18.1. Typical output of a SHOW QUOTA command issued by privileged user224

Table B.1. LISTSERV list-level commands and how they are affected by Validate=.281


Preface: LISTSERV Command Syntax and Other Conventions


Editorial Note – New Version Numbering


With this release, L-Soft is aligning LISTSERV’s version numbering with the rest of the e-mail industry. There have been 50 released versions of LISTSERV since 1986 – 14 major upgrades and 36 minor releases. Version 1.8e in the “traditional” numbering system corresponds to 14.0, and the present update to 14.5.


Because the old nomenclature is more familiar to our users, in this version of the documentation we will continue to refer to versions of LISTSERV inferior to version 14.4 by the old versioning system.


LISTSERV Command Syntax Conventions


Generally, parameters used in this document can consist of 1 to 8 characters from the following set:


A-Z 0-9 $#@+-_: 


Deviations from this include:



Netdata, Card, Disk, Punch, LPunch, UUencode, XXencode, VMSdump, MIME/text, MIME/Appl, Mail


first_name [middle_initial] surname (not your e-mail address).  Must consist of at least two space-separated words, for example, "John Doe".


name of an existing list


Either: the fully-qualified domain name (FQDN) of an Internet host; or the BITNET nodeid or Internet hostname of a BITNET machine which has taken care of supplying an ':internet' tag in its BITEARN NODES entry;


Generally the same as node, but normally refers specificallly to the fully-qualified domain name (FQDN) of an Internet host rather than to a BITNET nodeid.


a password containing characters from the set:  A-Z 0-9 $#@_-?!|%


Any valid RFC822 network address not longer than 80 characters; if omitted, the 'hostname' part defaults to that of the command originator


Similar to userid, but specifically refers to a complete RFC822 network address in userid@fqdn format.  When we use this nomenclature a fully-qualified hostname is required.


Other deviations from the standard set will be noted along with the affected commands.


Also please note the following conventions for representing variable or optional parameters:


italic type

always indicates required parameter names that must be replaced by appropriate data when sending commands to LISTSERV

< >

Angle brackets may sometimes enclose required parameter names that must be replaced by appropriate data when sending commands to LISTSERV. Sometimes used for clarity when italic type is inappropriate

[ ]

Square brackets enclose optional parameters which, if used, must be replaced by appropriate data when sending commands to LISTSERV


1. Who should read this book


This manual makes the following assumptions:


·         You are a system administrator of a VM, VMS, unix, Windows NT/2000/XP/2003 or Windows 95/98/Me system (or in any case, a person with root- or system-level administrative privileges) whose assignment it is to be the LISTSERV maintainer;

·         You have already installed the current version of L-Soft’s LISTSERV on your system in accordance with the installation instructions that come with the package, and have it running;

·         You have sufficient knowledge (or know where to find it) of your system mailer to fine-tune it without needing instructions from this manual.


In other words, we expect you already to be knowledgeable about the system on which you plan to install and run LISTSERV. This manual does not contain installation instructions; individual installation guides for the four general types of operating systems supported by L-Soft can be found at http://www.lsoft.com/manuals .


L-Soft international’s LISTSERV software is designed to run on various platforms that have widely-differing configurations. Therefore it is not within the scope of this manual to describe in detail (for instance) how you can tune sendmail 8.7.3 under Linux for optimum performance with LISTSERV. However, general tips that could work on all systems will be offered within these pages.


Overall you will find that LISTSERV works much the same way on a unix workstation or a VMS minicomputer or an Intel Pentium machine running Windows 2000 as it has since 1986 on VM mainframes. Where LISTSERV procedures do differ between platforms, we will detail those differences in order to minimize confusion.


1.1. Changes and updates to the manual


When we find a mistake in the manual, or when between-release features are added, we normally report changes to the manual to the announce-only mailing list LISTSERV-DEVELOPERS@PEACH.EASE.LSOFT.COM , provided as a free service for our customers.


Other changes are documented in the Revision History, found in Appendix F.


1.2. New documentation is coming!


L-Soft has committed to the production of completely new documentation for the LISTSERV product.  The new documentation is targeted to become available with LISTSERV 15 (no release date has been set).

2. Differences Between Architectures and Implementations


This chapter outlines differences between how LISTSERV is implemented on VM and non-VM machines, and the differences between LISTSERV and LISTSERV Lite.


2.1. Differences between architectures


In version 14, LISTSERV running under VM continues to differ in some regards from its counterparts on the other architectures. Here is a short list of these differences:


·         VM: The web interface is not available.

·         VM: Rotating change-logs are not available.


·         Non-VM: Only a subset of the VM file server functions are available

·         Non-VM: Certain rarely-used commands (e.g., STATS listname) are not available

·         Non-VM: FUI (File Update Information) and AFD (Automatic File Distribution) are not available


Note that LISTSERV 14 running on non-VM systems actually has about 98% of the functionality of the VM version, and nearly 100% of the functionality that people actually use day-to-day.


The File Server


There are actually two different file server systems in operation across the LISTSERV network. One is the original version running on VM, which includes the ability to create "filelists" (indexes) which point in turn to more files which can be stored on the server, and the AFD and FUI functions mentioned above. This file server system, while still quite powerful and easy to use, is unfortunately written in a non-portable language, making a complete rewrite from the beginning a necessity. There has been no change in the VM file server from 1.8b through 1.8e (and subsequently 14.x).


The second file server system currently in operation runs on the VMS, unix, and Windows ports of LISTSERV. This is in essence still a subset of the old system in which the LISTSERV maintainer creates entries in a SITE.CATALOG file for each file that will be made available to users. With the release of 1.8c, it became possible for the LISTSERV maintainer to create sub-catalogs, which can be maintained by list owners or other responsible people. 1.8d added the GIVE command and the ability to create file "packages" to the non-VM versions. For more information, please see chapter 8 of this manual.


L-Soft is still developing LISTSERV's file server, which will eventually include a super-set of the original VM file server command set. Complete details are not available as of this writing, but pains are being taken to ensure that the most common commands will not change along the development path. This will help to keep a great deal of existing documentation that has been passed along the Internet from becoming obsolete overnight. The fully-developed file server is scheduled to include AFD (Automatic File Distribution) and FUI (File Update Information) in addition to other new functionality.


The WWW List Archive and List Management Interface


In Version 1.8c, a web-enabled List Archive Interface was introduced.  In 1.8d, the interface was expanded to include list and site management features.  The interface as been significantly rewritten for version 1.8e and is fully documented in chapter 11 of this manual. The web interface continues to be unavailable on VM but is available on all other platforms on which the software runs.


Year 2000 Compliance


Year 2000 compliance is addressed in L-Soft's Year 2000 Compliance FAQ, which can be viewed at http://www.lsoft.com/corporate/default.asp?item=y2k .


2.2. Differences between LISTSERV and LISTSERV Lite


LISTSERV Lite is LISTSERV running with a special license activation key (LAK) which limits what you can do with the software. With the Free Edition of LISTSERV Lite (activated by a LAK which is both free and perpetual), you can run up to 10 mailing lists as long as you do not derive a profit from this activity. You can also purchase LISTSERV Lite LAKs that allow more (or unlimited) lists.


However, note carefully that LISTSERV Lite does not have all of the functionality of the full, Classic version--a list of the keywords and functions disabled in LISTSERV Lite follows this paragraph. For more information on the exact terms and conditions under which you may run LISTSERV Lite, please see L-Soft's World Wide Web site or contact L-Soft's sales department.


LISTSERV Classic Keywords disabled in LISTSERV Lite



































Note: the fact that the keyword is disabled only means that the default value cannot be changed. For instance, loop checking is still present, you just cannot control the details of its operation. On the other hand, if the default value is that the function in question is disabled (as is the case with "Peers="), then the function is actually gone. See Appendix B for more information on keyword defaults.


A feature comparison chart follows on the next page.


Comparison chart: LISTSERV Lite vs. LISTSERV Classic


(Version numbers in parenthesis indicate version in which the feature first became available, starting with LISTSERV 1.8d)





Moderated lists



Moderation sharing






Peered lists



Topics (up to 23 different topics per list)



Validate keyword (provides security)



Filter keyword (screens mail)



Spam detector



Spam filter



Customization of mail templates

List based

Site based


Yes, full featured

Yes, not full featured

Probe (never see a bounce again!)



List exits



Networked mode



Subscription options:

·         RENEW

·         EDITOR

·         REVIEW

·         NOPOST

All other LISTSERV subscription options















File server functions

Yes, hierarchical

Yes, non-hierarchical

Database (archive search) functions



WWW archive interface

Yes, with search interface

Yes, but no search functions

WWW administration interface (1.8d)



DBMS/Mail Merge functions (1.8d)



Anti-Virus scanning feature (Windows NT/2000 and Linux only) (1.8e)

Yes (requires special LAK and special AV software package; contact your sales representative for details)


Message content filtering (1.8e)




(*) The probe feature does not work with all MTAs (mail servers), or may only work with recent enough versions.


(**) Networked and Standalone RUNMODEs are not available in the Free Edition of LISTSERV Lite, but are available in the commercial version of LISTSERV Lite.


2.3. Operating Systems and Architectures Supported


LISTSERV 1.8e (14) is the last version for several operating systems which have become obsolescent over the life of this product cycle. The operating systems which will no longer be supported after this version are:


Windows NT 4.0 SP6/6a (see note!)

Windows 95/98/Me

BSDi (Intel)


Solaris-x86 (Intel)


(Note:  Windows NT 4.0 is no longer supported as of LISTSERV 14.3)


Sites running these operating systems should start planning now for a migration to a different operating system. Please contact your sales representative for further information.


Sites running the Windows 95 shareware should note that their licenses will not activate the product under Windows XP. Please contact your sales representative for alternatives if you are planning to upgrade to Windows XP (optionally you may migrate to the LISTSERV Lite Free Edition). Sites running the Windows 95 Lite Free Edition can simply upgrade to the Windows NT/2000/XP LISTSERV Lite Free Edition. (Naturally you may also elect to continue running LISTSERV under Windows 95/98/Me, but there will be no further new versions or fixes for that platform.)


It should be noted that L-Soft dropped support for the following operating systems with the original release of LISTSERV 1.8e (14) (in other words, LISTSERV 13 or 1.8d was the last version for these platforms):


Windows NT 3.5, 3.51, 4.0 pre-SP6 (Intel)

Windows NT (Alpha AXP)

SunOS 4.x (SPARC)

Ultrix (MIPS)




On the plus side, L-Soft now formally supports FreeBSD (Intel) and Linux (S/390) in LISTSERV 1.8e (14).


A comprehensive list of operating systems (and versions) under which LISTSERV is supported can be found at




3. Principles of Operation


LISTSERV® is software that allows you to create, manage and control electronic "mailing lists" on a corporate network or on the Internet. Since its inception in 1986 for IBM mainframes on the BITNET academic network, LISTSERV has been continually improved and expanded to become the predominant system in use today. LISTSERV is now available for VM, OpenVMS, unixand the Windows NT "family" (including NT 4.0 SP6 and later, and Windows 2000).


Consider for a moment what the users of your electronic mail system actually use electronic mail for. Do they discuss problems and issues that face your organization, down to the departmental level? In an academic setting, do your faculty and students communicate via electronic mail? As with "real world" distribution lists, electronic mailing lists can make it possible for people to confer in a painless manner via the written word. The electronic mail software simply replaces the copying machine, with its associated costs, delays and frustrations. In fact, electronic mail lists are easier to use than most modern copiers, and a lot less likely to jam at just the worst possible moment.


Because electronic mail is delivered in a matter of seconds, or occasionally minutes, electronic mailing lists can do a lot more than supplement the traditional paper distribution lists. In some cases, an electronic mailing list can replace a conference call. Even when a conference call is more suitable, the electronic mailing list can prove a powerful tool for the distribution of papers, figures and other material needed in preparation for the conference call. And, when the call is over, it can be used to distribute a summary of the discussion and the decisions that were made. What before might have been an exchange of views between two or three people can now become an ongoing conference on the issue or problem at hand. Announcement lists and even refereed electronic journals can be made available to your audience, which can be as small as a few people or as large as the entire Internet community.


LISTSERV accomplishes its design goals very efficiently and very quickly. This is due primarily to its use of the proprietary DISTRIBUTE algorithm (described in RFC1429, and in the Developer's Guide for LISTSERV, available separately) and to the large (and growing) network of LISTSERV servers.


The LISTSERV network of servers helps to enhance LISTSERV's performance by providing a "backbone" through which large quantities of mail can be quickly distributed. The backbone also allows LISTSERV servers to "talk" to each other and exchange information. Among other things, this exchange of information between servers allows your own local server to participate in the global List of Lists service and L-Soft's CataList service on the World Wide Web (just point a web browser at http://www.lsoft.com/catalist.htmlto use the CataList service).


LISTSERV's nature as a distributed network of interconnected servers also makes it possible to identify and eliminate unsolicited advertisements sent to multiple lists (known colloquially as "spams") before they do much harm. While it is virtually impossible for a small isolated server to detect a spam (unless the sender listed the thousands of lists he was targeting in the "To:" field), for the simple reason that it will only ever receive a few copies for its own public lists, the LISTSERV network as a whole receives thousands of copies of the spam. By comparing notes with each other, the servers can quickly determine that a spam is occurring and raise a network-wide "spamming alert", stopping the message before it does much damage at all. Since the introduction of LISTSERV's anti-spam technology in version 1.8b, the growing number of sites that are participating in the anti-spamming warnings have virtually stopped the distribution of such messages in their tracks. L-Soft's developers are constantly upgrading and refining the anti-spam algorithms, to the effect that LISTSERV version 1.8e has an even better anti-spam filter than before.


In addition to the anti-spamming filter, LISTSERV also incorporates an anti-spoofing filter, to keep mischevious (and often malicious) users from subscribing other users to mailing lists in order to "mailbomb" them.


LISTSERV makes it possible for you to offer the same mailing list in four different formats:


·         Individual mail messages sent out as they are processed

·         Digest mode, where a compendium of messages processed by the list is sent at specified intervals

·         Indexed mode, where an index consisting of the message number, sender, and the subject line of each message is sent each day, along with instructions on how to retrieve postings from the server

·         Users can read, search, and respond to postings via LISTSERV's Web Archive Interface.


These modes are set by sending SET commands to LISTSERV.  Unlike some other mailing list management systems, LISTSERV does not require the user to unsubscribe from one version of the list and resubscribe to another just to change delivery modes.


LISTSERV includes database search capability for list archive notebooks. A fast reverse indexing feature is available for servers running lists with large archives. Users can use a simple search syntax to comb list archives for specific terms of interest. And L-Soft provides a World Wide Web archive interface (not currently available on VM for technical reasons unrelated to LISTSERV itself) with which the notebook archives for all public lists can be viewed and searched from a web browser. The new WWW interface differs from (and has advantages over) "hypermail" style web archiving in that new postings are shown as soon as they are received; postings can be organized in a manner that best suits the reader; there is no duplication of effort, as the LISTSERV WWW interface works from the list’s notebook archives rather than creating a separate HTML file for each posting; and the list owner can customize the main page for their list by simply modifying their mail template file.


LISTSERV also includes a number of list and server management functions in its WWW interface, including the ability to edit list headers and associated mail and WWW templates, and to manage subscribers via the Web. These features have been substantially rewritten in LISTSERV 1.8e.  See chapter 11 of this manual for details.


Since Version 1.8d LISTSERV has also contained DBMS and mail-merge support. These features are documented in the Developer's Guide for LISTSERV, available separately.


New in LISTSERV 1.8e is an Anti-Virus Scanning feature for messages passing through the server.  This is a value-added enhancement which requires a special LAK and a special version of F-Secure Anti-Virus.  At this writing the feature is only available for Windows NT/2000 and Linux servers running LISTSERV Classic or LISTSERV Classic HPO.  (Other OS platforms may be supported in the future; there is no intent to make this functionality available in the Lite version of the product.)


Many other enhancements have been introduced in 1.8e. Please see the release notes for complete details at http://www.lsoft.com/manuals/index.html.


4. A LISTSERV How-To for Site Managers


This how-to section is not intended to replace the LISTSERV FAQs available from L-Soft's documentation web site (http://www.lsoft.com/manuals).  It is an attempt to bring together certain basic operations and how to accomplish them in one place.  However, note that some of these how-to answers will redirect you to existing external documentation or to other sections of this manual in order to avoid duplication of effort.


4.1. Installation/Startup Questions


How do I install LISTSERV?


Installation guides are available on the web and are also shipped in the version-specific installation kits.  You can read the guides on the web at




Why do I need a DNS A record and a static IP number for my LISTSERV machine?


The best analogy is to consider why you need to put a return address on a piece of postal mail that you expect someone to respond to (or to be returned to you if the person you are trying to reach no longer lives at the address you have for him). In order for people to be able to send mail to your server, it must have a "street address" so that the "postman" can deliver mail to it, and that "street address" must be known to the "post office" so that mail can be properly routed. The DNS A record tells the world where your LISTSERV machine is located by both its name (eg LISTSERV.EXAMPLE.COM) and its IP address, so that other mail machines on the Internet can correctly route mail to it. If the IP address is not static, in other words if it changes every time you dial up, or whenever you disconnect and reconnect your DSL service, it is not possible to add an A record for it to DNS.  This is why both a static IP address and a DNS A record are required in order for LISTSERV to work properly.


Can LISTSERV read mail from POP mailboxes?


No.  LISTSERV is designed to work with SMTP mail servers and is not able to read POP mailboxes.


How do I install the web archive/administration interface?


Please see either your version-specific installation guide or chapter 5.4, below.


How do I start LISTSERV?


This is version specific and documented in the version-specific installation guides.


How do I stop LISTSERV?


The supported method is to send e-mail from your POSTMASTER= address to LISTSERV@your server with the command


STOP PW=createpw


in the body of the message, where "createpw" is the CREATEPW= value from your site configuration file.


Under Windows NT and later, assuming that LISTSERV is running as a system service (which is the recommended method), you can also stop LISTSERV from the Control Panel/Services applet, or by issuing a NET STOP LISTSERV command from a DOS prompt (both of these assume that you are logged into the machine with administrative privileges).


Under unix, it is possible to stop LISTSERV by issuing a 'kill -TERM' command on the PID found in $LSVSPOOL/listserv.PID .  However, this is not 100% guaranteed to kill all of the existing 'lsv' processes which may be running at the time (for instance you may end up with zombie processes left over from web interface queries), so L-Soft recommends that the e-mail method using the STOP command as documented above be used in preference to the 'kill -TERM' method from a shell prompt.  It is vital that all 'lsv' processes be stopped before restarting LISTSERV, as the web interface may not properly re-initialize if this is not done.


LISTSERV also stops automatically when the system is rebooted.


4.2. Initial configuration


How do I add, change, and delete LISTSERV Maintainers (aka postmasters)?


LISTSERV Maintainers are defined by their e-mail addresses in the site configuration file, by setting the site configuration variable POSTMASTER=. This is normally done by opening the site configuration file in a text editor (never in a word processor or other non-flat-ASCII editor) and changing the value in the variable, then saving the file and stopping and restarting LISTSERV.


Windows sites can alternatively use the SITE.EXE configuration GUI to make these changes, but must also stop and restart LISTSERV after making the change.


Note carefully that the syntax for the POSTMASTER= variable (like all other site configuration variables) differs from one OS platform to another.  See Appendix C of this manual for OS-specific syntax examples.


How do I create passwords for postmasters, and what are they used for?


LISTSERV Maintainers use two different passwords, depending on the particular commands they are attempting to authenticate.


When creating a list by the e-mail method, or when using the PWC privileged password-management command, a LISTSERV maintainer must use the password set in the CREATEPW= site configuration variable.


All other commands (as well as list PUT operations performed on a list after the list is created, for example, to modify the list header) are authenticated by the personal password associated with the LISTSERV maintainer's e-mail address.  This password can be created in one of two ways:


·         Via the web interface, where a clickable password creation link will appear when you try to log in for the first time; or


·         Via mail, by using the PW ADD command documented elsewhere in this manual.


Note that some mailing list commands do not always require password authentication, depending on the setting of the Validate= list header keyword for the list in question.  See Appendix B for more information on how the various Validate= settings affect command authentication.


How do I make my first list?


Please see chapter 7.1, below.


How do I delete a list?


There is no LISTSERV command to delete a list.  This was a design decision taken very early on in LISTSERV's history, for both security reasons and to avoid accidental deletion of lists. Please see chapter 7.11, below for a procedure for deleting lists.


Does LISTSERV have a GUI interface?


LISTSERV's GUI interface is its web administration/archive interface.  Many site-level and most list-level functions can be accessed via the web interface.





5. Configuring your LISTSERV® site


Please note that this manual is not intended to replace the individual installation manuals for LISTSERV on the various platforms supported by L-Soft. This is because the installation procedures vary radically from platform to platform and this manual is intended to assist LISTSERV maintainers on operational LISTSERV sites. The installation guides for all platforms are included in the software distributions, and are also available on L-Soft's World Wide Web and FTP sites.


For the purposes of this chapter, therefore, it is assumed that you have already installed LISTSERV on your host computer and have been able to start it in successfully in interactive mode. If you have not reached this point, this chapter will be of little use to you.


5.1. Site configuration files


These files have different names depending on the platform. They are located in the same directory with the executable binaries.



Site configuration file







Unix (all)


Windows NT/2000


Windows 95/98/Me



These are the only configuration files that should be changed on any LISTSERV installation. Software upgrades may overwrite any other configuration files located in LISTSERV’s home directory. They will never overwrite the files listed above. The intent is to help preserve your system settings from one version to the next so that you do not experience the inconvenience of having to reconfigure LISTSERV after an upgrade.


L-Soft international, Inc., is not responsible for system downtime or misoperation occassioned by the loss of any changes that you make to configuration files other than the ones listed above.


5.2. What can be configured?


Depending on the platform, a large number of control variables are available to "fine tune" the performance and behavior of LISTSERV. The following table indicates the variables, under which platforms they are supported, and briefly what they control. Please see Appendix C of this manual for details before setting any control variable. Some variables shown in the table are VM legacy settings and are not otherwise discussed in this manual.


Table 5.1. LISTSERV site configuration variables


Short Description






Specifies non-POSTMASTER users who are allowed to post to the ALL-REQUEST alias (1.8e)






Boolean value determining whether or not LISTSERV's anti-virus scanning is enabled (1.8e)






Defines the hostname of a machine that knows how to route mail to BITNET addresses






Tells LISTSERV where to send bounces not related to any particular list






List of library minidisks to be checked at startup






Three configuration variables under the CLI_* rubric are available for use with DBMS/Mail Merge. Please see the Developer's Guide for LISTSERV (available separately) for documentation. (1.8e)



yes (AIX only)



Defines the hostname used by the LCMD utility






The name of the CMS system to be used on IPL commands






Where to send VMS or NT crash reports






The password required to create new lists






Indicates whether the (old) VM database functions are enabled or not






Determines whether or not the new LISTSERV database functions use reverse indexing






Sets a default period for rotating change-logs. (1.8e)






Sets the default national language template for use by all lists on the server






Sets defaults for passive probing






Provides a default value for the "SPLIT=" command line keyword






The delay between  two reader-scan operations






Indicates whether LISTSERV should use diagnose X'D4' to mimic the RSCS origin on files it DISTRIBUTEs






In 1.8d and following, space-separated list of non-POSTMASTER users who are to be allowed to use DISTRIBUTE






In 1.8d and following, Boolean value which controls security validation feature for the DISTRIBUTE command. WARNING: See Appendix C before changing this value.






The filemode of  the DEFAULT disk  to be used  for storing files via a PUT command






The maximum number of  lines for any incoming non-mail file to be accepted






Defines users or classes of users who should be exempt from LISTSERV's standard filter






Defines users or classes of users who should not be allowed to post to any list on the server.






Defines the number of seconds LISTSERV will try to open a file locked by an external process






Defines (in kilobytes) the "target size" for LISTSERV's file cache.






Defines (in kilobytes) the threshold at which point LISTSERV should start aggressively trimming the cache.






Defines (in kilobytes) the cache size at which LISTSERV should write a warning to the console log.






Internet addresses of  persons to  be granted  an "infinite" GET quota






A list of userid@nodes whose messages and files are to be ignored






Boolean value determining whether or not LISTSERV will ignore the PRIME setting on incoming DISTRIBUTE jobs.






On VM, determines whether INDEX subscriptions use GETPOST or old-style database jobs by default.






The  optional local  "installation password"  associated with the INSTALL command







Boolean value determining whether or not the "Summary of resource utilization" is generated or suppressed in a CJLI JOB command response.






Toggles license warnings on and off. WARNING: See Appendix C before changing this value.






Default value for the "List-Address=" keyword






Filenames of executable files that can be defined as exits by an "Exit=" list header keyword






a boolean variable indicating how PUT commands for datafiles associated  with the LMC FAC are handled






a list  of nodes to be associated with  the hardcoded LCL FAC.  Also used as the default for the "Local=" list keyword






Internet address of the local mailer






the maximum number of  lines for an incoming  MAIL file to be accepted






Maximum number  of 'RCPT TO:'  lines per BSMTP file  sent to the mailer






(HPO only) The maximum number of recipients to be listed in the LISTSERV console log as recipients of an SMTP job







Maximum number of recipients in forwarded DISTRIBUTE jobs






Maximum number of GET requests a user can make per day






Maximum number of kilobytes of data a user may obtain a day             via GET requests.






Information about library minidisks






Userid  of the virtual machine running a  RFC1312/MSP server, if "Internet TELL" support is desired






The list of domain names  which are equivalent to NODE--e.g., MX addresses, CNAMEs, etc.







Short organization name that appears in the RFC-822 "Sender:" line.






Whether to send mail to the local MAILER in Netdata format






Internet address of this LISTSERV host






Directs a  VMS™  server  running in  NJE  mode  to send  all outgoing server-to-server requests  via the Internet






Three configuration variables under the OCI_* rubric are available for use with the DBMS/Mail Merge functionality introduced in LISTSERV 1.8d. Please see the Developer's Guide for LISTSERV (available separately) for documentation.






(NT, 1.8d only)


Three configuration variables under the ODBC_* rubric are available for use with the DBMS/Mail Merge functionality introduced in LISTSERV 1.8d. Please see the Developer's Guide for LISTSERV (available separately) for documentation.




yes (NT)


Defines   the  system   and   RSCS  spool   thresholds  for   automatic offline/online control






A list of  userid@nodes, of which  the first one  is the "main" postmaster (to receive transferred files).






Defines  the  "prime  time"  for your  node






Defines domain to be appended to all non-qualified addresses






Defines a list of filemodes which are to be considered as "reserved" and  never available for  dynamic ACCESS






A list of local userids which must be treated as RSCS virtual machines












Determines whether or not the (new) SEARCH command is enabled.






The Internet hostname of the server to which all outgoing SMTP mail should be forwarded for delivery






Defines n number of "SMTP workers" used to split up the SMTP forwarding load






Dotted-decimal IP address which sets the IP address to which the SMTPL.EXE "listener" will bind at boot time.






Integer value which sets the port number to which the SMTPL.EXE "listener" will bind at boot time






Directs LISTSERV to reset open SMTP connections every n minutes






Determines whether or not to sort recipients in the RFC821 mail envelope






Sets the server-wide value (in minutes) for the anti-spam quarantine period






Flag telling LISTSERV that it runs in a SSI system






Recipients of start and stop messages






The password to be used by postmasters when executing CP/CMS commands and  when storing  files in  the server by  means of  the PUTC command






Enables a system-level changelog






Defines the IP address used by the TCPGUI interface






Defines the port number used by the TCPGUI interface






List  of userid@node  templates  from whom  LISTSERV should  never accept mail






List of userid@node  templates to whom LISTSERV should never send mail






Indicates whether or not the VM30091 message suppression functions are available






Indicates whether or not LISTSERV should require "OK" confirmation for commands sent from WWW browsers.







The (preferably) relative URL that leads to the WWW archive CGI script. (This is a URL, not an OS path name.)






The full OS path name to the WWW archive directory






Disable/enable the web archive interface's IP address verification function






Userid of the  virtual machine to which files found in the lists readers should be transferred






There are also a number of configuration variables pertaining to the DBMS/Mail Merge functions. These variables are documented in the Developer's Guide for LISTSERV, available separately.



*   For non-VM systems, STOREPW is a secondary password that is functionally identical to CREATEPW. You should use the same value for both passwords, i.e., set STOREPW= %CREATEPW% (for Windows NT/2000 and 95/98), etc.


**  The native OCI interface was available for Windows servers only in version 1.8d. It was removed in LISTSERV 1.8e. See Appendix C, OCI_* for details.


5.3. Files used by LISTSERV


The proper operation of LISTSERV is dependent on LISTSERV’s ability to find a number of files that belong to it.  The following list of files are required to operate the product, and in most cases must be located in the same directory with the LISTSERV executables.  (The notable exception is under unix, where all of the data files other than the 'go*' files are required to be placed one directory below the executables, typically in ~listserv/home .)


(Note that under certain conditions, some required files aren’t necessary; these will be noted where applicable. Note also that some files are not shipped with the distribution, but are generated automatically the first time you run LISTSERV.)


Program Executables


Dependent on the platform, the required executables are:








Windows (all):



For OpenVMS and Windows systems, the executable SMTPW.EXE is also required.


For Windows NT/2000 systems not running LSMTP and for all Windows 9x/ME systems, the executable SMTPL.EXE is also required.


The executables listed above belong in the following places (depending on the platform):



on LISTSERV's A disk


in LISTSERV's "A" directory, normally LISTSERV_ROOT:[MAIN]


in the LSVROOT directory, i.e., ~listserv/

Windows (all):

in LISTSERV's "A" directory, normally drive:\LISTSERV\MAIN


Finally, the Web Archive ('wa') interface CGI script is shipped in the A directory of the non-VM servers. This script must be copied into the appropriate script directory for your Web server (per chapter 5.4, below) if you plan to use the Web Archive interface.  On OpenVMS and Windows servers, this file is WA.EXE, while on unix machines it is wa* .


BITNET Network Table files


These files are not required when running LISTSERV with RUNMODE=TABLELESS, and are not shipped with evaluation copies for Windows 9x/ME or with LISTSERV Lite. Network table files include:











With the exception of BITEARN NODES, all files are regenerated whenever BITEARN NODES is updated or when an explicit NODESGEN command is issued. For pre-1.8c servers (or non-registered 1.8c or later servers), BITEARN NODES must be downloaded on an approximately monthly basis from




or from the European mirror at




Beginning with 1.8c, BITEARN NODES on registered networked servers is updated using the same mechanism as PEERS NAMES and other LISTSERV tables. Note that this requires that your mail server support incoming files of at least 1.5M. VM sites have not been included as they typically maintain this file using the UPNODES procedure and store it on a public disk, applying change control procedures in the process.


Internet and Peer Networking Table files















These files are used by LISTSERV to define its "backbone" and other peer servers, as well as to help determine the best routes for mail sent via the DISTRIBUTE algorithm. 


For registered sites they are updated periodically by mail from other servers. The update process is automatic and does not require LISTSERV maintainer intervention unless a problem is noted.


For non-registered sites the files must be updated manually.  See http://www.lsoft.com/table-updates.html for information on how to accomplish this.


Sites running in TABLELESS or STANDALONE mode do not require these files. This includes all LISTSERV Lite and LISTSERV Shareware sites.


LISTSERV's external data files


LISTSERV uses these files for a number of purposes.  The fact that they are external to the executables makes it easy to update them when needed.  These files include:



















PERMVARS.FILE is LISTSERV's main "permanent variables" file; among other things, this is where LISTSERV registers spammers and users that have been served off. NOTE VERY CAREFULLY that this file should NEVER be modified manually.  It is in a binary format and, if corrupted, LISTSERV will not start.


The SIGNUP.FILEx files (initially there are 9 [or 31 if you are licensed for HPO], for example, SIGNUP.FILE1, SIGNUP.FILE2, etc.) are used to register users and their real name fields.


SYSTEM.CATALOG is used by LISTSERV to register system files; it should not be modified, as it is always shipped with new versions and will thus overwrite itself.  Instead, SITE.CATALOG should be used to register files and list file archive catalogs (listname.CATALOG) for users to retrieve.  (SITE.CATALOG is not shipped with LISTSERV; please see the chapter on Notebook and File Archives for details.)


DEFAULT.MAILTPL and DEFAULT.WWWTPL are the files from which LISTSERV gets its default mail templates and default web templates for responses to user input.  See Chapter 9, Creating and Editing LISTSERV's Default Mail Templates, for details.


User reference material


The following files are LISTSERV's online documentation.















LISTALL.REFCARD is broken into three parts internally.  Part 1 is the response to the INFO REFCARD command; Parts 1 and 2 are the response to a GET LISTOWNR REFCARD command; and the whole document is sent in response to a GET LISTMAST REFCARD command.


Command line utilities (non-VM)


Depending on your platform, the following executables may have been shipped (under unix they must all be complied from the corresponding *.c files):


LCMD.EXE (or lcmd*)


LCMD is a command-line named-pipes interface to LISTSERV. You can use it to send commands directly to LISTSERV from the console and receive information in return, either on the console itself (Windows and OpenVMS) or via mail (unix). The syntax is:


Windows:                      lcmd [\\computer[\serverid]] command

OpenVMS and unix:       lcmd command


The user running LCMD must have appropriate permission (e.g., must be a list owner or LISTSERV maintainer) in order to issue the various protected commands.


LISTVIEW.EXE (or listview*)


LISTVIEW is a utility that allows you to type the binary-format .LIST files to standard output so that they can be viewed and/or redirected to text files. The syntax is:


listview [-a] [-e[h]] [-h] [-r nnnn] [-s] file1 file2...


You can choose only one of the command line options at a time, except that you can specify one of the other options along with the -r option if needed. The options are:



Show the header only


Show the header + the subscribers (without the option string in columns 81-100)


Show the list of subscribers only (without the option string)


Similar to -e, but show only the hostnames without userid@


Show the entire list file

-r nnnn

Generate two files (listname.view1 and listname.view2) for each list file viewed with this option. The view1 file contains nnnn subscriber addresses chosen at random from the list, where nnnn is an integer value between 1 and the number of users on the list. The view2 file contains the rest of the subscriber addresses from the list, randomly sorted. (The view2 file is useful in cases where you wish to pull x names at random from your mailing list, and then pull x more names at random without duplication. Note however that you would have to add the subscribers in the view2 file to a regular LISTSERV list in order to be able to run listview against those subscribers.)


While you can specify one other option with -r to manipulate the output, the following caveats should be noted:


·         listview -h -r results in a blank file

·         listview -s -r does not output the list header

·         listview -eh -r outputs a list of random hostnames, but they are not unique.

·         listview -a -r is the same as listview -r


Note carefully that running listview -r against a mailing list with a value of nnnn greater than the actual number of subscribers in the list will result in duplicates being written to the view1 file and the generation of a view2 file of length 0.


LISTVIEW executed with no option is the same as 'listview -a'.


You can redirect the output of LISTVIEW with standard OS-dependent redirection symbols.  For instance,


listview -h mylist > mylist.file


redirects the output to the ASCII file 'mylist.file'.


JOBVIEW.EXE (or jobview*)


JOBVIEW allows you to read the Base64-encoded spool files created by LISTSERV (see below for the types of files created in the spool directory that may be read with this utility). The syntax is simply


jobview file1 file2...


GUI site configuration utility (Windows NT and Windows 95 only)




The Site Configuration Utility for LISTSERV allows you to easily configure LISTSERV's operation. While this can also be done by manually editing LISTSERV's SITE.CFG file, the GUI gives you an easier way to take care of this task. Online help for the various configuration variables is provided, and new LAKs can be entered. Basic optimization for various pre-calculated loads can also be performed.


Line-mode site configuration utility (OpenVMS only)




A very basic line-mode utility that allows you to modify the OpenVMS version of the site configuration file. Useful for initial configuration. Most OpenVMS sysadmins will probably prefer to edit the SITE_CONFIG.DAT file by hand with a text editor.


Other files that will appear during use


While in use, LISTSERV creates various files for itself.  On the A disk or in the MAIN or HOME directory, these are typically:


.AUTODEL files

Maintain data for LISTSERV's autodeletion functions; one for each list that has Auto-Delete enabled.  If no auto-deletion reports are pending, this file will not exist.




Contain data regarding subscription changes for a given list if that list has the "Change-Log= Yes" list header keyword setting. These files are called listname CHANGELG on VM.



.DIGEST files

These files are the (volatile) digest files for each list that has digests enabled. They are deleted and restarted when the digest is cut. Note that if the location parameter of the Digest= keyword is not set to something that points to the MAIN or HOME directory, .DIGEST files will not appear in the MAIN or HOME directory, but rather in the directory specified.



.LIST files

Mailing list files, including the header and subscriber information. Do not attempt to edit these files with a text editor; use the GET and PUT commands instead.



.OKxxxxxx files

Usually found for edited lists, but can also appear for non-edited lists if users are set to REVIEW. These are mail messages that are awaiting "OK" confirmation.  If they are not confirmed, they are automatically deleted after about a week.



.OLDLIST files

These files contain the last saved version of the list file.  If you PUT a header and find that you've made a fatal mistake (like adding users "on the fly" and deleting everyone else on the list, or editing the list file by hand and corrupting the record structure) you can send the command GET listname (OLD to have the listname.OLDLIST file sent to you.



.SUBJECT files

Maintain the list of subjects for the digest.  Again, if digests are not enabled for a specific list, this file does not exist for that list. Also, the same note for the location of these files as for .DIGEST files applies. .SUBJECT files are deleted and restarted when the digest is cut.


In the SPOOL directory, the following file types will be found:



LISTSERV generates an .ERROR file in the spool when it encounters an error in a JOB file.  These can be viewed with the jobview utility and are important for tracing certain errors back.




Files that have been received by LISTSERV and are queued for processing.  These files are in Base64 format and can be viewed with the jobview utility.




Held .JOB files.  Such files are either being processed by LISTSERV (and are thus locked) or have generated an error message. These can also be viewed with the jobview utility.




Files that have been processed through LISTSERV and are queued for delivery to the outgoing SMTP mail agent. These are plain-text files.




Files that have been processed through LISTSERV and for which delivery has been attempted, but for which a "permanent" SMTP error has resulted. If you have reason to believe that the error was not actually "permanent", simply rename the file with the .MAIL extension and LISTSERV will pick it up for another try.


JOBH files containing the string $NOJOB$ in the filename are typically waiting to be processed because the list they are going to has an explicit Prime= variable set and the non-prime time has not yet arrived.


5.4. Installing and configuring LISTSERV's WWW Archive and Administration Interface


LISTSERV 1.8d and later includes an optional WWW archive and administration interface (not enabled by default). This interface is used to allow users to browse and search notebook archives for lists with the feature explicitly enabled, as well as to allow list owners to manage almost every aspect of their lists and to allow LISTSERV maintainers to perform a number of common site management tasks. The interface is secured by the use of LISTSERV personal passwords. List owners have administrative access only to their own lists; general users have access only to the archives of public lists or to private lists to which they are subscribed (in other words, there is no difference between the access one receives via the web interface and the access one receives via the mail interface).


LISTSERV 1.8c also included an optional WWW archive interface which did not have any of the administrative functions described in this chapter.


5.4.1. The WWW Archive Interface described


Postings can be organized by date, by topic or by author, and a search function with online help is provided. LISTSERV's WWW interface has the following advantages over "hypermail" style web archiving:


·         The information on the web is always up to date. New postings are shown as soon as they are received.


·         The postings can be organized in the manner that best suits the reader: by date, by author, by topic, with or without table of contents, with or without showing the author, etc.


·         Only one copy of the information is kept, and in particular there is no need to create an individual HTML file for each posting. This design allows the interface to scale up gracefully to lists with hundreds of thousands of archived postings, which would otherwise require hundreds of thousands of individual HTML files, wasting disk space (each file takes up at least one disk block) and stressing the file system past reasonable limits.


·         The search forms can be used to create search requests matching (for instance) all postings in the last X days. The resulting URL can then be bookmarked and reloaded on a regular basis.


·         List owners can customize the main page for their lists without any intervention by the LISTSERV maintainer, by updating one of the mail template forms for their list (WWW_INDEX). The LISTSERV maintainer can customize common pages and header/trailer HTML statements by updating system templates.


To take advantage of this new interface, you must first ensure that the "Notebook=" options for your list are compatible with the WWW interface. In most cases, you will not have to do anything, but certain options are incompatible with the use of the WWW interface and may need to be changed:


·         The archive frequency MUST be WEEKLY, MONTHLY or YEARLY. SEPARATE and SINGLE notebooks are not supported. L-Soft generally recommends converting lists with SINGLE notebooks to YEARLY unless there is a compelling reason to have all the messages in exactly one file.


·         For optimal performance, the archive frequency may need to be adjusted to produce an "adequate" number of topics and messages in each archival period. The definition of "adequate" depends on your users, the kind of equipment they have, and how they connect to the Internet. As a rule, home users will prefer a larger number of smaller archives whereas office users with large screens and T1 or better connectivity will tolerate a larger table of contents.


·         Under the 1.8c version of the interface, the archives must be public as there is no userid/password control in the web archive interface. Under 1.8d this restriction has been removed.


·         Under 1.8c, on most systems, the directory in which your list archives are kept must be specified in absolute rather than symbolic form, or the WWW interface will not be able to access it. Symbolic form is when the directory name is a single letter, for instance "Notebook= Yes,A,Monthly,Public" ("A" being a logical filemode defined in LISTSERV's site configuration which points to the directory where LISTSERV keeps its internal files). In most cases, your list header will probably read something like "Notebook=Yes,E:\LISTS\XYZ-L,Monthly,Public" and you will not have to worry about this.


Under 1.8d this restriction has been removed (LISTSERV will translate the logical filemode into a full path), but L-Soft still strongly discourages the use of logical filemodes for the "where" parameter of the Notebook= keyword, primarily for security reasons but also to keep things orderly. A full path is always preferred, and each list should imperatively have its own subdirectory. See 5.8, below, and chapter 8 for details.


The LISTSERV maintainer must then enable the list for the WWW interface. This may require the installation of a web server and of the WWW interface code itself. You can then modify the WWW_INDEX mail template form to customize the main archive page for your list. See chapter 9 of this manual for more information on customizing mail templates.


5.4.2. The WWW Administration Interface described


In 1.8d and later, assuming that the WWW interface has been installed per the instructions below, the WWW administration interface is enabled automatically for all lists on the server that are not coded "Validate= Yes,Confirm,NoPW" or "Validate= All,Confirm,NoPW". The basic URL for the list owner section of the interface is




where hostname is the name of the LISTSERV host, and script-directory is the name of the directory where "wa" is installed. For unix you specify "wa?LMGT1" and for Windows and VMS you specify "wa.exe?LMGT1". With some non-unix web servers you may have to type "WA.EXE?LMGT1" (that is, all in upper case) in order for this to work.


Site managers have a different entry point at




which allows them to create lists, customize site-wide WWW templates, and manage DBMS and mail-merge operations. This entry point also has a link to the list owner section, so site managers may wish to bookmark this entry rather than the LMGT1 entry.


See chapter 11 for detailed information on the web administration interface.


5.4.3. Installing a web server


Please note that L-Soft cannot help you with the installation or configuration of your web server itself. L-Soft does not recommend or endorse specific web servers, nor does L-Soft have development machines with every possible web server installed. You should ensure that the web server software you choose is installed and operating properly before attempting to install the LISTSERV WWW interface script.


If you do not already have a World Wide Web server installed and operating on your LISTSERV machine, you will need to obtain and install one. There are quite a few free web servers available for downloading on the Internet for most systems; you may want to start your search for server software at the W3 Consortium's web site at http://www.w3.org/. Naturally, commercial web servers can also be used.


Please note that for security purposes you should always disable directory browsing if it is not disabled by default by your web server.


5.4.4. Installing the web archive interface script


The CGI script for the web archive interface must be installed in the directory where your web server normally keeps CGI scripts and from which they are authorized to run. If in doubt, please read the manuals that came with your web server and/or contact the web server manufacturer's support group; L-Soft cannot help you with this. LISTSERV cannot install the script for you because installation depends on which server you use, which operating system you are running, how the server has been configured, etc.


Please note carefully that the web interface is not designed to be run on a machine separate from the LISTSERV server.  It MUST run on the same machine.  This means that a web server MUST be installed on the LISTSERV machine or you will not be able to use the web interface.


System specific instructions:


·         Windows: Copy WA.EXE to the appropriate directory. For Microsoft's Internet Information Server (IIS), this is normally C:\INETPUB\SCRIPTS (not C:\INETPUB\WWWROOT\SCRIPTS).[1]


·         Windows NT/2000: WA.EXE builds shipped with LISTSERV 1.8d and later communicate with LISTSERV via TCP/IP rather than via named pipes. If your %SystemRoot% directory (e.g., C:\WINNT) is on an NTFS partition, in order for this to work properly you must grant the "Everyone" user (or at least the user that invokes WA.EXE, for example, IUSR_xxx under IIS) R/X permissions on the following files in the %SystemRoot%\system32 directory:











Under IIS the invoker is normally the IUSR_xxx user created when you install IIS. Other web servers are probably different and you may have to check the logs to see what user is invoking WA.EXE.


This instruction can be ignored if your %SystemRoot% directory is on a FAT or FAT32 partition.


The Windows NT/2000 1.8d installation kits offer to grant world-read permissions to the above files at install time for your convenience if %SystemRoot% is on an NTFS partition.


·         unix: copy 'wa' to the appropriate cgi-bin directory, change its owner to 'listserv' and set the suid bit (typically, 'chmod 4755 wa'). This authorizes the interface to read archive files.  Please note that one of the most common problems with 'wa' under unix is that the installer has not followed this instruction.


·         OpenVMS: you will have to link WA.OLB with the CGI library provided with your web server, then copy it to the appropriate directory. Make sure to arrange for the program to have read access to the archive files for the lists you want to serve on the web. This may vary from one web server to another.


While the script can be renamed, a short name will help keep the HTML documents small and speed up the site.


5.4.5. Creating a subdirectory for the archive interface


Create a subdirectory on your web server to contain the various files LISTSERV will be creating for the web archive interface.  The suggested name (and the name LISTSERV will expect by default) for the subdirectory you will create in this step is 'archives'. Under IIS, you would typically make the directory C:\INETPUB\WWWROOT\ARCHIVES for this purpose. For a unix server running Apache it might be /usr/local/etc/httpd/htdocs/archives . Please note the following IMPORTANT restrictions carefully:


·         Do not simply use your main HTML documents directory as LISTSERV will create quite a few files. It is much more orderly to keep the web archive interface's files and subdirectories in their own place in any case.


·         Do not use the directory you keep the list's notebook archives in for this purpose. Notebook archives should always be kept separate from the web interface, preferably in a completely separate directory hierarchy.


·         Corollary to the above: Do not set the Notebook= keyword for any list so that the list's notebook archives are kept in the subdirectory used by the web archive interface for the list.


For specifics on what should be kept in what directories, see section 5.8, below.


System specific steps:


·         OpenVMS: define the systemwide logical LISTSERV_WWW_ARCHIVE_PATH to point to the directory you just created, and LISTSERV_WWW_ARCHIVE_URL with the URL to the directory in question (preferably relative).


·         unix: create a world-readable file called /etc/lsv-wa.config with the following two statements:


PATH xxx

URL yyy


Where 'xxx' is the absolute path to the directory you've just created and 'yyy' is the URL to this directory (preferably relative).  For instance:


PATH /usr/local/etc/httpd/htdocs/archives

URL /archives


·         Windows NT/2000: if necessary (and it shouldn't be), you can update the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\L-Soft\LISTSERV\WWW_ARCHIVE_URL to override the default URL to the directory you have just created. Again, this is not normally necessary and is only provided for weird web servers, etc. Don't do it unless it didn't work without it.


5.4.6. Configuring LISTSERV to activate the web archive interface


This is done by modifying LISTSERV's site configuration file (see Appendix C) to add two variables:


·         WWW_ARCHIVE_CGI is the (preferably) relative URL that leads to the CGI script you have just installed. Typically this will be something like '/cgi-bin/wa' or '/scripts/wa.exe'. This is a URL, not an OS path name.


·         WWW_ARCHIVE_DIR is the full OS path name to the directory you created in the previous step (C:\INETPUB\WWWROOT\ARCHIVES or whatever).


Under unix, you may have to export these variables (you can check the 'go' script to see if they are already exported for you; in early versions of the interface they were not) by adding the lines





at the end of go.user. Again, if these variables are already exported in the 'go' script, there is no need to do this.


LISTSERV will then create and maintain a file called http://localhost/archives/index.html from which you can access all the postings. (This is made from the template WWW_ARCHIVE_INDEX--see below.)


Note that proper operation of the interface under LISTSERV 1.8d requires that the 'wa' script be able to talk to LISTSERV via TCP/IP to port 2306 (LISTSERV's TCPGUI port).


5.4.7. Customizing the web pages LISTSERV creates


Under LISTSERV 1.8d, the simplest (and recommended) way to make changes to the templates which contain the information for these pages is to use the tools provided in the WWW administration interface for changing the "look" of your site.


The LISTSERV maintainer can create a file called www_archive.mailtpl in the main LISTSERV directory to override the web archive template forms found in default.mailtpl. (See chapter 9 for more information on LISTSERV's mail templates.) There are 3 templates you typically might want to override:


·         $WWW_ARCHIVE_HEADER: this is added at the top of every HTML file generated by the interface. This can be used to set the background color and insert a logo. Usage should be kept to a minimum since it appears on every page and gets in the way of the information people want to see.


·         $WWW_ARCHIVE_TRAILER: same but added at the bottom of every HTML files. Can contain legal disclaimers, copyright information, and useful links.


·         WWW_ARCHIVE_INDEX: this is the main page for the web archive interface. The default works fine but is a bit bland.


The list owner can also control the main page for his own lists by creating the usual listname.MAILTPL file with a WWW_INDEX template.  (Again, the recommended way of doing this is to use the template editing tools in the web administration interface.)


There are more templates for other parts of the web interface which are found in the file default.wwwtpl.  These templates can be overridden by placing the edited template forms in a file called site.wwwtpl (or by using the template editing tools as already mentioned).


In any case you should not make changes to either default.mailtpl or default.wwwtpl themselves as any changes you make to these files will be overwritten during an upgrade of the software.


5.4.8. Enabling individual lists


Once the interface is installed, LISTSERV will automatically make any mailing list with public archives available through it, provided that a subdirectory has been created for them in the 'archives' subdirectory created above, and provided that LISTSERV has read/write access to the subdirectory.






Note that public notebooks for any list coded "Confidential= Yes" will be available via the interface if a subdirectory under 'archives' is created for that list. However, unlike the behavior in 1.8c, the list will not appear on the main archive index page if you have coded "Confidential= Yes". In this case there are two avenues for users who know the list exists and want to access the web archives:


·         Users can bookmark or manually enter the link to the list's archives, for example,




·         Users can click on the link at the bottom of the main index page that pulls up an "unlisted archive" form, into which they can type the name of the list.


On the other hand, if you code "Confidential= Service", your list will show up on the main archive index page for your server but will not show up in the CataList or global list of lists.


Under 1.8d and later, "Private" notebooks can be viewed via the WWW interface by following the same instructions as for "Public" notebooks. However, in order to view the notebooks, subscribers must log in with their subscribed userid@host and their LISTSERV password (set with the PW ADD command or via the WWW interface).  Please note carefully that if the user is subscribed as "joe@unix1.host.com" and tries to log in as "joe@host.com", he will be refused access.  Also note that unless the list is coded "Confidential= Yes", there will be a link to its archives in the main archive index page.


If you do not want the confidential and/or "Private" list's notebooks available via the WWW interface at all, simply do not make a subdirectory for it under 'archives'.


Please note that when removing a list from the WWW archive interface, you MUST delete the list's directory under 'archives'. Otherwise someone with a bookmarked URL may still be able to access some of the archives via the web.


Also note that under unix, if the 'wa' script does not have the suid bit set, the interface will appear to work normally until you try to read a message. If the suid bit is not set, you will receive a message to the effect that the archives are not available and to try again in 30 seconds.


As an example, let's assume that you have a list called XYZ-L that you want to make available through the Web interface, and that so far you have used the defaults for the installation of the interface.


First, under the 'archives' directory you created above, you must create a directory with the same name as your list. Thus, in order to make the XYZ-L list accessible through the interface, you must create the directory 'archives/xyz-l'


Next, you would edit the XYZ-L header to indicate how you want the list to appear to the interface.  If you want the archives to be wide open, you must code


* Confidential= No

* Notebook= Yes,where,interval,Public


If you want the archives to be "wide open" but don't want a link on the main archives page, you would code


* Confidential= Yes

* Notebook= Yes,where,interval,Public


If you want the archives to be accessible only by subscribers (with a password) and to have a link on the main archives page, you would code


* Confidential= No

* Notebook= Yes,where,interval,Private


And if you want the archives to be accessible only by subscribers (with a password) but you do not want a link on the main archives page, you would code


* Confidential= Yes

* Notebook= Yes,where,interval,Private


Finally, if you want the archives to be available via the interface (either with or without a password), and you want a link on the main archives page, but you do not want your list to appear in the CataList or global list of lists, you would need to code


* Confidential= Service


and "Notebook=" would be either Public or Private depending on your preference, as above.


Please note carefully that coding the Confidential= keyword has other implications.  For instance, if you want your list to show up in the CataList or be available via the Global List Exchange (GLX), you must set "Confidential= No". Thus advertising your list globally is not compatible with having your archives available via the web but not having a link on the server's main archives index page.


Finally, you would simply perform a GET and PUT of the XYZ-L header. When you PUT the header, LISTSERV will create the XYZ-L.HTML file in the ‘archives‘ directory and build indexes for the list in the ‘archives/xyz-l’ directory.


Note: If you do not execute a list PUT operation after creating the directory for the list under ‘archives’ (for instance, if the list already had public archives and it was not necessary to edit the header), LISTSERV will wait until midnight to create the web archive files for the list rather than creating them immediately. (Naturally, stopping and restarting LISTSERV will also force a rebuild of all of the web interface files but is not recommended as the normal way to accomplish this.)


At this point you will be able to access XYZ-L's archives from the URL http://www.yourhost.com/archives/xyz-l.html.


5.4.9. Enabling web-based bulk operations


Bulk operations (part of the list owner administration section of the interface) are not enabled by default when the interface is installed. As the site manager, you must create a directory called "upload" under the directory specified in the WWW_ARCHIVE_DIR= site configuration variable, and give the userid under which the "wa" CGI program is run write permission in that directory. This is the only directory in which "wa" needs write authority, and only for this functionality. If you do not want the functionality, do not create the "upload" directory.


Please note carefully that your browser MUST support the RFC1867 file upload extension or you will not be able to use the bulk operations page. Most current browsers do support this extension, including but not limited to Netscape 3.x and later, and Internet Explorer 4.x and later.


(If you get an error 2 when you click on the "Import" button, this means that the "upload" directory has not been created. If you get an error 13 when you click on the "Import" button, this means that the "upload" directory has been created but the CGI program user does not have write permission in that directory.)


5.5. The "spam" detector and anti-subscription-"spoofing" feature


L-Soft acknowledges that these features have been continually upgraded and enhanced throughout the 1.8e development process, but in keeping with previously-announced policy, specifics are proprietary and will not be documented.


5.5.1. Spam quarantine


One of the most arduous problems the spam detector has to face is the accurate detection of the first few copies of the spam. When the first copy reaches the first LISTSERV server worldwide, it is just a posting like any other. It will take repeated occurrences of this same posting for LISTSERV to realize that it is in fact a spam. However, it is desirable to block this very first copy as well, and this can only be accomplished by introducing a delay in the processing of "suspicious" messages. This "quarantine" gives the spam detector some time to gather the necessary evidence to determine if the message is a spam or not. The default value is 10 minutes, and can be changed by adding:


* Loopcheck= Spam-Delay(xxx)


in the list header (the value is in minutes). The LISTSERV maintainer can also change the system default by adding a SPAM_DELAY variable to the LISTSERV configuration with the desired value (also in minutes). A value of zero disables this part of the spam filter. 


(It should be carefully noted that setting SPAM_DELAY=0 does not turn off LISTSERV's spam filter. It turns off only the spam quarantine part of the overall filter.  There is no setting to disable the spam filter server-wide; it can be turned off only at the list level, with "Loopcheck= NoSPAM" in the list header.)


The default value of 10 minutes is adequate in most cases; it can be lowered on fast, large, active servers and may need to be increased on servers with chronical backlogs. Currently, LISTSERV determines whether a message is suspicious or not based on the sender's posting history. This however may be changed in future versions to further improve the efficiency of the spam detector.


5.5.2. "Anonymous" spam alerts


On occasion, you may receive a spam alert from LISTSERV where the offender's e-mail address is replaced with the word "anonymous". These alerts are generated by new detection algorithms where, for various reasons, it may sometimes be desirable to hide the identity of the potential offender, usually because there is a fair chance that the posting is in fact legitimate for the particular lists to which it was posted (for instance because these lists were configured to tolerate a high degree of cross-posting). In this case, information about the text of the message may be released and ultimately lead to a spamming alert that will block further copies of this same message, while the identity of the poster remains hidden.


5.5.3. Subscription anti-spoofing feature


Not long before the release of LISTSERV 1.8c (January 1997), a number of point and click utilities began to appear on anonymous FTP servers, allowing mischevious users to forge Internet mail on an industrial scale and subscribe an unfortunate victim to thousands of mailing lists. The resulting mail onslaught fills the victim's mailbox in minutes, rendering the account forever unusable. It also brings the mail server on which the account is hosted to its knees, causing, in some cases, tens of thousands of dollars in consequential damages as other users of the same system also lose precious e-mail.


In most cases, the account ends up being closed. Unfortunately, this usually doubles the load on the recipient's mail server, as a delivery error needs to be generated for every message received from the mailing list servers. Thus, it is not uncommon for the service provider to leave the account open and simply reconfigure it in such a way that incoming mail continues to be accepted, but is summarily discarded without generating a costly delivery error notification. While it is difficult to blame the service provider for wanting to minimize impact to their customers, the drawback is that the list owners may never be notified of the fact that the account was closed. On any large LISTSERV system, there are likely to be dozens of these addresses, each being sent hundreds or possibly thousands of messages a day which are simply discarded and waste resources.


Until now, the only defense against this attack was to configure mailing lists to require subscription confirmation:


* Subscription= Open,Confirm


LISTSERV will then send a confirmation request to the victim, who does not reply and thus is not added to the list. While this line of defense is 100% effective, it may not always be practical or desirable to configure the list to require confirmation.


LISTSERV version 1.8c and later is able to detect these "spoofed" subscription attacks automatically. When more than 50 subscription requests are received from the same account in a short time frame, LISTSERV automatically undoes all the subscription requests and rejects any further subscription attempt for a certain period of time. This applies even to requests that LISTSERV forwarded to other servers; LISTSERV will then send a SIGNOFF request to the remote server for the address in question. Note that, in some cases, the subscription may not be undone, either because of a temporary condition (locked list, etc.) preventing LISTSERV from deleting the user, or because the list was configured with "Subscription= By_Owner" and the owner manually added the victim after the arrival of the undo request.


This mechanism offers a very good degree of protection against the adverse effects that dead "spoofed accounts" can have on the performance of the LISTSERV host system. It does not, unfortunately, mean that people no longer have to fear subscription spoofing, as only LISTSERV lists are monitored and protected by the "spoof detector". Requests to subscribe to lists hosted by other mailing list managers are sent directly to the list managers in question, and LISTSERV can only act on the requests that it does receive.


5.6. Server Registration


5.6.1. Registering LISTSERV Classic Servers


NOTE: This section and 5.6.2, following, do not apply to evaluation kits or to LISTSERV Lite kits. Evaluation copies of LISTSERV should not be registered because they are (presumably) temporary servers running test lists, whose existence should not be broadcast. LISTSERV Lite copies run only in TABLELESS mode and therefore cannot be registered in the same manner as LISTSERV Classic, nor may they participate in the LISTSERV backbone.  Further, Windows 9x/ME Classic servers may not participate in the backbone as typically they do not have the capacity or stability to qualify for backbone status. For information about how LISTSERV Lite servers are registered, please see 5.6.3.


Also note that only those LISTSERV Classic servers running in NETWORKED mode may be registered.


Once the server is ready for production use (that is, once you have installed a permanent License Activation Key, and once you have arranged for LISTSERV to be started automatically when the system boots), you should register it with L-Soft by filling in a server registration form, and returning it to SUPPORT@LSOFT.COM. Registering the server is necessary to broadcast its existence to the other LISTSERV servers. Once you have registered, your server will be sent periodic updates about the lists hosted by other LISTSERV sites and updates to the files whose versions are shown in the output of the RELEASE command, among other things, and, similarly, other LISTSERV sites will receive information about the public lists you are hosting.


The LISTSERV site registration request form is found at the URL




along with the requirements that must be met for registration.


5.6.2. The LISTSERV backbone


The last question on the registration form is whether or not you wish for your site to participate in the LISTSERV backbone.


The LISTSERV backbone is a collection of servers which are operating 24 hours and maintained on a regular basis by their respective operation staffs. This backbone is used to support the DISTRIBUTE command and to host heavy-traffic network-wide peered lists.


LISTSERV servers can fall into one of two categories:


·         Local server: A local server has by definition no obligation towards the rest of the network. It can run any release of the code, with or without local modifications. Its operation staff can update it at irregular intervals, place it offline 14 hours a day, or do just anything they might see fit to do. The server will appear in the network routing files but it will be flagged as being a local server.


      The only two restrictions placed on local servers are:


1.       If the server's operation staff encounter a problem with the software and the latest available release of the code has not yet been installed on the server, in general L-Soft support will recommend upgrading to the latest release before trying to diagnose a problem which may have been fixed between releases.

2.       Local servers are not allowed to create peer lists. Note that the term "peer list" should be interpreted as meaning "network-wide public peer list". A closed peer list local to the various nodes of an institution does not fall into that category.


      A local server can create a network-wide list by means of the Mail-Via= DISTRIBUTE feature. Local servers can submit DISTRIBUTE jobs to the backbone, but will not receive any. If a peer sub-backbone is required for the list (e.g. if large archive files are to be made available), the local LISTSERV operations staff should try to find hosts in the backbone or should join the backbone.


·         Backbone server: A backbone server can do all of the above, can create peer lists and is supposed to receive DISTRIBUTE jobs. The restrictions placed on the backbone sites are the following:


1.       A backbone server should always be at the latest available level. This means that the operations staff must take whatever steps are necessary to update it in a timely basis. The average delay should not exceed one week, with the deadline being two weeks.

2.       A backbone server cannot be placed offline on a regular basis. It must operate 24 hours/7 days. It can of course be placed offline manually under particular conditions, lists can be held by their respective owners, etc.

3.       (VM) A backbone server must be AUTOLOG-ed when the system is IPL-ed, and ought to be automatically restarted at regular intervals in case it logs off due to some hardware failure (e.g. paging error). This applies only if such a restart facility is already available at the site hosting the server. In any case, local operators should be able to restart it if they are also able to restart RSCS and other service machines. That is, the host site should do its best to ensure that the server is restarted on a regular basis in case it crashes.

4.       (Non-VM) A backbone server must start automatically whenever the system is rebooted, and should have some facility to restart if it crashes during operation.  As with VM servers, the host site should do its best to ensure that the server is restarted on a regular basis in case it crashes.

5.       A backbone server should have the latest version of BITEARN NODES, or in the worst case, the version from the previous month. This applies only if the NODUPD files are received in due time of course. In 1.8c and following releases, BITEARN NODES can be updated automatically--see the 1.8c release notes for details.


Sites which are willing to become part of the LISTSERV backbone should indicate it in the :backbone tag of the registration form returned to support@lsoft.com. However, please note that unless you have a large number of lists, or a number of very large lists, it is probably not necessary for you to join the backbone. Sites running a few small support or hobby lists, for instance, don't need to be on the backbone; sites running hundreds of lists both large and small do need to be on the backbone. Also, sites running one or two huge lists (greater than, say, 50K subscribers each) probably should be on the backbone; such sites should contact L-Soft for more information.


5.6.3. Automatic Registration for LISTSERV Lite Servers


LISTSERV Lite servers are registered automatically when you start the software for the first time. This auto-registration is not optional for Free Edition servers, and can only be disabled for non-Free Edition Lite servers by specifying STANDALONE runmode (see "RUNMODE=" in Appendix C).


The auto-registration allows you to take part in the global List of Lists and CataList services maintained by L-Soft. Registrations are verified on a regular basis by a central L-Soft server, which sends out several informational commands that return non-privileged information about your server (anyone can issue these commands). Since these registrations are maintained by regular communication with your server, please note that, should you decommission the server, registration verifications will continue to be mailed to your server for several days until the central server decides that your server is actually gone, and not simply unable to receive mail for some reason. Please note carefully that it is not possible for L-Soft to stop these registration queries manually even if you write to us and tell us that the server has been shut down permanently. They will stop after several days without a response.


5.7. Inter-server Updates


Because networked LISTSERV servers operate as part of a distributed system, they do a certain amount of inter-server "chatting". This "chatting" takes the form of DISTRIBUTE jobs, X-LUPD jobs, X-SPAM jobs, and so forth. Some of the jobs are requests for statistics for the LISTSERV network; other jobs are updates to the list of lists; still other jobs are spam alerts. None of these jobs contain privileged or private information; L-Soft does not query your server for licensing information or any non-LISTSERV-related data, and in fact, all data sent out regarding your server can be retrieved by any user with documented LISTSERV commands.


If you are running LISTSERV Classic, and you do not want to participate in the full-fledged LISTSERV network for whatever reason, you can make a change in your site configuration file to run your server in "standalone" rather than "networked" mode. Simply set the RUNMODE= variable to the value "STANDALONE" and stop and restart your server (see Appendix C for the syntax applicable to your OS). Note that this will remove your server and all otherwise-public lists running on it from the CataList and the global List of Lists.


LISTSERV Lite (Free Edition) sites are not allowed to change their runmode. If this is a security issue for your site, L-Soft suggests purchasing either the commercial edition of LISTSERV Lite or LISTSERV Classic and running in "standalone" mode.


5.8. Setting up archive and notebook directories for use with LISTSERV


We have found that often people get confused about the difference between the directories where the mailing list's notebook archives are kept and the directories where the mailing list's web archive interface files are kept. Here are a few guidelines:


L-Soft's STRONG RECOMMENDATION is that each list be given a separate directory in which its notebook archives and any files available via LISTSERV's file server are kept. On VM this is not always practical, but the security concerns are different and (to date) the 'wa' interface is not available in any case. For OpenVMS, unix, and Windows systems, our STRONG RECOMMENDATION is that a separate directory tree be established for the purpose of storing list notebook archives and other related files.  For instance, you might create


On OpenVMS:

Where LISTSERV's base directory is



Create the directory





On unix:

Where the LSVROOT directory is



Create the directory





In Windows:

Where LISTSERV's base directory is



Create the directory



Then, under the main "lists" directory, you would create further subdirectories, one for each list that has archives.


For OpenVMS this would be something like LISTSERV_ROOT:[LISTS.MYLIST-L]

for unix something like /home/listserv/lists/mylist-l

and for Windows something like C:\LISTSERV\LISTS\MYLIST-L


Please note carefully that under unix, the directory path specification for notebook archives MUST IMPERATIVELY be in lower case.  LISTSERV will not write notebooks to directory paths specified in upper- or mixed-case.


Where you locate list archives is particularly important with regard to LISTSERV's file server functions. You MUST NOT set up a file server sub-catalog entry in site.catalog that points to LISTSERV's A directory! The catalog owner will be given FULL ACCESS to all the files in the directory you specify in the sub-catalog entry. Therefore in order to maintain security you MUST make a separate directory for each list catalog you define in site.catalog. For simplicity's sake, it is generally best to use this directory for the list's notebooks as well as any files the list owners may want to store except for the web archive interface files.


Files generated by LISTSERV for the web archive interface MUST NOT be stored in the notebook directories (or vice versa). You MUST make a separate directory tree where the HTML files and index files for the 'wa' interface are kept. Our best recommendation is to place this directory tree under your web server's document root directory, so that the HTML files for the web archive interface are reached by using a URL such as http://yourserver/archives/ . The location of this directory naturally varies from platform to platform and web server to web server; the guidelines in 5.4.5, above, will give you a start on finding this location.


5.9. DBMS and Mail Merge Functions


For information on installing and using these functions, please refer to the Developer's Guide for LISTSERV, available separately.


5.10. Synonymous host name registration via ALIASES NAMES


LISTSERV has supported hostname aliases since BITNET added support for this function in 1990. You could define that BITNET node (say) VTVM1 was the same as VPIVM1 and VPIVM2 (old names) and was also known as VTVM1.CC.VT.EDU. Since this was designed into the first major rewrite of LISTSERV, it is very efficient and there is almost no performance penalty. It also works globally, i.e., once the equivalence is defined, it works for all lists and all users.


However, the Internet did not have a similar mechanism for registering aliases, so this function was only useful to BITNET sites, although the underlying code would also have worked with Internet aliases if there had been a way to register them.


LISTSERV 1.8d and later supports a centralized list (called ALIASES NAMES) of synonymous Internet hostnames. The main purpose is to address problems with ISPs where the "From:" line is rewritten from (say) "joe@isp.net", which is what Joe wanted, to "joe@alpha.isp.net", "joe@beta.isp.net", "joe@gamma.isp.net" and so forth, where "alpha", "beta" and so on are known machine names (with the understanding that they may add machines from time to time) and "joe" is the same in all cases. In this way it is possible for LISTSERV to match joe@alpha.isp.net with his actual subscribed address of joe@isp.net or any of the other cluster hosts in his domain.


This can also handle a situation where an ISP changed name and for instance "joe@oldname.net" is rewritten to "joe@newname.net". However this does not handle "joe@isp.net" -> "J.Doe@isp.net" and the like.


Requests for additions to ALIASES NAMES are handled by a web form:




Note that while it is possible to add entries to your local copy for your local host, you should NOT do this as they will not be propagated through the network and will simply be overwritten by the next update.


5.11. Real-Time Anti-Virus Scanning


This feature is not available in LISTSERV Lite. 


LISTSERV Classic or LISTSERV Classic HPO running on Windows NT/2000 or Linux with current maintenance is required. Other OS platforms may be supported in the future.


LISTSERV 1.8e introduces a long-awaited new feature: real-time, on-the-fly anti-virus scanning  of all messages sent to LISTSERV mailing lists. All parts of such messages, including inline uuencoded binaries and MIME attachments in those messages, are scanned and bounced back to the sender if viruses are present. Messages sent to the *-request and owner-* pseudo-mailbox addresses used by LISTSERV (see 17.3.4, below) are also scanned and discarded if they contain viruses.  This includes mail sent to the listserv-request and owner-listserv pseudo-mailboxes.


This is a value-added feature which, in addition to a regularly-licensed LISTSERV Classic or LISTSERV Classic-HPO installation, requires the following:


1.       A "maintenance" LAK in addition to your regular LAK, meaning that you must purchase maintenance (which includes automatic anti-virus signature updates for the term of the LAK) for LISTSERV in order to use the feature; and


2.       A special LISTSERV-specific version of F-Secure Anti-Virus, which is available for download from L-Soft's web site.  (The standard version of F-Secure Anti-Virus is not supported.)


The anti-virus scanning feature includes:


·         A 45-day warning when maintenance/AV support is about to expire.


·         A 5-day warning when virus databases have not been updated.


The above warnings are controlled by the site configuration variable LICENSE_WARNING= as usual. And, as usual, it is not recommended to disable the license warnings as you may miss an expiration date without any warning and/or your anti-virus signature databases may not be kept up to date without your knowledge.


There is a new site configuration variable, ANTI_VIRUS= , which defaults to 1 (enabled) if the supported AV system is detected and 0 (disabled) if it is not.  Manually enabling the variable is ignored if the supported AV system is not detected.


The virus checking capability is enabled if (1) the supported AV system is present, (2) a maintenance LAK is loaded and not expired, and (3) ANTI_VIRUS=0 is not specified in the site configuration file. List owners may not turn off AV checking (design decision -- security). Messages containing viruses are always returned to the sender (design decision -- the sender ought to be warned) even if filtering is otherwise enabled. However, attachments which have been filtered are not scanned for viruses (they are simply discarded).


6. LISTSERV Commands


(For a quick reference card of LISTSERV commands, see Appendix A of this document.)


This chapter is divided into five parts. The first three correspond to those commands available for use by the general user, list owners and file owners, and the LISTSERV maintainer. The last two describe how to send commands to LISTSERV and how to register LISTSERV passwords. Non-privileged users can send commands by mail or by interactive commands. (Note that interactive commands can only be sent if a two-way NJE or MSGD connection exists.) Privileged users can send commands by mail, interactive commands (subject to the same restriction previously noted) or via the console (VM) or the LCMD utility (non-VM).


Unless otherwise noted, commands are listed in alphabetical order, with the minimum acceptable abbreviation in capital letters. Angle brackets are used to indicate optional parameters. All commands which return a file accept an optional 'F=fformat' keyword (without the quotes) that lets you select the format in which you want the file sent; the default format is normally appropriate in all cases. Some esoteric, historical or seldom-used commands and options have been omitted.


Note that some commands are not available on all platforms; these commands are marked appropriately.


Continuation cards (see Chapter 2 in the Developer's Guide for LISTSERV regarding LISTSERV’s Command Jobs Language) can be used to split long commands (for instance, ADD commands for users with long X.500 addresses) into two or more 80-character cards. In that case you must insert "// " (two slashes followed by a space) before the command text and a comma at the end of each line of the command so that CJLI considers it as a control card and performs the required concatenation. For instance,


// QUIET ADD MYLIST someone.with.a.real.long.userid.that.wraps@hishost.com ,

His Name


or, for instance, for a large GETPOST job,


// GETPOST MYLIST 10769-10770 10772 11079 11086 11095 11099-11100 11104 ,

11111 11115 11118 11121 11124 11131 11144 11147 11153 11158 11166 11168


Be sure to put a space before the comma at the end of the first line, as LISTSERV will not add the space for you.


6.1. General Commands


6.1.1. List subscription commands (from most to least important)


SUBscribe listname [full_name | ANONYMOUS] [WITH options]


The SUBscribe command is LISTSERV's basic command, issued by users to join mailing lists. This command can also be used to change one's "full_name" field in LISTSERV's SIGNUP database (simply reissue the command with the changed name). Note that the full_name is not required if the user has previously signed up to lists on the same LISTSERV server, or if the user has previously registered in LISTSERV's SIGNUP database by using the REGISTER (q.q.v.) command.


LISTSERV 1.8c and later supports the following syntax:




This indicates that the user wishes to join the list anonymously, that is, without specifying a name. The CONCEAL subscription option is automatically set, granting the subscriber the maximal level of protection available.


LISTSERV 1.8d and later supports the following additional syntax:


SUBSCRIBE listname full_name WITH option1 option2 ...


This syntax allows you to "preset" subscription options at subscribe time.  For instance, you might want to subscribe to MYLIST-L in order to be able to search its archives, but don't want to receive postings.  You would use the command




Or you might want to receive individual postings with the SUBJecthdr option and receive copies of your own postings instead of the standard acknowledgement that your message was distributed to the list:




LISTSERV 1.8e and later supports the following additional syntax:


QUIET SUBSCRIBE listname full_name WITH option1 option2 ...


This syntax suppresses the command response normally sent by LISTSERV that looks like this:




You have been added to the MYLIST-L list.


JOIN listname [full_name | ANONYMOUS]


JOIN is a synonym for SUBscribe.


SIGNOFF listname|*|* [(NETWIDE]


The SIGNOFF command allows the user to cancel his or her subscription to lists. SIGNOFF requires a qualifying parameter, as follows:


      listname      Sign off of the specified list

      *             Sign off of all lists on that server

      * (NETWIDE    Sign off of all lists in the LISTSERV network


The "* (NETWIDE" parameter causes the LISTSERV server to forward a copy of the signoff request to all other registered LISTSERV servers. This is a good option for a user who is changing service providers or otherwise losing a specific address that will not be forwarded. Please note that this parameter will not remove the user from non-LISTSERV lists or from LISTSERV lists running on non-registered sites.


LISTSERV will attempt to sign off the address it finds in the RFC822 "From:" line and will not "fuzzy match" for "similar" addresses.


UNSUBscribe listname|*|* [(NETWIDE]


UNSUBscribe is a synonym for SIGNOFF.


CHANGE listname|* newaddr


This form of the CHANGE command can be used by any subscriber. It must be sent from the currently-subscribed address and results in an OK confirmation request being sent back to that address. This cookie then MUST be confirmed by the currently-subscribed address, exactly as it was entered, or the command will fail. This is the only case where a 1.8d cookie must be confirmed by a specific address. Note that this assumes that the user still has login access to both addresses, or at least the ability to send mail from the old address.


SET listname option1 [option2 ...]


Allows the user to change his or her subscription options without administrative intervention. The options available to be changed are as follows:



A mail message acknowledging the receipt and distribution of the user's posting is sent back to the user.




No posting acknowledgement is sent. In general, this setting should only be used if the user has also set himself to REPRO, as it is desirable in most cases that some indication of whether or not the posting was received by LISTSERV be sent.




An interactive message is sent to acknowledge receipt and distribution. Note that this works only if both the machine running LISTSERV and the user's machine have NJE connectivity (e.g., BITNET). If NJE connectivity is not available on both ends, this option is effectively the same as NOACK.




Allows the user to be concealed from the REVIEW command. Note that the list owner or LISTSERV maintainer can always get the complete list of subscribers, regardless of this setting.




"Unhides" the user




These options toggle the receipt of non-mail files from the list. Note that this is NJE-specific, and thus obsolete for systems without NJE connectivity, but retained for compatibility.




These options toggle the receipt of mail from the list. Users who will be away from their mail for an extended period of time may prefer to simply turn the mail off rather than to unsubscribe, particularly if subscription to the list is restricted in some way.


Note that for backward compatibility, the command SET listname MAIL sent by a user who is set to DIGEST but not also set to NOMAIL will cause the user to be set to NODIGEST (the behaviour is identical for users set to INDEX but not to NOMAIL). SET listname MAIL sent by users set to DIGEST/NOMAIL or INDEX/NOMAIL will simply remove the NOMAIL setting and leave the user set to DIGEST or INDEX as the case may be.






These options change the format in which list mail is received by the subscriber. DIGEST turns on digest mode, in which the subscriber receives a digest of postings at set times dependent on how the "Digest=" keyword of the list is set. INDEX turns on index mode, in which the subscriber receives a daily listing of subjects posted to the list, from which he or she may order postings of interest. NODIGEST and NOINDEX toggle the mode back to individual postings sent as received by LISTSERV. Note that these options are interrelated; setting one will negate another.




Causes LISTSERV to send you a copy of your own postings as they are distributed. Some users may prefer this behavior to the ACK option (see above).




Toggles MIME options on and off. Currently only digests are available in MIME format. If DIGEST mode is set, the user will receive a MIME digest instead of the regular plain-text digest. Note that you must have a mail client that supports MIME digests (Pegasus is one that does) or this setting will do you little good. This option is automatically set at subscribe time for users who send their subscription command using a MIME-compliant agent, unless "Default-Options= NOMIME" is specified for the list.




Toggle the HTML function for digests and indexes on and off. New in 1.8d.



TOPICS: ALL | [+/-]topicname   



For lists with topics enabled (see the Topics= list header keyword), subscribe or unsubscribe to topics. For instance, if a list has topics SUPPORT and CHAT, a user could subscribe to CHAT by sending SET TOPICS +CHAT . Or the user could unsubscribe to SUPPORT by sending SET TOPICS -SUPPORT . Finally, the user can subscribe to all available topics by sending SET TOPICS ALL .


Options for mail headers of incoming postings (choose one):



"Full" mail headers, (default) containing all of the routing information.


Internet-style headers.


Short headers (no routing information).


Dual headers, useful with PC or Mac mail programs which do not preserve the RFC822 return email address.


"Full" mail headers (like the default) except that setting this option tells LISTSERV to add the list's default subject tag to the subject line of mail coming from the list. (See the listing in Appendix B for "Subject-Tag=" for more information.) Note that if the user is set to SHORThdr (or any other header option other than FULLhdr), LISTSERV will automatically switch the user to FULLhdr, as subject tags require full headers. Under 1.8c subject tags are not generated for messages sent without an RFC822 "Subject:" header; starting with 1.8d a subject tag is generated (for subscribers with the SUBJecthdr option set) even if the original message had no "Subject:" header. To turn the subject tagging off, the user simply sends a new SET command with any of the other header options (e.g., SET listname FULLhdr) and the SUBJecthdr option is reset.


Essentially the same as "full" mail headers, but with the important difference that the recipient's email address is specified in the "To:" line rather than the address of the list. "FULL822" headers should be used with extreme caution, as they cause LISTSERV to create a separate mail envelope with a single RFC821 RCPT TO: for each address so set. This behavior can significantly affect the performance of both LISTSERV and of your external mail system.


Essentially the same as "short" mail headers, with the same caveats as noted for FULL822.



Note that FULL822 and SHORT822 headers should only be used if a specific problem indicates that they might solve the problem. One possible use would be to determine which subscriber from a specific site is causing the site to throw back delivery errors if that site does not specify which RCPT TO: is generating the error. These headers should never be used by default.


Documented Restriction:  The use of the SHORTHDR or DUALHDR options will break messages that depend on MIME encoding, because these options strip the RFC822 headers that identify the message as a MIME message.  SHORTHDR and DUALHDR were designed for the non-MIME mail clients which prevailed in LISTSERV's early history.  As most mail clients today support MIME, the use of these options is now deprecated.


CONFIRM listname1 [listname2 ]...]]


The CONFIRM command should be issued when LISTSERV requests it. A request for CONFIRM should not be confused with a "command confirmation request" which requires an "OK" response. The CONFIRM command is used in two cases:


·         When the list in question requires periodic subscription renewals (controlled by the Renewal= keyword). In this case, the amount of time between the request for confirmation and termination of the subscription is controlled by the Delay() parameter of the Renewal= keyword; the default is seven days.


·         When LISTSERV's automatic address probing function fails and you receive a message to that effect. The response time is controlled by the settings of the Auto-Delete= keyword for the list in question.


6.1.2. Other list-related commands


INDex [listname]


The INDEX command sent to LISTSERV without further qualification sends back the contents of the "root" level archive filelist on VM systems (LISTSERV FILELIST) or archive catalog on non-VM systems (SITE.CATALOG plus the contents of SYSTEM.CATALOG).


If the INDEX command is sent with the name of a list (e.g., INDEX MYLIST) or the name of a special filelist or catalog file (e.g., INDEX TOOLS , if TOOLS FILELIST on VM or TOOLS.CATALOG on non-VM exists), LISTSERV sends back the contents of the specified filelist or catalog. Several possibilities exist:


·         For mailing lists without an associated filelist or catalog, LISTSERV creates an index "on the fly" containing entries for the accumulated notebook archives for that list. If notebook archives are not enabled for the list, LISTSERV will respond, "This server does not have any file by the name 'listname.filelist'."


·         For mailing lists with an associated filelist or catalog, LISTSERV will append the "on the fly" index of notebook archives to the entries in the associated filelist or catalog.  For instance, for a list called MYLIST with associated catalog MYLIST.CATALOG, INDEX MYLIST might return:





* :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::


*  The GET/PUT authorization codes shown with each file entry describe

*  who is authorized to GET or PUT the file:


*     ALL = Everybody

*     CTL = LISTSERV administrators

*     OWN = List owners

*     PRV = Private, ie list members

*     LMC = LISTSERV master coordinator

*     N/A = Not applicable - file is internally maintained by LISTSERV

*     MSC = Miscellaneous - contact administrator for more information


* :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::



* Information files for MYLIST


* filename      filetype        GET PUT size (bytes) date       time    

* --------      --------        --- --- ------------ ---------- --------

  MYLIST        FAQ             ALL MSC       22,528 1996-02-09 21:30:10

  MYLIST        WELCOME         ALL MSC          279 1998-02-02 09:59:44

  MYLIST        FAREWELL        ALL MSC           92 1998-02-05 11:06:14



* Archive files for the MYLIST list at LISTSERV.MYCORP.COM

* (monthly logs)                                                          


* filename      filetype        GET PUT size (bytes) date       time    

* --------      --------        --- --- ------------ ---------- --------

  MYLIST        LOG9603         LOG OWN        8,668 1998-05-27 15:29:57

  MYLIST        LOG9605         LOG OWN        7,865 1998-06-29 08:43:26

  MYLIST        LOG9606         LOG OWN       17,298 1998-07-23 12:46:20

Figure 6.1. Sample output of an INDEX listname command.


·         Lastly, for catalogs or filelists without an associated list, the INDEX command returns only the entries in the catalog or filelist, since there are no associated list archives to be indexed.


Under VM, instead of the size in bytes, three separate VM-specific columns are used. Please note the following definitions for them:


rec -fm

Indicates whether the file is in a fixed or variable record format




Logical record length.  For a file with fixed record format (F), this is the length of each record.  For a file with variable record format (V), this is the maximum record length.




Number of records (lines) in the file


Lists [option]                   


Access the global list of lists maintained by LISTSERV. If no options are specified, then LISTSERV returns only local lists, one line per list. The available options are:



All local lists, complete with full header information.



Global xyz

Only those whose name or title contains 'xyz'



SUMmary [host]

Membership summary for all lists on specified host, or the host to which the command is sent if no host is specified




Membership summary for all hosts (long output, send request via mail!)




Membership totals only


"Lists Global" without a search string, which returns the entire list of lists, may no longer be issued by general users. If you are asked about this, you should advise users to use the "Lists Global /xyz" format to search the list of lists, or use L-Soft's CataList service at http://www.lsoft.com/catalist.html.


"Lists SUMmary", when issued to an unregistered host or to a host running in STANDALONE mode will generate the response "No information available yet - please try again later." because the file required for this function does not exist.


Query listname                          


Query your subscription options for a particular list (use the SET command to change them). Using the "*" wildcard in place of the name of a single list queries subscription options on all lists on the server.


REGister full_name | OFF


Register's the user's full name field in LISTSERV's SIGNUP files, or changes the current value of that field. When a user's name is registered, he or she can omit the full name field from subsequent SUBscribe requests to that server. Sending "REGISTER OFF" to LISTSERV deletes the user's entry from the SIGNUP file.


REView listname [(options]


Get information about a list, assuming the list header keyword "Review=" is set appropriately. For general users, REVIEW does not return address information about subscribers who are set to CONCEAL. The options are:


BY sort_field

Sort list in a certain order:



by country of origin (ISO country codes)



by subscription date (newest to oldest)



by user name (last, then first)



by hostname/nodeid



by userid

BY (sort_field1 sort_field2)



You can specify more than one sort field if enclosed in parentheses. For instance: BY (NODE NAME)


Synonym of BY COUNTRY


(1.8d and later) Adds a breakdown of subscribers per topic (if Topics= is defined in the list header) at the end of the subscriber list. If you just want the breakdown, use REVIEW listname SHORT TOPICS . This does not show topics by individual subscribers (see the QUERY command instead). If Topics= is not enabled for a given list then this option is ignored.


Don't forward request to peers. This is only useful if the list is peered; normally it should not be necessary to issue this option.


Send reply via interactive messages (BITNET users only)


Don't send list header, just send the subscriber list


Don't list subscribers, just send the header and the membership summary for the list.


Note that you can get a quick read of the number of subscribers on the list by sending the command REVIEW listname SHORT NOHEADER.


In 1.8d and later list owners and site maintainers may also use the additional option:



List concealed members (who will show up with "[concealed]" next to their entry) as well as non-concealed members.  (NOT available to general users even if Review= Public.)




SCAN listname text


Scan a list's membership for a name or address. Helpful if a user attempts to send a SET command or an UNSUB command and is informed that their address is not subscribed to the list. At the non-privileged level, this command will show all non-concealed entries that match the search text, assuming that the list is set to "Review= Public".


The following command is available on VM servers only:


Stats listname [(options]


Get statistics about a list. NOT AVAILABLE ON NON-VM SERVERS. This command is VM-specific, and was originally intended to return BITNET data. The single option is:



Don't forward to peers



6.1.3. Informational commands




Obtain a list of commonly-used LISTSERV commands. Also explains how to get the comprehensive reference card and tells who the (non-hidden) server manager(s) are.


Info [topic|listname]


Order a LISTSERV manual, or get a list of available ones (if no topic was specified); or get information about a list. For Info listname, the text in the INFO template form of listname.MAILTPL is used; however, if listname.MAILTPL does not exist or does not contain an INFO template form, the INFO template form of DEFAULT.MAILTPL is used.


Query File fn ft [filelist] [(options]


(Available only on VM) Get date/time of last update of a file, and GET/PUT file access code. The single option is:



Get additional technical data (useful when reporting problems to experts)




Find out who maintains the server and the version of the software and network data files.


SHOW [function]                       


Display information as follows:


ALIAS node1 [node2 [...]]



BITNET nodeid to Internet hostname mapping


Statistics about DISTRIBUTE

HARDWare or HW

Hardware information; what kind of machine is LISTSERV running on?


License/capacity information and software build date

LINKs [node1 [node2 [...]]



Network links at the BITNET node(s) in question

NADs [node1 [node2 [...]]



Addresses LISTSERV recognizes as node administrators for the specified site(s)

NODEntry [node1 [node2 [...]]



BITEARN NODES entry for the specified node(s)

NODEntry node1 /abc*/xyz



Just the ':xyz.' tag and all tags whose name starts with 'abc'

POINTs [ALL | list1 [list2...]]



Graduated (LISTSERV Classic) license point information. This information can help you plan orderly expansion of your site if you are running with a graduated LISTSERV Classic license. Under Lite this command shows Classic point usage.


Usage statistics for the server (this is the default option)


Same output as RELEASE command



If no function is specified, the output is per SHOW STATS.


The following options are available for VM servers only:



Statistics about the BITEARN NODES file

DPATHs host1 [host2 [...]]



DISTRIBUTE path from that server to specified host(s)


Full DISTRIBUTE path tree


List of fixes installed on the server (non-VM see SHOW LICENSE)


Statistics about the NJE network

PATHs snode node1 [node2 [...]]



BITNET path between 'snode' and the specified node(s)


6.1.4. Commands related to file server and web functions




VM Syntax:

GET fn ft [filelist] [(options] [F=fformat] [SPLIT=integer]    

Non-VM Syntax:

GET fn ft [catalogname] [([F=fformat] [SPLIT=integer]]


For non-VM see also below for special TCPGUI parameters.


Order the specified file or package from LISTSERV. The single option is for VM servers only and is:


PROLOGtext xxxx      Specify a 'prolog text' to be inserted on top of the file







Typically the filelist name or catalog name is the same as the name of the list to which the files belong.  A password (PW=xxxxx at the end of the command) is required to retrieve any file that does not have a GET FAC of ALL.  For more information on FAC (File Access Control) codes, see 8.3.5 of this manual (for VM) or 8.4.1 (for non-VM). 


Do not use dots (periods) in the file specification when specifying the filelist or catalog name, as this will result in an error.  For instance




will result in an error, whereas




will not.


To control the format in which LISTSERV returns the file(s) to you, you can specify the F=fformat parameter. Supported formats are Netdata, Card, Disk, Punch, LPunch, UUencode, XXencode, VMSdump, MIME/text, MIME/Appl, Mail


To split very large files into manageable chunks, you can specify the SPLIT=integer parameter.  The integer value is the size you want the chunks to be generated, in kilobytes. For instance if you were ordering a 2MB notebook log and wanted to break it into 100KB chunks, you would specify SPLIT=100. This is handy for people whose mail systems place a limit on the size of an individual mail message that may be received by a given user.


TCPGUI parameters for Change-Logs:  Under non-VM LISTSERV 1.8e and later, the following syntax is accepted:


GET listname CHANGELOG (MSG [COLUMNS(colspec1 colfilter1 [colspec2 colfilter2[...]])


The design goal was to provide access via the TCPGUI (and thus the web interface) for change-log data.  Further information can be found in the Developer's Guide to LISTSERV.




VM Syntax:

GIVE fn ft [filelist] [TO] userid@host

Non-VM Syntax:

GIVE fn.ft [TO] userid@host


GIVE fn ft catalogname [TO] userid@host


(Note: Prior to 1.8d this command is not available on non-VM servers.)


Sends a file stored in a LISTSERV file archive to someone else. For instance, you may want to send LISTSERV REFCARD to a new user. Rather than retrieving LISTSERV REFCARD and then forwarding it to the user, you simply issue a GIVE command to tell LISTSERV to send it directly. Note that the token "TO" is optional. Examples:


For LISTSERV running under VM:


GIVE LISTSERV REFCARD joenewuser@hishost.com

GIVE LISTSERV REFCARD TO joenewuser@hishost.com


GIVE README TEXT MYLIST-L joenewuser@hishost.com

GIVE README TEXT MYLIST-L TO joenewuser@hishost.com


For LISTSERV running on non-VM hosts there are two syntaxes, depending on whether or not you need to specify a catalog name for the file in question. Note that the only real difference is whether or not you are required to specify a dot between the filename and the extension.  Examples are:



GIVE LISTSERV.REFCARD joenewuser@hishost.com

GIVE LISTSERV.REFCARD TO joenewuser@hishost.com


GIVE README TXT MYLIST-L joenewuser@hishost.com

GIVE README TXT MYLIST-L TO joenewuser@hishost.com


INDex [filelist|catalog]


Same as GET xxxx FILELIST. If no filelist is specified, the default is LISTSERV FILELIST (on non-VM, SITE CATALOG is returned as LISTSERV FILELIST in this case).


PW function


Define/change a "personal password" for protecting AFD/FUI subcriptions, authenticating PUT commands, and so on.


ADD firstpw

Define a password for the first time, or after a PW RESET. Requires confirmation via the "OK" confirmation method.



CHange newpw [PW=oldpw]



Change your existing password. If you do not include your old password for authentication, LISTSERV will require confirmation via the "OK" confirmation method.



REP password

Starting with 1.8d, this function is a hybrid of "ADD" and "CHange". If a password does not exist for the user, one will be added.  If a password does exist for the user, it will be changed (with confirmation required via the "OK" confirmation method). "REP" was added primarily for use by the web archive and administration interface but can be used in e-mailed PW commands as well.




Reset (delete) your password. This function always requires confirmation via the "OK" confirmation method.




Same as GET




The following commands are available on VM servers only:




Automatic File Distribution. The functions are as follows:


ADD fn ft [filelist [prolog]]



Add file or generic entry to your AFD list



DELete fn ft [filelist]



Delete file(s) from your AFD list (wildcards are supported)




Displays your AFD list


For node administrators:





Perform requested function on behalf of a user you have control over (wildcards are supported for DEL and LIST)




File Update Information: same syntax as AFD, except that FUI ADD accepts no 'prolog text'


6.1.5. Other (advanced) commands


DISTribute type source dest [options]


Note:  Starting with 1.8d, the ability to send DISTRIBUTE jobs is limited to LISTSERV Maintainers by default, and requires a password. This section is retained for compatibility with 1.8c and earlier, and for 1.8d and later servers which have the DISTRIBUTE security feature turned off.


Distribute a file or a mail message to a list of users (see the Developer's Guide for LISTSERV for more details on the syntax). The various parameters are, briefly:




Data is a mail message, and recipients are defined by '<dest>'


Data is a mail-merge message. See the Developer's Guide for LISTSERV for specifics.


Data is not mail, recipients are defined by '<dest>'


Data is mail and recipients are defined by the RFC822 'To:'/'cc:' fields





Name of DD holding the data to distribute (default: 'DD=DATA')



<TO> user1 <user2 <...>>



List of recipients

<TO> DD=ddname



Use a DD called ddname for the destination addresses, one recipient per line


Options for the general user:




Acknowledgement level (default: ACK=NONE)


'TO' list in 'canonical' form (uid1 host1 uid2 host2...)


Do not actually perform the distribution; returns debug path information


Send file delivery message to recipients via mail


Same as DEBUG=YES, but file is actually distributed


(1.8e Classic and later) Check the message for viruses.  See the Developer's Guide for LISTSERV for specifics.


Options requiring privileges:


File originator


One line: 'address name'



GETPost listname post_number [post_number [...]] [NOMIME]


GETPost is used after receiving the output of a SEARch command to retrieve the postings you want from the SEARch output. For instance, if you want postings numbered 1730, 1731, 1732, and 1840 from the MYLIST list, send the command


GETPost MYLIST 1730-1732 1840


GETPost is analogous to the VM database command PRINT.


In previous versions, the GETPost command returned messages that contained MIME attachments in their "raw" form, which could not be extracted automatically by MIME-aware mail clients.  Customers who wished to use list notebooks to archive word-processing documents (for instance) found this to be a problem. From LISTSERV 1.8e, attachments returned in messages by way of the GETPost command will now display as inline clickable links in the individual messages.


Users of certain email clients (specifically Pine, which handles attachments in a secondary viewing area) may find the new format difficult to use. If preferred, the pre-1.8e behavior may be reverted to by specifying "NOMIME" as the last parameter of the GETPost command.  




For lists running on VM servers, see also below at DATABASE.


The Search command syntax is similar to that of the SEARCH/SELECT commands in the "old" database functions. A very basic Search command for list MYLIST would look like this:


Search search_string IN MYLIST


You can also restrict your search by date, sender, or other criteria, for example,


Search search_string IN MYLIST SINCE 96/01/01



etc. The specific syntax is outlined in LISTDB MEMO (available from LISTSERV with the command "INFO DATABASE") and in the Developer's Guide for LISTSERV. Note that the new Search command does not require a CJLI job framework to operate; simply send the Search command in the body of an email message to the appropriate server. LISTSERV will respond with an index of the postings matching your criteria and instructions on how to use the GETPost command to retrieve the posts you want.


SERVE user


Restore service to a user whose access to LISTSERV has been disabled. This generally occurs when a user has sent 51 incorrect commands in a row to LISTSERV, which LISTSERV interprets as a possible mail loop. (Note also that certain mail packages that send "Read:/Not Read:" notifications back to LISTSERV will trigger this scenario after 51 iterations. The best solution would be for the user to disable receipt notifications.) The user in question cannot restore his or her own service; this command must be issued from another userid. Note that if the user has been manually served out by privileged user (a LISTSERV maintainer), the SERVE command must be issued by a similarly-privileged user (who must also be a LISTSERV maintainer, although naturally the same user who issued the SERVE OFF command can issue the SERVE command). For 1.8d and later please note that the THANKs command will not reset the serve-off counter (so vacation messages or auto-replies that contain a sentence starting with something like "Thanks for writing" will not defeat the system and users sending them will eventually be served off instead of continuing to loop ad infinitum).




You can send this command to check to see if the server is alive. If it is, the server politely responds, "You're welcome!".


The following commands are available only on VM servers:


DATAbase function


Access LISTSERV database(s). The functions are explained in detail in the version of LISTDB MEMO available from VM servers, but the basic syntax is:


Search DD=ddname <ECHO=NO>



Perform database search (see the VM version of LISTDB MEMO for more information on this)


Get a list of databases available from that server

REFRESH dbname

Refresh database index, if suitably privileged






6.2. List Owner and File Owner Commands


6.2.1. File management commands (for file owners only)


PUT fn ft <filelist <NODIST>>


Update a file you own. Options are:



Supply your password for command authentication


The following options are VM-specific and will not work on the non-VM servers.


The "NODIST" option prevents AFD and FUI distributions when the file is updated. Other available VM only options include:



Accept request even if the current version of the file is more recent than the version you sent


Set file date/time


Select fixed-format file (not to be used for text files).


Send reply to another user


Don't send any reply


Request reply via interactive messages, not mail (Requires NJE connectivity)


Special parameters passed to FAVE routine, if any


Standard parameters supported for all files:


TITLE=file title

Change file "title" in filelist entry



The following commands are available on VM servers only:




Automatic File Distribution privileged commands. In addition to the AFD/FUI functions listed above, a file owner may use the following function:


GET fn ft <filelist>       



Get a list of people subscribed to a file you own


GET fn FILELIST <(options>           


Special options for filelists:



Return filelist in a format suitable for editing and storing back


Don't lock filelist (use in conjunction with CTL)


REFRESH filelist <(options>


Refresh a filelist you own. The single option is:



Don't flag files which have changed since last time as updated (for AFD/FUI)




Unlock filelist after a GET with the CTL option if you decide not to update it after all


6.2.2. List management functions

Commands that support the QUIET keyword are marked (*)


ADD(*) listname user [full_name]

ADD(*) listname DD=ddname [IMPORT [PRELOAD]]


The first syntax is used to add an individual user to one of your lists, or update his name field. Note that you can substitute an asterisk ("*") for full_name and LISTSERV will substitute "<No name available>" in the list.


The second syntax is used for bulk ADD operations where a dataset (DD=ddname) is used add multiple users, one address/name pair per line. For bulk operations you may also use the IMPORT option, which implies a QUIET ADD (in other words you do not need to specify QUIET if you use IMPORT) and otherwise vastly speeds up the ADD process by loosening syntax checking and omitting success messages. The IMPORT PRELOAD option first appeared in 1.8d and is used to direct LISTSERV to preload the existing e-mail keys in memory before starting the transaction, which speeds the operation up considerably. This option is used primarily with DBMS lists to speed up bulk adds. PRELOAD is not necessary for traditional LISTSERV lists and does not normally lead to a significant performance improvement. However, when importing a new list (no existing subscribers), it does reduce CPU usage somewhat.


For a bulk ADD operation, the users are defined in a separate dataset beginning on the line following the ADD command.  For instance,


ADD listname DD=ddname IMPORT

//ddname DD *

userid@host.com User Name

userid2@host.com User2 Name

... more address/name pairs, one per line ...



Please see chapter 7.17, below, for specific instructions for bulk ADD operations.




Same as ADD, but means "add the user on this peer, do not forward this request to a (possibly) closer peer". For non-peered lists, is functionally identical to ADD.


CHANGE(*) listname|* newaddr                                                 

CHANGE(*) listname|* oldaddr|pattern newaddr|*@newhost                      


The first form can be used by any subscriber and results in a cookie being sent to the new address. This cookie MUST be confirmed by the new address, exactly as it was entered, or the command will fail. This is the only case in 1.8d and later where a cookie must be confirmed by a specific address.


The list owner form does not use cookies but simply applies the standard "Validate=" rules (as for a DELETE command). You can specify a wildcard pattern for the old address and *@newhost for the new address to rename certain addresses to a new hostname. The CHANGE1 template is sent unless you specify QUIET.


Change log entries are made (CHANGE oldaddr newaddr) and there is a  CHG_REQ exit point which allows you to reject the operation.


DELete(*) listname user [(options]

DELete(*) listname DD=ddname [BRIEF]


The first syntax is used to remove a single user from one of your lists, or from all local lists if listname is '*' The available options are:



Forward request to all peers


Don't try to forward request to closest peer if not found locally


Do not actually perform any deletion (useful to test wildcard patterns)


The second syntax is used for bulk DELETE operations (similar to a bulk ADD operation). See chapter 7.17 of this manual for details. The single available option is:



Good for deleting wildcard patterns (such as *@*) when you don't want a "userid@host has been deleted from list xxxx" for each user deleted. Returns instead only a count of the users that were deleted.


FREE listname <(options>


Release a held list. The single option is:


Forward request to all peers


GET listname <(options>


Get a copy of a list in a form suitable for editing and storing the list and lock it so that other list owners can't modify it until you store it back (or until you or they issue an UNLOCK command). The options are:



Forward request to all peers


Send just the header; on the way back, only the header will be updated. This is the recommended way to modify your list header.


Do not lock the list


Recover the "old" copy of the list (before the last PUT)


HOLD listname <(options>


Hold a list, preventing new postings from being processed until a FREE command is sent. The single option is:



Forward request to all peers


Lists [option]                   


Additional options available for list owners and moderators:



Returns a list of local lists owned by the invoker.


Returns a list of local lists that are moderated by the invoker.


MOVE(*) listname user <TO> node           


Move a subscriber to another peer. Do NOT use this command to move users from one list host site to another during migration. It is strictly for moving subscribers from one peer to another peer.


listname DD=ddname

Move several subscribers to various peers


PUT listname LIST


Update a list from the file returned by a GET command. This is the standard "PUT command"  or "list PUT" referred to throughout this document.


Starting with LISTSERV 1.8d, use of the PUT command to store a list header with new subscriber data at the bottom (e.g., an attempt to add subscribers "on the fly") will result in only the header of the list being stored, and in the generation of the following warning:


WARNING: new  subscriber data was found  in the replacement list  you sent,

possibly due to the use of a signature file with an unusual separator line.

If  you really  meant to  update the  subscriber data,  please resend  your

request with the word "PUT" replaced  with "PUTALL". For now, only the list

header will be updated.




PUTALL listname LIST


Starting with 1.8d, this command allows you to PUT an entire list file, that is, the list header followed by the list of subscribers.


Documented restriction: PUTALL does NOT work with DBMS lists; only the header information is replaced. Subscriber information in the DBMS table is not changed. For DBMS lists where the subscriber information needs to be replaced in toto, either the DBMS should be manipulated with your regular DBMS tools or you should use ADD IMPORT .


Query listname <WITH options> FOR user


Query the subscription options of another user (wildcards are supported).


* <WITH options> FOR user

Searches all the lists you own for the specified user(s) with the specified option(s).


SET(*) listname options <FOR user>


Alter the subscription options for other users (wildcards are supported when setting options for another user or set of users).


Additional options for list owners:


Waive subscription confirmation for this user


Prevent user from posting to list


User may post without going through moderator


Postings from user go to list owner or moderator even if user is otherwise allowed to post


UNLOCK listname


Unlock a list after a GET, if you decide not to update it after all, or unlock a list if it has been locked by another list owner or by the LISTSERV maintainer. Note that if you are not the person who originally locked the list, it is considered good practice to ask the person who originally locked the list whether or not they are done with the list before you unlock it.


The following commands are available only on VM servers:


EXPLODE listname <(options>              


Examine list and suggest better placement of recipients, returning a ready-to-submit MOVE job.


BESTpeers n

Suggest the N best possible peers to add


More detailed analysis

FOR node

Perform analysis as though local node were 'node'

PREFer node

Preferred peer in case of tie (equidistant peers)


Check to see that service areas are respected

With(node1 <node2 <...>>>)



Perform analysis as though specified nodes ran a peer

WITHOut(node1 <node2 <...>>>)



Opposite effect


Stats listname (RESET                  


Resets (BITNET) statistics for the list.


6.3. LISTSERV Maintainer Commands


All LISTSERV maintainer commands require a password for validation when issued by email. Commands issued by TELL or SEND from the local host or via the LCMD utility do not require password validation.  (Commands issued by LCMDX do require password validation. LCMDX, the LISTSERV TCPGUI demonstration program, is not the same as the LCMD utility shipped with LISTSERV.)


FOR user command


Execute a command on behalf of another user (LISTSERV maintainers only). Note that this command is provided for debugging purposes only -- it provides a method for a LISTSERV maintainer to send commands "from" the specified user.  It is not recommended to use this command syntax in production, for instance to issue SET or SUBSCRIBE or UNSUBSCRIBE commands on a user's behalf.  For instance, the LISTSERV maintainer should use, respectively, the "SET listname options FOR userid@host", "ADD listname userid@host", or "DELete listname userid@host" syntaxes in preference to the "FOR userid@host command" syntax.


Lists [option]                   


Global      All known lists, one line per list, sent as a (large!) file. Only LISTSERV maintainers may request this list, as it has become a favorite pastime of Internet mailbombers to issue LIST GLOBAL commands on behalf of users whose mailboxes they wish to bomb. You should direct users who request "the whole list of lists" to L-Soft's CataList service at the WWW URL http://www.lsoft.com/catalist.html.


Starting with 1.8e, additional options available for site maintainers are


OWNED BY internet_address

Returns a list of local lists owned by the userid@host specified. Wildcards are acceptable.

MODerated BY internet_address

Returns a list of local lists moderated by the userid@host specified. Wildcards are acceptable.




Regenerate all LISTSERV network tables, or just compile the links weight file (debugging command). This happens automatically when LISTSERV is rebooted if a new BITEARN NODES file is found. Otherwise you should issue a NODESGEN whenever you update BITEARN NODES.


PUT listname LIST


Create a new list. Requires the CREATEPW for validation when issued from a remote node.  You may specify initial subscribers, one per line, following the list header when creating a list. See also the PUTALL command at 6.2.2.


PWC function


Password file management:


ADD user newpw

Define a password for the specified user

DELete user

Delete password for that user

Query user

Query the password of the specified user


REGister name|OFF FOR user


Set or delete a user's SIGNUP FILE entry




SERVE user OFF permanently suspends access from an abusive user or gateway (restore service with SERVE user).


The following options were added in LISTSERV 14.3:


Adding "DROP" (for example, SERVE user OFF DROP) to the command is identical to SERVE user OFF except that the postmaster will not receive any notification messages from LISTSERV when/if the user continues to try to post.


Issuing a SERVE LIST command causes LISTSERV to return a list of all users who are currently served off or who are spam-quarantined.  For instance,


> serve list

JOE@EXAMPLE.COM                     DROP 2003-08-20 15:51:20 by nathan@EXAMPLE.COM


FOOBAR@EXAMPLE.EDU                  HARD 2003-04-07 14:55:29 by NATHAN@EXAMPLE.COM


BLAB@FOO.EXAMPLE.COM                SOFT 2004-09-14 10:53:18


SPAMMER@SPAMDOMAIN.COM              SPAM 2003-08-20 15:50:55


4 matching entries.





Stop the server. Under VM and OpenVMS only, REBOOT or REIPL are also allowed as options to the SHUTDOWN command. Under unix and Windows, the REBOOT or REIPL feature is not available and these options, if issued, are ignored and the server is simply shut down, requiring a manual restart.






The following commands are available only on VM servers:


CMS command_text


Issue a CMS command and get the last 20 lines of response sent back to you, the rest being available from the console log


CP command_text


Issue a CP command and get up to 8k of response data sent to you (the rest is lost)


DATAbase function


Control operation of databases:



Disable interactive database access, without shutting down existing sessions


Re-enable interactive access


Shut down all interactive database sessions, and disable interactive access

INSTALL function


Software update procedure (LISTSERV-NJE only):


CLEANUP shipment

Remove an installed shipment from the log




Remove all shipments installed before that date

PASSWORD shipment PW=instpw



Confirm installation of a shipment, when requested by LISTSERV

RELOAD shipment

Attempt to reload a shipment which failed due to a disk full condition


Get a list of installed "shipments"




Suspend processing of reader files and disable the GET command




Cancel OFFLINE condition


PUTC fn ft <fm|cuu|dirid> <RECFM=F LRECL=nnn>             


Update a CMS file on one of LISTSERV's R/W minidisks; note that this is similar to SENDFILE + RECEIVE or LINK + COPYFILE and should NOT be used to update file-server files


SENDFile fn ft <fm|cuu|dirid>            


Request the server to send you a file from one of its disks






SHOW <function>


In addition to the standard SHOW functions available on other servers, VM servers support the following functions:



CPU/disk/paging benchmarks


Statistics about EXECLOADed REXX files


Statistics about LSVFILER file cache


Statistics about PREXX functions usage


Information about available disk space and virtual storage




Stop or reboot the server (the two options are synonyms meaning to restart the server after shutting it down). REBOOT or REIPL are also allowed as options to the SHUTDOWN command under OpenVMS, but are not available under unix or Windows.


Note: some debugging commands and options have been omitted.


6.4. Sending commands to LISTSERV


You will see numerous references to "sending commands to LISTSERV" in this and other L-Soft manuals. All LISTSERV commands are sent to the server either by email or (in LISTSERV 1.8d and following) via the web administration interface described in Chapter 11. For mailed commands, this means that you must create a new mail message using whatever command this requires for your mail client (click on "New message" or its equivalent for most mail clients) addressed to the LISTSERV address. Let’s say for the sake of argument that the list you are managing is running on a server called LISTSERV.MYCORP.COM. In order to send a command to that server, you would create a new message and address it to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.MYCORP.COM , and place the command(s) in the body (not the subject) of the message.


Depending on how you have security set up for your lists, some or all commands may require that you validate them with a personal LISTSERV password.


6.5. Defining Personal Passwords


The passwords recognized by LISTSERV for various operations (assuming that the NOPW parameter is not used with the "Validate=" keyword) are of two distinct types:


·         Personal Passwords.  LISTSERV can store a personal password in its signup files corresponding to your userid. This password not only can be used for list maintenance operations, but also protects your FUI (file update information) and AFD (automatic file distribution) subscriptions (if available on your server) and must be used to store your archive files, if any, on the server.


·         List Passwords.  Beginning with 1.8c, list passwords are obsolete (we are mentioning them here only because users upgrading from earlier versions will be aware of their existence). You should define and use a personal password for all protected operations.


To add a personal password, send mail to LISTSERV with the command


PW ADD newpassword


in the body of the message. LISTSERV will request a confirmation via the "OK" mechanism (see above) before it adds the password.


If you want to remove your password altogether, send the command




This command will also require confirmation.


And finally, if you simply want to change your personal password, send the command


PW CHANGE newpassword [PW=oldpassword]


If you do not include the old password in the command (e.g., you’ve forgotten it), LISTSERV will request an "OK" confirmation. Otherwise, it will act on the command without need for further confirmation (unless, of course, the oldpassword provided is incorrect).


Personal passwords may also be defined via the web administration interface at login time.


7. Creating and Maintaining Lists

You can create and maintain lists from any userid listed in the POSTMASTER keyword of LISTSERV’s site configuration file. Note that a LISTSERV maintainer has the authority to GET and PUT any list, filelist, catalog, or archive file on the server (although for any list not set to "Send= Public", the LISTSERV maintainer must be subscribed to the list in order to post to it, and must additionally be a list Editor if the list is set to "Send= Editor...").


7.1. Basic list creation


At its simplest, creating a list is a matter of setting certain keywords to desired values in a file (called the "list header file") and storing the file in a place where LISTSERV can find it. The format of a typical list header file is relatively free-form, with only a few basic rules:


1.       All header lines (including those inserted for "white space") must begin with the character "*" (ASCII 0x2A).

2.       Header lines can be up to 100 characters long (including the initial "*" character).  However in practice you will probably want to limit them to no more than 80.

3.       All words ending with the character "=" (ASCII 0x3D) are evaluated as keywords.

4.       The first non-"white space" line of the header file is evaluated as the descriptive name of the mailing list, and will be displayed as such by the LIST command.


Additionally, for PUT operations, you must add a line of the format


PUT listname.LIST PW=password


to the top of the file before mailing it. This PUT line does not begin with an asterisk.  (Note that the filename for the list can be either in the format listname LIST or listname.list .  The "." character is not necessary, but the word LIST is always necessary.)


Here is a sample of a basic list header with its PUT command at the top:




* Title of sample LISTSERV list


* Review= Public      Subscription= Open           Send= Public

* Notify= Yes         Reply-to= List,Respect       Validate= No

* Notebook= Yes,A,Monthly,Public


* Owner= someone@somewhere.com


Figure 7.1. A sample list header.


The preferred method of creating a new list is as follows:


1.   Using a text editor, prepare a "list header", for instance using the sample in figure 7.1. You can also get the header of an existing (L-Soft) LISTSERV list and use it as a sample.


2.   The first line of the list header MUST be as follows:




      Replace "LISTNAME" with the name of your list, for example,




      Then replace "CCCCCCCC" after "PW=" with the value of "CREATEPW=" in your site configuration file.  If your CREATEPW is FIATLUX, then your complete PUT line for a list called MYLIST-L would be as follows:




      Note that one of the most common errors made by new LISTSERV users is to leave out the ".LIST" part of the PUT command. If you leave this part out, LISTSERV will bounce the header back to you with the comment that it does not have any file by the name "MYLIST-L PW=FIATLUX".


3.   Following the PUT line, you insert as many "list header" lines as you need (see the sample). Each of these lines MUST begin with an asterisk in column 1, for example,


   * Notebook= Yes,C:\LISTS\PUBLIC,Monthly,Public


      If your mail software indents paragraphs by default, you must turn off paragraph indentation, or an attempt to store the list will be returned to you with a message that there did not appear to be any list header lines.


      Each "list header" line contains information needed by LISTSERV to operate your list. Most of this information is provided by you in the form of values for standard keywords. You can use the sample header provided above as an example; a complete list of keywords recognized by LISTSERV along with descriptions of their functions can be found in Appendix B of of this manual.


4.   Mail the resulting file to the LISTSERV address.


      The "LISTSERV address" is the address formed by "LISTSERV@" + the value you defined in the site configuration file for NODE=. For instance, if you defined NODE=XYZ.COM, the LISTSERV address would be LISTSERV@XYZ.COM.


      This mail must be sent as Internet mail from a username defined as a "postmaster" in the LISTSERV configuration. For instance, from a VMS™ system, you would save your list file (say, in a file called 'newlist.create'), and then do:


   $ mail

   MAIL> send newlist.create

   To: in%"listserv@xyz.com"





      Or, from a unix® system:


   $ mail listserv@xyz.com < newlist.create


      On a PC, you would use your POP client or other GUI-based mail program. Make sure to cut+paste the file via the Clipboard and not send it as an "attachment" or use drag and drop. "Attachment" mechanisms are often proprietary or PC-specific and cannot be guaranteed to work. Sending plain text pasted from the Clipboard always works.


The above is the preferred method for creating and editing list headers. LISTSERV will respond with a report that either the list has been successfully created or that various problems (fatal and/or non-fatal) have been detected. If only non-fatal problems are detected, the list will be stored anyway (non-fatal problems include no list password having been defined). Any fatal problem detected will abort the storage operation.


A less-desirable method of creating lists is to copy the list header file into LISTSERV’s main directory and restart LISTSERV. LISTSERV will log a message to the effect that the list is not formatted properly and will then reformat the list. This assumes that the list header has been constructed properly and that there are no errors in the file that will cause LISTSERV to crash or to reject the list file. This method is useful only for creating lists; never attempt to edit a production list file in place and restart the server. The GET and PUT operations are the only supported methods for editing list files. Particularly under unix and Windows, LISTSERV will not always accept the edited list file because some editors will insert control characters or CR-LF combinations that LISTSERV cannot parse. Under VM or VMS, it is always possible that hand-editing the list will introduce some sequence that will cause an operational error. L-Soft suggests that this method be used sparingly, if at all, and does not support it. The first method is always preferable to the second.


BITNET users may also use the LSVPUT utility to store lists on BITNET-connected servers. However, LSVPUT is not documented here as the number of sites with BITNET connectivity is dropping rapidly and fewer and fewer users will be using LSVPUT.


7.2. Architecture-Specific Steps for List Creation


7.2.1. Unix: Creating required Sendmail aliases


This section is for use only by Unix sites running Sendmail.


Please note that the file you need to edit in this step, and the commands you need to issue will require root privileges. Also, while the procedure for manually modifying the sendmail aliases file is described below, you can also enter "make list name=listname" (where listname is the name of the list) to have the installation program complete this step automatically. The automated procedure assumes that your sendmail stores aliases in the file /etc/aliases, that the "newaliases" command will rebuild the aliases database, and finally that "kill -HUP `cat /etc/sendmail.pid`" will cause Sendmail to read in the updated alias list.


LISTSERV accepts and responds to several e-mail addresses. Even before you setup mailing lists, mail sent to listserv and owner-listserv should be handed to LISTSERV (see the installation guide for details). The link between LISTSERV and your mail system is the lsv_amin program. If you are running Sendmail, the best way to route incoming mail to lsv_amin is by adding entries to your "aliases" file. Refer to the manual pages for sendmail on your system if you are not sure where the alias file is stored. On many systems the file will be called /etc/aliases.


Once you have constructed a list header file, and sent it to your Unix LISTSERV server, you need to instruct your mail system to route mail for that new list to the LISTSERV mail interface. That involves adding entries to your aliases file, much as you did when installing the server itself. For each new list, you'll need to add eight entries to the aliases file. The format of those lines is as follows,


NAME: "|/BBB/lsv_amin /SSS NAME"

owner-NAME: "|/BBB/lsv_amin /SSS owner-NAME"

NAME-request: "|/BBB/lsv_amin /SSS NAME-request"

NAME-search-request: "|/BBB/lsv_amin /SSS NAME-search-request"

NAME-server: "|/BBB/lsv_amin /SSS NAME-server"

NAME-signoff-request: "|/BBB/lsv_amin /SSS NAME-signoff-request"

NAME-subscribe-request: "|/BBB/lsv_amin /SSS NAME-subscribe-request"

NAME-unsubscribe-request: "|/BBB/lsv_amin /SSS NAME-unsubscribe-request"


where "NAME" is the name of the mailing list, "/BBB" in the directory where the mail interface was installed (BINDIR in the Makefile), and "/SSS" is the LISTSERV spool directory (LSVSPOOL in the Makefile). Note that "/SSS" can be either:


·         An explicit directory definition, for example, /var/spool/listserv ; or

·         The switch -t , which is equivalent to the value in LSVSPOOL. (Note that the "make list" command makes aliases using -t.)


Note: If you use the precompiled copy of lsv_amin from the distribution kit rather than compiling your own from the source at install time, you cannot use the -t switch because the LSVSPOOL value is not compiled into the precompiled program.


For example, assuming the default values were chosen for BINDIR and LSVSPOOL, the aliases for a new list called "mylist" (using the -t option) would be,


mylist: "|/usr/local/bin/lsv_amin -t mylist"

owner-mylist: "|/usr/local/bin/lsv_amin -t owner-mylist"

mylist-request: "|/usr/local/bin/lsv_amin -t mylist-request"

mylist-search-request: "|/usr/local/bin/lsv_amin -t mylist-search-request"

mylist-server: "|/usr/local/bin/lsv_amin -t mylist-server"

mylist-signoff-request: "|/usr/local/bin/lsv_amin -t mylist-signoff-request"

mylist-subscribe-request: "|/usr/local/bin/lsv_amin -t mylist-subscribe-request"

mylist-unsubscribe-request: "|/usr/local/bin/lsv_amin -t mylist-unsubscribe-request"


(note that the aliases may not wrap to the next line in /etc/aliases)


If you should decide to use the explicit definition for the LSVSPOOL parameter, the aliases would look like this instead:


mylist: "|/usr/local/bin/lsv_amin /var/spool/listserv mylist"


and so forth. Once you've added the new aliases to the file, you need to issue the "newaliases" command and (on some systems) send your Sendmail daemon a hangup (HUP) signal before they will take effect.


7.2.2. OpenVMS: Creating required PMDF aliases


This section is for use only by OpenVMS sites running Innosoft International, Inc.'s PMDF® product, version 4.2 or later.


Please note that you will require system level privileges to edit the file in this step .


If PMDF is installed, in addition to the listserv and owner-listserv aliases which you've created in PMDF_ROOT:[TABLE]ALIASES at install time, you will need to add the following eight aliases for each new mailing list you create, where listname is the name of the list:


  listname:                   listname@LISTSERV

  owner-listname:             owner-listname@LISTSERV

  listname-request:           listname-request@LISTSERV

  listname-search-request:    listname-search-request@LISTSERV

  listname-server:            listname-server@LISTSERV

  listname-signoff-request:       listname-signoff-request@LISTSERV      

  listname-subscribe-request:    listname-subscribe-request@LISTSERV

  listname-unsubscribe-request:   listname-unsubscribe-request@LISTSERV


Note:  You can get around this bit of tediousness (and also solve a problem with address probing under VMS with PMDF as documented in 13.5.3, below) simply by creating a dedicated domain for LISTSERV (eg, LISTSERV.XYZ.COM) and adding a rewrite rule to redirect all traffic for that host to the LSV channel.  This also simplifies the creation of new lists since it is no longer necessary to make all of the PMDF aliases shown above every time you make a new list.


7.3. A sample checklist for creating lists


1.       Check to see that the list name is legal and not duplicated elsewhere. You can use the CataList (http://www.lsoft.com/catalist.html) as one resource for the latter.


2.       If Notebook= Yes, then make the appropriate directory and make sure that LISTSERV has appropriate r/w permissions in it.


3.       If Notebook= No but Digest= Yes, then make the appropriate directory and make sure that LISTSERV has appropriate r/w permissions in it.


4.       Optionally, add the list to the quota file (ISP scope licenses only; see chapter 19 for details)


5.       VM: Optionally, make a listname.FILELIST for this list (see chapter 8 for details)

Non-VM: Optionally, make an entry in SITE.CATALOG for a sub-catalog belonging to this list (see chapter 8 for details) and create a dummy listname.CATALOG in the specified directory.


6.       Non-VM: Optionally, assuming that Notebook= Yes and you have installed the web archive interface as described in chapter 5, create the listname directory under the base 'archives' directory. If you do this now, you won't have to GET/PUT the list header later to initialize things.


7.       Create and store the list header with the list owner and you as the only subscribers.


8.       Architecture-specific steps:


·         Unix, running Sendmail: Create the required Sendmail aliases for the list, either by hand or by using 'make list name=listname' . Note that this is a required step for unix servers; if you don't make the Sendmail aliases, the list won't work. See section 7.2.1 for details.


·         OpenVMS, running PMDF®: Create the required PMDF aliases for the list in PMDF_ROOT:[TABLE]ALIASES. Note that this is a required step for VMS servers running PMDF; if you don't make the aliases, the list won't work. See section 7.2.2 for details (and an alternative workaround).


9.       Send a boilerplate "your list has been created" message to the list as the final test that the list works--if it doesn't, go back and find out why, then return here. See Appendix D for a sample boilerplate message for this step, or use your own.


10.   Delete yourself from the list (assuming you don't want to be subscribed)


At this point the list should be ready for use.


7.4. Naming Conventions


When naming a list, there are a few conventions and restrictions that you should keep in mind.


The "-L" convention


The "-L" convention isn't required, but it can help people to realize that the mail is coming from a mailing list rather than from a real person.  The people we are referring to here are people who run Internet mail systems, who may see a great deal of mail coming from a single host and begin to wonder why.  If it comes from a userid that ends in a "-L", they will be more likely to recognize it as list mail.


Reserved names


You may not create lists whose names match the following wildcards:










For instance, lists cannot be made with names like "owner-loyalty", "linux-server", and "donation-request".  While it is physically possible to create a list with a name that matches one of the above wildcards, attempts to send mail to the list (for example, a list called "linux-server") will result in an error, logged as follows in the LISTSERV log:


4 Dec 2001 11:47:02 -> Invalid list (LINUX), generating bounce. 


These "pseudo-mailboxes" have a special meaning to LISTSERV, which has internal rules that govern how mail sent to these addresses is handled. See chapter 17.3 for more information on what happens to mail sent to these special addresses.


Reserved characters


Generally you want to avoid "special" characters such as the ones above the number keys on your keyboard.  For example, don't use:


!       which can be confused for "bang-path" addressing, for example, UUCP

@       which is a reserved character

#       which can cause problems with some mail software which uses it for addressing

$       which may have a special meaning to the unix shell

%       another addressing character that could cause problems

&       is sometimes reserved by non-unix systems (specifically on NT it has a special meaning to the shell). However, please note that use of this character in the name of a list or in a sendmail alias for a list will cause LISTSERV on unix to choke. Note that it is possible under unix to create a list with a "&" character in the name quite easily, and it is also possible to create a sendmail alias with a "&" character in the alias. That does not mean it will work.

*       is, of course, the wildcard character.

()     Parenthesis are generally reserved and can't be used in file names.

+       The plus character should be avoided because recent versions of sendmail deliver mail addressed to "user+whatever@somedomain" to "user@somedomain." Whether or not this is an intelligent thing to do on sendmail's part is left as an exercise for the user, but it can affect mail being sent to a list with a "+" character in the listname.

/       The slash character is reserved and can't be used in file names.

.       Although on some systems it is physically possible to create lists with a dot character in the name, LISTSERV will not accept this nomenclature.  The only place a dot can or should be used is before the word "LIST" in the PUT command; for example, PUT MYLIST-L.LIST is equivalent to PUT MYLIST-L LIST.

"       Double-quote characters are not allowed.


It is best if you avoid the use of special characters altogether and stick exclusively to the letters A-Z, numbers 0-9, and the underscore and hyphen characters when naming lists. Note that the "_" (underscore) character may cause problems with some non-compliant receiving systems. Also note that the space character (ASCII 0x20) is illegal in a list name, and L-Soft recommends that, although apostrophes (aka "single-quotes", ASCII 0x27) are valid in an RFC822 username, they not be used in list names since some mail programs may not accept them. (Prior to 1.8d, not all LISTSERV commands will work for lists whose names contain an apostrophe.)


If you have any question about the validity of a particular name, you can of course refer to RFC822 (http://nis.nsf.net/internet/documents/rfc/rfc822.txt) for the Internet standards for e-mail addressing.


Maximum length of the list name


The length of the list name (that is, the name of the list file and thus the "official" name of the list) is restricted as follows:


VM:                  8 characters

Non-VM:           unlimited (starting with 1.8c; but see below)


If you need a longer list name for a list running on a VM server, you should use the List-ID= keyword (see Appendix B).


PLEASE NOTE CAREFULLY that L-Soft recommends using names of 32 characters or less whenever possible as they provide for correct alignment of the results returned by certain commands. Very long (program generated) list names are likely to conflict with mail system limits and L-Soft recommends other solutions to the problem of dynamically generated lists. As a rule, list names in excess of 70 characters are likely to result in mail delivery problems.


Make it easy on your users


While you can (within limits) name a LISTSERV mailing list just about anything you want, you will probably want to follow a couple of simple guidelines:


1.         Keep the name simple.

2.         Keep the name as short as possible without causing confusion.


No doubt you could name a list MY-LIST-FOR-MATH-STUDIES, but who wants to type that?  Conversely, MLFMS-L wouldn't mean much to Joe Random User.  Somewhere in the middle is a reasonable compromise, for example, MATH-STUDIES (or even just MATH-S).


7.5. List Header Keywords and what they do


How a LISTSERV mailing list performs its tasks is defined by its header keywords.  There are several different categories of keywords, each of which is discussed below in general terms.  We will discuss these keywords in detail in subsequent chapters, and a complete alphabetical listing of list header keywords, including default settings and all options available, is provided in Appendix B.


Access Control Keywords.  These keywords designate the level of "openness" for a list.  They determine who can post to the list, who can review the list of subscribers, and whether or not the list is open to general subscription.


Distribution Keywords.   This group has to do with how LISTSERV distributes postings to subscribers, including whether or not acknowledgments are sent back to posters, how many postings may go through the list daily, whether or not the list is available in digest form and whether it is available to USENET through a gateway.  These keywords also determine whether or not list topics are enabled, and how LISTSERV will configure outgoing postings for replies.


Error Handling Keywords.  Included under this group are the keywords controlling automatic deletion, loop-checking, and to whom error messages are sent for disposition when received by LISTSERV.


List Maintenance and Moderation Keywords.  A fairly large group of keywords having to do with how the list is operated, including definitions for the list owner, list editor, and the list archive notebook; whether or not (and who) to notify when users subscribe and sign off; how often subscriptions must be renewed, and so forth.  These are perhaps the most basic keywords that can be set for a given list, and one of them ("Owner=") must be set for a list to operate.


Security Keywords.  These keywords control who can "see" the list (that is, whether or not the list appears in the List of Lists for a given user, based on the user's host site), whether or not the list is protected by a password, and the level of security necessary for changes to the list itself.  The "Exit=" keyword is also contained in this group.


Subscription Keywords.  These control whether or not the list is open to general subscriptions, whether or not a mailing path confirmation is required, and what user options are set by default upon subscription.


Other Keywords.  These control other aspects of list management that are not generally changed from their defaults, and which do not fit readily into the categories listed above.


7.6. Retrieving and editing the list – some considerations


Never attempt to hand-edit a production list file in place and restart the server. The GET and PUT operations are the only supported methods. Particularly under unix and Windows, LISTSERV will not always accept the hand-edited list file because some editors will insert control characters or CR-LF combinations that LISTSERV cannot parse. Under VM or VMS, it is always possible that hand-editing the list will introduce some sequence that will cause an operational error. L-Soft suggests that this method be used sparingly, if at all, and does not support it.


Once the list has been created, you can have a copy of the list sent to you for editing purposes.  Simply issue the GET listname command to LISTSERV.  This will cause the server to mail you a copy of the entire list (header and subscriber list).


If you want to change header keyword settings only, it is probably advisable to issue the GET command with the (HEADER switch:


GET listname (HEADER


The GET command automatically locks the list so that no changes can be made to the operating copy on the server until you do one of two things:


     Issue the UNLOCK listname command (if you decide no changes are needed)

     Send the list back to the server with the PUT command.


Leaving the list locked also prevents new subscribers from signing up. It is therefore not advisable to leave the list locked for long periods of time. This necessitates remembering to issue the UNLOCK command if you decide not to make any changes.


It is possible to request that LISTSERV not lock the list when it is sent to you. This is accomplished by adding the (NOLOCK switch to the GET command. You can use (NOLOCK and (HEADER together as in the following example:




(Note that the "(" switch character is used only once.)


CAUTION:  It is not advisable to use the (NOLOCK switch in at least two cases:


     Don't use the (NOLOCK switch if you are not the sole owner of the list.  This prevents conflicting GETs and PUTs by different list owners.  For instance, Owner(A) GETs the list without locking it.  Owner(B) then also GETs the list.  The owners make differing changes to the list header.  Owner(B) PUTs his changes back first.  Owner(A) then PUTs his changes back, erasing every change Owner(B) made.  If Owner(A) had not used the (NOLOCK switch, Owner(B) would not have been able to GET a copy of the list until Owner(A) either unlocked the list or PUT his copy back.  (Owner(B) could also unlock the list himself, but it would be advisable to ask Owner(A) if he was finished editing the list header before doing so.)


     Don't use the (NOLOCK switch if you get the entire list rather than just the header.  You will erase all subscriptions for users who subscribed between the time you GET the list and PUT the list back.  It is easier to deal with questions as to why they got the "listname has been locked since time by list-owner" message than to explain why they got a subscription confirmation and now aren't getting list mail.


Another caution (1.8c and earlier): If you GET the header with the (HEADER switch, do not add new subscribers "on the fly" to the bottom of the header.  If you do, your subsequent PUT will replace the entire list online with what you have sent, canceling the subscriptions of every user on the list (except for the ones you added to the header).


Under 1.8d and following the above problem has been alleviated by the new PUTALL command and a modification to PUT. A PUT command containing new subscribers added "on the fly" will result in only the header of the list being updated and a warning being generated that says if you really wanted to PUT the entire list, subscribers and all, that you should use the PUTALL command.


LISTSERV maintainers should note one further caution:  It is considered extremely inadvisable to "hand-edit" subscriber lists, as columns at the far right of each subscriber's entry contain list control codes corresponding to the subscriber's personal option settings.  The only case in which it might be appropriate to "hand-edit" would be to delete a user entirely, and then only if all attempts to delete the user via the DELETE command fail. For instance, X.400 or X.500 addresses can cause DELETE to fail because of their use of the "/" character. You can use wildcards to delete these subscriptions:




 You can also enclose the address in double quotes:




7.7. Adding a list password (obsolete since 1.8c)


This section is retained for compatibility with those sites still running 1.8b or earlier.


When creating the list, the LISTSERV maintainer should assign a password for the list. However, note that in 1.8c and later, if the LISTSERV maintainer does not assign a password at the time of the list's creation, LISTSERV will generate a random password for the list. This random password can be changed later, but until and unless it is changed, administrators must provide their personal LISTSERV password (created with the "PW ADD password" command) when updating the list.


Compatibility note: When upgrading to LISTSERV 1.8d and later from 1.8b or earlier, lists without passwords will not be altered during the upgrade. However, the first PUT operation for such lists after the upgrade will cause LISTSERV to add the random password to the list. List owners should be encouraged prior to the upgrade to create personal passwords for themselves with the "PW ADD password" command (if they have not done so already) and plan to use those passwords after the upgrade.


The list owner can change this password when storing the list (with the "PW=" keyword), but the first time the list owner stores the list, the original password or the list owner's personal password must be used. Note that not all LISTSERV maintainers assign list passwords by default; the new random password feature addresses that. However, for pre-1.8c servers it is highly recommended that one be assigned by adding a "PW=" header line as follows:




Replace "MYPASSWD" with the word chosen. Note that there should not be a space between "PW=" and the password. The list password is never changed unless specified explicitly in the list header when it is stored on the server. For additional security, the list password will not appear in the list header on subsequent GETs; to all intents and purposes it is invisible once it is assigned.


L-Soft’s position on list passwords is that they have become obsolete with version 1.8c (they were actually obsolete as far back as 1987), and that personal passwords should be used instead to validate commands (such as the PUT command).


7.8. Storing a modified list on the host machine


(If you are creating a list, see 7.1. These instructions are for storing a list once it already exists on the server, for instance, if changes have been made to the list header after a GET operation.)


When you are ready to store your list on the host, include the list file in a mail message to LISTSERV.  Ensure that the PW=XXXXXXXX command is in the first line of the mail body.   Then send the message.


If LISTSERV has trouble processing the edited list file, it will return a discrepancy report to you with each error noted.  If the errors are categorized as "warnings only", LISTSERV will go ahead and store the list. However, if any one error is categorized as a serious error that could actually affect the correct operation of the list, the list will not be stored and the old version will be retained.  (For instance, creating a list with no list password defined in the header will generate a "soft" error under 1.8b and before, and the list will be stored.  On the other hand, setting a list to "Send= Editor" and not defining an editor with "Editor=" is considered a "hard" error, and you will have to fix the error before LISTSERV will accept the list for storage.)


Caution: If you are using a mailer such as Eudora, Pegasus, Pine or Microsoft Mail that allows "attachments" to mail, do not "attach" the list file to your mail message.  It must be in plain text with the PUT line at the top. LISTSERV will not translate encoded attachments.


If your mail software inserts page formatting (margins) or quoting characters (such as ">") in forwarded mail, you need to either turn these features off or you must cut and paste the header into a new mail message.  The PUT line MUST be on the first line of the message, and all header lines including the PUT MUST start in column 1. Specific problems have been noted with cc:Mail (where top and left margins get inserted) and with certain POP clients including Eudora and Microsoft Exchange (where forwarded mail is quoted with ">" by default).


Also, be sure to turn off your signature file (if you use one) before sending a PUT command to LISTSERV.  If you don't, LISTSERV will attempt to parse the data in your signature file as RFC822 addresses to be added to the list, and you will receive either an error to the effect that the file includes invalid RFC822 addresses and it has therefore not been stored, or a warning that your PUT operation contains new subscriber information and only the list header has been stored (see 7.6 for information on the PUTALL command).


7.9. Fixing mistakes


LISTSERV always backs up the current list file before it stores a new copy. Should you discover that you have made a mistake (for instance, you have deleted all users by storing a header and adding users "on the fly"), it is possible to retrieve the previous copy of the list by issuing a GET listname (OLD command to the host server. You must then add the PUT listname LIST PW=XXXXXXXX command to the top of the file and store it. (In LISTSERV 1.8d and later you should use the PUTALL command for this purpose since you will be storing the entire list, not just the header.)


It is also possible for the LISTSERV maintainer to restore the list by deleting or moving the listname.LIST file from LISTSERV's A directory and renaming the listname.OLDLIST file to listname.LIST. Naturally this method requires that the LISTSERV maintainer in question have appropriate access to LISTSERV's files and directories or be able to log in as the 'listserv' user.


7.10. A sample list header file


A basic list header file for a list to be created might look like this (CREATEPW must be replaced with the appropriate password):



* The Descriptive Title of My List


* Owner= NATHAN@EXAMPLE.COM (Nathan Brindle)

* Notebook= Yes,E:\LISTS\MYLIST,Monthly,Public

* Errors-To= Owner

* Subscription= Open,Confirm

* Ack= Yes                 Confidential= No             

* Validate= No

* Reply-to= List,Respect   Review= Public

* Send= Public

* Default-Options= NoRepro,NoMIME


* This list installed on 96/06/02, running under L-Soft's LISTSERV-TCP/IP

* for Windows NT.


* Comment lines...


Figure 7.2. A sample list header file for a list called MYLIST.


A list owner might take the created list and modify it as shown below. Note that the PUT command has been modified to include the password you've assigned with the PW ADD command.



* The Descriptive Title of My List


* Owner= NATHAN@EXAMPLE.COM (Nathan Brindle)

* Owner= Quiet:

* Owner= nathan@linus.dc.example.com

* Owner= ncbnet@linus.dc.example.com

* Notebook= Yes,E:\LISTS\MYLIST,Monthly,Public

* Auto-Delete= Yes,Full-Auto

* Errors-To= ncbnet@linus.dc.example.com

* Subscription= Open,Confirm

* Ack= Yes                 Confidential= No              Notify= No

* Mail-Via= Distribute     Validate= No                  Send= Public

* Reply-to= List,Respect   Review= Public                X-Tags= Yes

* Default-Options= NoRepro,NoMIME


* This list installed on 96/06/02, running under L-Soft's LISTSERV-TCP/IP

* for Windows NT.


* Comment lines...


Figure 7.3. The edited list header file ready to be sent back to the server.


7.11. Deleting a list


For security reasons, LISTSERV does not have an explicit command for deleting lists. The LISTSERV administrator simply deletes the list file from the system command prompt with the appropriate file system command (CMS ERASE for VM, DEL for VMS, ERASE for Windows, rm for Unix). A suggested procedure for deleting an established list (one with archives and so forth) follows:


1.       Back up any files you wish to keep, such as notebook archives


2.       For a digested list, you may want to send a QUIET SET listname NODIGEST FOR *@* command. This will cause LISTSERV to send out its accumulated digest to those who were set to DIGEST mode. If the list hasn't been active or if it's not digestified, you don't need to take this step.


3.       Delete the listname.LIST file with the appropriate file system command.


4.       If the list has web archives, delete the /archives/listname.html file and the /archives/listname/listname.ind* files. You can also remove the /archives/listname directory at this time.


5.        Although it is not absolutely necessary, stopping and restarting LISTSERV will complete the procedure. If you do not stop and restart LISTSERV, LISTSERV will fairly quickly notice that the list is gone, and will take care of this on its own.


7.12. Adding HTML to a list header for the CataList


L-Soft's CataList service allows users to search the global list of LISTSERV lists via the World Wide Web. Adding an HTML description to a list is easy, and can do a lot to enhance the appearance of a list in the database. All the list owner or LISTSERV maintainer has to do is update the list header and add the text of your choice. Here is an example:


* The coffee lovers' list


* Review= Public    Subscription= Open         Send= Public

* Notify= Yes       Reply-to= List,Respect

* Notebook= Yes,L,Monthly,Public


* Owner=  claudia@espresso.xyz.it (Claudia Serafino)


* <HTML>

* COFFEE-LOVERS is an open list for, well, coffee lovers! Our

* motto is: <cite>"Instant – just say no!"</cite>

* That's pretty much our whole charter, although there are a

* few other <a href="http://www.coffee.org/charter.html">

* rules</a> that you may want to read before joining. For

* instance, we don't allow flame wars about decaf: if you like it,

* well, it's your body after all.


* <p>The list is maintained by

* <a href="http://www.coffee.org/claudia.html">Claudia

* Serafino</a> (that's me!) and you will find all sorts of

* useful info about coffee on my home page.

* </HTML>



In other words, you just insert your HTML text in the list header and bracket it with <HTML> and </HTML> tags (these tags tell the web interface where the HTML text begins and ends – they are not actually sent to the web browser). There are three simple rules that you must follow when inserting your HTML data:


1.       The <HTML> and </HTML> tags must appear on a separate line, as shown in the example above. You cannot have anything else on that line and, in particular, you cannot mix keyword definitions with HTML data.


2.       The HTML data you are providing is embedded into the document shown by the web interface when users query your list. Because you are given some space between two horizontal rules on an existing page, rather than a whole new page. you should not include tags that affect the whole document, like for instance <TITLE>.


3.       While this procedure is compatible with all versions of LISTSERV, there are a few restrictions on the placement of equal signs within your HTML text with versions that do not have any specific support for the <HTML> and </HTML> markers. In practice, you can ignore this rule unless you get an error message while storing your list.


When reformatting your list header description for HTML, bear in mind that the text will not always be viewed using a web browser. It is best to keep the formatting as clear as possible and minimize the usage of HTML tags, since there are still many people without WWW access. For instance, do not hesitate to use white space between paragraphs for clarity.


7.12.1. Update latency


Barring network outages, a list header update takes a maximum of 24h to be reflected in the distributed LISTS database. Database updates are usually scheduled to be broadcast at night, so the changes take place overnight. Once the LISTS database has been updated, it can take a maximum of 24h for the frozen copy of the database used by the web interface to be updated. In most cases, both the LISTS database and its frozen copy on the web server will be updated overnight. However, if the site hosting your lists is several time zones west of the site hosting the web server, and if that server only updates itself once a day, you may have to wait two days for your update to be reflected.


7.12.2. Inserting a pointer to another list


Sometimes it may be useful to link a number of related lists together so that the viewer can quickly examine all the lists without having to go back to the search screen and retyping the names you are providing. You can do this using the special HTML sequence:


<!--#listref listname@hostname-->


This sequence is internally translated to an <a> tag with a URL that will bring up information about the list you indicated. You must then provide a suitable caption and a closing </a> tag. Example:


Don't forget to take a look at

<!--#listref COFFEE-L@COFFEE.ORG-->

the coffee list!</a>


7.12.3. Restrictions on the placement of equal signs


While all versions of LISTSERV are supported, servers which have no specific support for the <HTML> and </HTML> tags will process your HTML data as an ordinary list header line and attempt to determine whether it contains a list header keyword or descriptive text. The exact algorithms vary from one version to another, but in general the parser looks for a single word followed by an equal sign. With HTML text, it is possible (if unlikely) to generate such patterns. Here is an example:



* Sample list with problem pattern


* <HTML>

* For more information on the list, just check <a

* href="http://www.xyz.edu/mypage.html">my home page.</a>

* </HTML>



In that case, you can just reorder the HTML data so that the equal sign does not appear in this position. Alternatively, if the equal sign was meant to be actually displayed as an equal sign (as opposed to being part of some HTML tag), you can use the HTML escape sequence &#61; instead.


7.13. How to set up lists for specific purposes


Under LISTSERV 1.8d and later, you can create certain types of lists from standard templates via the web. See chapter 11.9, below, for information on how to access the web-based server administration interface.


7.13.1. Public discussion lists


Public discussion lists have always been the "classic" type of LISTSERV mailing list.  Such lists are available to discuss just about everything imaginable. In the last few years it has become desirable to secure mailing lists against random spamming and mailbombing, but no discussion of different types of lists would really be complete without talking about this kind of list.


Typically, a public discussion list is wide-open (although some things, like the ability to review the subscribership, may be restricted). Anyone can subscribe (with a confirmation to verify the mailing path), anyone can post, anyone can read the messages in the archives, and security is set fairly low. Very large lists (hundreds or even thousands of users with hundreds of postings every week) may likely be set up this way as it is a "low-maintenance" way to run a list (and most spams tend to be caught by LISTSERV's anti-spamming filters anyway). For instance you might have




* My public discussion list (MYLIST-L)

* Subscription= Open,Confirm

* Ack= Yes

* Confidential= No

* Validate= No

* Reply-to= List,Respect

* Review= Owners        Send= Public      Errors-To= Owner

* Owner= joe@example.com

* Notebook= Yes,E:\LISTS\MYLIST-L,Weekly,Public


For more security, you might want to code


* Validate= Yes,Confirm


and if you want to cut down on the amount of "me-too"ism on the list, you could set


* Reply-to= Sender,Respect


to force the default Reply-To: header to point back to the original poster instead of to the list. Note that the ",Respect" option means that if a user sends mail to the list that contains a "Reply-To:" header pointing back to the list (unlikely that this may be), LISTSERV will "respect" that header and use it. If you absolutely do not want this to be possible, you should code


* Reply-to= Sender,Ignore






PLEASE NOTE CAREFULLY: There is one major caveat with regard to the use of the Reply-To= list header keyword. Setting this parameter guarantees only one thing -- that LISTSERV will generate an appropriate RFC822 Reply-To: header in the mail it distributes to subscribers. THERE IS UNFORTUNATELY NO GUARANTEE THAT THE MAIL TRANSFER AGENT (MTA) OR MAIL CLIENT ON THE RECEIVING END WILL HONOR THE Reply-To: HEADER. This is because some mail clients, out-of-office robots, and Internet MTAs either simply do not recognize the existence of Reply-To: or do not implement it properly. Specifically RFC2076 "Common Internet Message Headers" reports that the use of Reply-To: is "controversial", that is, "The meaning and usage of this header is controversial, meaning that different implementors have chosen to implement the header in different ways. Because of this, such headers should be handled with caution and understanding of the different possible interpretations." (RFC2076, page 4). While L-Soft recognizes that it is sometimes important to provide an explicit Reply-To: header to indicate a response path, L-Soft cannot be held responsible for problems arising from the inability of a remote server to properly process Reply-To: headers.


7.13.2. Private discussion lists


Private discussion lists are similar to public discussion lists, but with varying restrictions on who may subscribe, who may post and who may view the archives. Such lists are relatively safe from random spamming since typically only a subscriber can post (but note that a spammer spoofing mail from a subscriber's address will probably be successful unless first caught by the anti-spamming filters). For instance:


* My private discussion list (PRIVATE-L)

* Subscription= By_Owner

* Ack= Yes

* Confidential= Service

* Validate= No

* Reply-to= List,Respect

* Review= Owners

* Send= Private

* Errors-To= Owner

* Owner= joe@example.com

* Notebook= Yes,E:\LISTS\PRIVATE-L,Weekly,Public


is a low-security private discussion list where subscriptions requests are passed on to the list owner(s) for review, only subscribers may post, and only subscribers may view the list archives.  Here again, for more security you might want to set "Validate= Yes,Confirm", and of course you can have replies go to the original poster rather than to the list with "Reply-To= Sender,Respect" (with the same caveats as noted above in 7.13.1).


7.13.3. Edited lists


An edited list is one which requires a human editor to approve messages sent to the list. Some list software and most USENET newsgroups refer to this as "moderation", but to avoid confusion between two types of moderated LISTSERV lists, the present example will be referred to as an "edited" list.


Examples of edited lists range from refereed electronic journals to lists where the list owner simply wishes to exercise control over which postings are allowed to go to the list.


To set up a basic edited list, simply add


* Send= Editor

* Editor= someuser@somehost.com


to the basic list header. Note that the primary Editor= specification (that is, the first editor defined by an Editor= keyword for the list) must be a human person who will be able to act on postings sent to him or her for approval. You may not use an access-level specification (such as "Owner") when defining the primary editor for a list.


Please note that L-Soft recommends setting "Send= Editor,Confirm" so as to add a level of security against malicious users forging mail from an "Editor=" address to get around your moderation settings, or against badly-configured "vacation" programs that simply reflect the message back to the list in a manner that makes it appear that the mail is coming from the editor’s address. The "Confirm" option causes LISTSERV to request an "OK" confirmation from an editor when it receives mail claiming to be from that editor.


You can define multiple editors, but only the first editor will receive postings for approval. Anyone defined as an editor may post directly to the list without further intervention. Multiple editors can be defined on separate Editor= lines or can be grouped several on a line, for example,


* Editor= someuser@somehost.com,anotheruser@anotherhost.com

* Editor= yetanotheruser@his.host.com


To approve postings with the above configuration, the editor simply forwards (or "resends", or "bounces"--the terminology is unclear between various mail programs) the posting back to the list address after making any desired changes to the content. This should be done with a mail program that supports "Resent-" fields; if "Resent-" fields are not found by LISTSERV in the headers of the approved posting, the posting will appear as coming from the editor's address rather than from the original poster. If your mail program does not support "Resent-" fields, you should use the "Send= Editor,Hold" option and approve messages with the "OK" mechanism described below.


If you do not need to physically edit the content of your users' posts (for instance, to remove anything considered "off-topic" or to remove included mail headers and so forth), you can code


* Send= Editor,Hold


The "Hold" parameter causes LISTSERV to send you a copy of the posting along with a "command confirmation request". To approve the posting, you simply reply to the confirmation request with "ok".


For security purposes, you can code


* Send= Editor,Confirm


which will cause LISTSERV to request a command confirmation ("ok") from the editor sending the approved posting back to the list. This makes it impossible for an outside user to "spoof" mail from an Editor address.


Naturally, you can also code


* Send= Editor,Hold,Confirm


Finally, please note that the NOPOST subscriber option will take precedence over Editor=, if set for someone defined as an editor. This means that if you have "Default-Options= NOPOST"  for your list and you add an editor as a subscriber, you will have to manually reset the editor to POST (with "SET listname POST FOR userid@host") before things will work properly. You will know that this is necessary if your editor can successfully approve postings but is then told that he or she cannot post to the list.


7.13.4. Moderated lists


Note:  The Moderator= keyword is disabled in LISTSERV Lite.


A moderated list is similar to an edited list, but for LISTSERV's purposes it refers to a list that uses the Moderator= list header keyword to "load-share" posting approvals among several editors. It is set up similarly to an edited list, as follows:


* Send= Editor,Confirm

* Editor= someuser@somehost.com

* Moderator= someuser@somehost.com,anotheruser@anotherhost.com

* Moderator= yetanotheruser@his.host.com


This list will "load-share" the approval process between the three moderators, who will each receive one-third of the postings for approval. Note that a primary editor should still be defined.


If it is desired to have one editor handle more than a single share of the approvals, you simply define the editor more than once in Moderator=.  For instance,


* Send= Editor,Confirm

* Editor= someuser@somehost.com

* Moderator= someuser@somehost.com,anotheruser@anotherhost.com

* Moderator= someuser@somehost.com,yetanotheruser@his.host.com


would cause every other posting to be forwarded to someuser@somehost.com for approval.


Beginning with 1.8c, if the parameter "All" is coded at the beginning of the list of moderators, LISTSERV will send copies of all postings to all moderators, any of whom may approve the message. An example of this would be


* Moderator= All,kent@net.police.net,joe@bar.edu


Please note that something like


* Moderator= kent@net.police.net,All,joe@bar.edu,alex@reges.com


is not valid. "All" must appear at the beginning of the list of moderators.


Assuming "Send= Editor, Hold", once a message is approved by one of the moderators, any other moderator attempting to approve the same message will be told that the message cannot be found and has probably expired (since the cookie for that message will be gone).


If the message body is edited in any way before it is approved (i.e., by forwarding an edited copy back to the list), and more than one moderator is involved, duplicates are possible. Thus it is important that the moderators of any list set up this way pay close attention to whether or not the posting has already been approved by another moderator. Note carefully that this means  if the "All" parameter is used in "Moderator=" with "Send= Editor" (that is, without the "Hold" parameter), again a separate synchronization method will have to be used to prevent duplicates, as two moderators are unlikely to make exactly the same edits to the message. Even if LISTSERV were able to identify the two submissions as being the same message, it would not know which to choose over the other.


The "Hold" and "Confirm" options for "Send=" can also be used with these examples, if desired. L-Soft recommends that "Confirm" be used by default.


Note carefully that the NOPOST subscriber option will take precedence over both Editor= and Moderator=, if set for someone so defined. This means that if you have "Default-Options= NOPOST"  for your list and you add an editor or a moderator as a subscriber, you will have to manually reset the editor to POST (with "SET listname POST FOR userid@host") before things will work properly. You will know that this is necessary if your editor or moderator can successfully approve postings but is then told that he or she cannot post to the list.


Moderation "OK" requests and MIME attachment display:  In versions previous to LISTSERV 1.8e, an OK confirmation request for a message coming to a moderated list displayed the message to be approved in its "raw" format; that is, there was no attempt made to display/decode MIME attachments that might be present in the message to be approved.  LISTSERV 1.8e addresses the problem by including a copy of the first text/plain part (if one exists in the message) for the purpose of quick screening.  The following restrictions apply:


1. This is only done for MIME messages (even simple single-part ones, but they must have MIME headers).


2. The text part in question is sent pretty much 'as is', that is, as an extra text/plain part in the message, with all the options and encoding and what not supplied in the original message. The reason is quite simply that it would be a lot of work and, in some extreme cases (incompatible code page, etc), completely impossible, to embed it into the first text/plain part with the LISTSERV message. The drawback is that some mail agents might conceivably only show the first part until you take some kind of clicking action.


It is important to understand that only the first text/plain part is extracted in this fashion. The goal was to make it easier to approve or reject simple text messages, not to build a factory around a simple problem. The ENTIRE message is available at an extra click.


Where security is a concern, it is important to review the ENTIRE original message and not just the plain text part. There could be an obscene GIF or another text part or a text/html part not matching the contents of the text/plain part or whatever. This is why, again, you are given the ENTIRE original message.


List owners using certain email clients (specifically Pine, which handles attachments in a secondary viewing area) may find the new format difficult to use. If preferred, the pre-1.8e behavior may be reverted to by specifying "NOMIME" in the Send= list header keyword; for instance,


* Send= Editor,Hold,NoMIME


7.13.5. Semi-moderated lists


"Semi-moderation" was developed some years ago after a great debate on whether or not an "urgent" message should be allowed to be posted to an edited list without having to go through the approval process. Although this option is still available, it can be misused by anyone who knows about it, and is therefore not generally recommended for use. However, should this feature be deemed necessary, it is activated by setting


* Send= Editor,Semi-Moderated


Then anyone needing to send an "urgent" message to the list simply types "Urgent:" in the subject line of their mail, followed by the subject of the message. Messages that do not have the "Urgent:" subject are forwarded to the list editor for approval as usual.


7.13.6. Self-moderated lists


So-called "self-moderated" lists were invented in 1993 or 1994 when the current epidemic of spamming was beginning to get cranked up and before the "spam filter" was developed by L-Soft. With the spam filter in operation, self-moderation is not as much of an issue anymore, but some lists still run this way.


Self-moderation takes advantage of the ability to make an access-level a secondary list editor, and is implemented as follows:


* Send= Editor,Confirm

* Editor= someone@someplace.com,(listname)


(The "Hold" and "Confirm" parameters for "Send=" may naturally be used if required. L-Soft recommends that "Confirm" be used by default.)


Usually, one of the list owners is the primary editor (here "someone@someplace.com") and the specification of (listname) makes all of the subscribers of the listname list editors, and thus eligible to send messages directly to the list without editor intervention. Postings from non-subscribers (e.g., spammers) are deflected to the primary owner for his or her disposition.


There is one caveat to this kind of list. If a user subscribes to the list, and later his mail address changes (for instance, the hostname changes slightly but mail sent to the old address is automatically forwarded to the new address), any postings from him to the list from the new address will be forwarded to the editor because the new address is not subscribed to the list. Thus there is a certain amount of list-owner overhead on this kind of list in keeping track of users whose addresses have changed and modifying the subscriber list to reflect those changes. The "CHANGE" command added in 1.8d can be of help in this regard.


7.13.7.  Private edited/moderated lists


This type of edited or moderated list allows subscribed users to post with editor or moderator intervention, but rejects postings received from non-subscribers with a note to the poster stating that they are not allowed to post.


Using the same header you would create for an private discussion list (see 7.13.2, above), simply add the following line to the header:


* Default-Options= REVIEW


You should also add Editor= and (optionally) Moderator= keyword settings to the list.  At least one editor must be defined to handle the message approval chores, otherwise the first listed list owner will receive the messages for approval.


Note the following carefully:


·         For brand-new lists or existing lists which have no subscribers, all subscribers added to the list after this option is set will be set to REVIEW, and nothing further needs to be done.


·         For existing lists with existing subscribers, you will need to set the existing subscribers to the REVIEW option manually, that is, with the command



New subscribers who sign up or are added after you add the Default-0ptions= keyword setting will automatically be set to the REVIEW option.


Finally, note that the list editor will also be set to REVIEW if he is subscribed to the list under this scenario.  This can be important if the list editor wants to approve even his own postings (for instance, to help avoid someone spoofing mail to the list from his address). If the list editor does not require this "suspenders and belt" level of security, he can simply set himself to NOREVIEW.


7.13.8. Auto-responders


Since LISTSERV Lite does not support list-level mail templates, this functionality is effectively not available in LISTSERV Lite.


An "auto-responder" is a type of list that simply responds with a set message whenever it receives mail from someone. This kind of list can be useful for things like service messages or upgrade availability, or even to simply send back a standardized message to a user who has sent mail to a "support" address.


A simple auto-responder header might look like this:


* Auto-responder for service messages

* Owner= someone@someplace.com

* Send= Public     Notebook= No     Subscription= Closed


In other words, it can be very simple, since you probably don't want notebook archives for this kind of auto-responder, you don't want people to subscribe to the list as it isn't really a mailing list, and so forth. To make the auto-response message for this list, you'd then create a listname.MAILTPL file (see chapter 10 for details) that includes a POSTACK1 template, like the following:


>>> POSTACK1 Service Message for &MYNAMES

&MYNAMES will be down Sunday from 0200 EST until 0500 EST for backups and upgrades. For more information contact LSTMAINT@&MYHOST.


This particular template would inform the user that LISTSERV would be down (&MYNAMES translates to LISTSERV@NODE where NODE is the value of NODE= in the system configuration file) and to send questions to LSTMAINT@ the local host. In order to change the service message, it would be necessary only to change the POSTACK1 template.


7.13.9. Announce-only lists


An "announce-only" list would be used to distribute a newsletter or other timely information where responses to the list are neither expected nor desired. A typical announce-only list header might look like this:


* The FOO Product Announcment List

* Owner= foo@myhost.com

* Owner= Quiet:

* Owner= anotheruser@myhost.com

* Owner= yetanotheruser@myhost.com

* Editor= foo@myhost.com

* Editor= anotheruser@myhost.com

* Editor= yetanotheruser@myhost.com

* Notebook= No

* Errors-To= Owner

* Subscription= Open,Confirm

* Validate= No

* Review= Owners          

* Send= Editor,Confirm

* Reply-To= foo@myhost.com,Ignore

* Sender= None


This list is set up so that generally any response to postings will go back to foo@myhost.com, which might be a special account set up specifically to handle such things, or a mail alias pointing to another account. The newsletter can be posted by foo, or anotheruser, or yetanotheruser, all of whom are editors, but the likelihood is that it would be posted from the foo userid so that the From: line would read "From: foo@myhost.com".


L-Soft strongly recommends that all announce-only lists use the "Send= Editor,Confirm" or "Send=Editor,Hold,Confirm" setting. The ",Confirm" parameter tells LISTSERV to require a confirmation for any posting sent by a user defined as an Editor=. This is important for two reasons:


1.       Security. This setting tells LISTSERV to request confirmation from the Editor for all postings it receives that purport to be from that Editor.  This prevents hackers from forging mail under an Editor's address, because any forgeries will require that the Editor in question approve them before they go to the list.


2.       Loop protection. Certain broken mailers can and will bounce mail back to your list in a "reflected" manner, that is, the bounce will appear to be a legitimate posting from the Editor to the list instead of looking like an error. This is different from a forgery attempt because (it is assumed) the mailer on the other end is not doing this with malicious intent. Requiring the editor confirmation will stop these potential loop-generating messages from getting through to the list.


To stop a posting from going to the list under this scenario, simply don't OK it and delete the confirmation request message.


7.13.10.  Restricted subscription lists with automatically-generated questionnaire


Since LISTSERV Lite does not support list-level mail templates, this functionality is effectively not available in LISTSERV Lite.


Sometimes it is desired to send out a little questionnaire before approving a subscription to a list with a very narrowly-defined topic or to lists created for members of specific organizations. By setting "Subscription= By_Owner", you can of course force all potential subscriptions to require list owner approval. In the "old days", if you wanted more information before you approved the subscription request, you had to manually send a questionnaire out to the user and wait for him or her to return it to you.


By setting "Subscription= By_Owner" and adding two simple template forms to your listname.MAILTPL (as explained in chapter 9), you can now have LISTSERV send your questionnaire out automatically, as soon as the subscription request is received.


The first template form you need to add to listname.MAILTPL is called SUB_OWNER, and in this case it would typically look like this:


>>> SUB_OWNER &LISTNAME: &WHOM requested to join


A copy of the &LISTNAME membership questionnaire has been sent

to you.  Please read it carefully and follow the instructions

to complete it and return it to the list owners.


The .TO &WHOM directive is required so that the message is sent to the subscriber rather than to the list owner. If you want the non-quiet list owners to receive a copy of this message (which is admittedly unlikely), you can simply add CC: &OWNERS to the end of the .TO line, for example,




Or, if you want to cc: a specific user such as joe@unix1.example.com, use


.TO &WHOM CC: joe@unix1.example.com


Note that you cannot format the SUB_OWNER template; it all comes out as one long paragraph without formatting no matter what you do, because it is a "linear" template.  But you should modify it from the default to let people know that they will receive a questionnaire to be filled out and returned.


The second template form you need to add to listname.MAILTPL is called ADDREQ1 and it can be as simple or as detailed as you want. All of the available template formatting commands can be used in ADDREQ1. For instance:


>>> ADDREQ1 &LISTNAME Membership Survey



.CE &LISTNAME Membership Survey

NOTE:  Please make sure when you send this back that it goes to

the address &LISTNAME-Request@&MYHOST.  Thanks.


This is a standard questionnaire required for all prospective

subscribers to &LISTNAME. Blah blah blah...


In this case you want the message to go to the subscriber, with a Reply-To: header pointing back to the (non-quiet) list owners. The first line indicating the return address is added for those users with mail clients that don't recognize Reply-To: headers.


You can also put a pre-formatted ADD job into the questionnaire to simplify your job when the questionnaire comes back.  For instance,


.fo off


For List Owner's Use Only --  Be sure to include with your Reply


// JOB


// EOJ


.fo on


For more detailed information on mail templates, see chapter 9.


7.13.11. Peered lists


This functionality is not available in LISTSERV Lite.


Occasionally the need to split a very large list may arise. This was more common when LISTSERV ran only on BITNET, whereas the TCP/IP version of LISTSERV is not limited by BITNET constraints. However, because of the fact that subscribers may be scattered all over the world, in rare cases it can make sense to split (or "peer") a list and share the mail load among two or more LISTSERV servers. Peering also makes it possible to have list archives located in more than one place; for example, a list might be peered between a European host and a North American host, making it possible for subscribers on each continent to retrieve archives from the nearer host.


Although there is no problem about peering to another L-Soft LISTSERV list, linking to a non-L-Soft mailing list manager is not supported and can and will cause serious problems (including mailing loops) for which L-Soft international, Inc. could not be held responsible.


Linking two or more LISTSERV mailing lists


Please observe the following points:


1. All lists should have a Peers= keyword setting that includes all of the other peers in the group as its arguments.  For example, consider a peer group containing ListA, ListB, and ListC.  ListA must have "Peers= ListB@its.host.com,ListC@its.host.com", whereas ListB must have "Peers= ListA@its.host.com,ListC@its.host.com" and finally ListC must have "Peers= ListA@its.host.com,ListB@its.host.com".


For lists running on LISTSERV for VM, setting the Peers= keyword makes it possible to EXPLODE them for better network efficiency.  (Because peering is not widely used today, it is unlikely that the EXPLODE command will be ported to other platforms.)


2. All lists must have the same list-level password, set with the PW= list header keyword.  If this point is ignored, messages approved on one peer will not be accepted by the other peer and an error message will be generated, i.e.,


The approval request code received together  with your posting for the MYLIST-L

list is  incorrect. For  a peered  list, this  may be  a normal  condition. The

approval protocol  is not  guaranteed to  work among  peer chains with pre-1.8b

servers, and  will also  fail if  the peers  have a  different password.  For a

non-peered list, the only likely explanation is a failure in the mail system or

a recent change in mail  system version or  configuration. At any  rate, please

resubmit your message and go through  the approval procedure a second time, and

contact the LISTSERV administrator if the problem persists.                   


------------------------ Rejected message (73 lines) --------------------------                                                     


This means that under LISTSERV 1.8c and later you must explicitly set the PW= list header keyword for each peer and not use the password LISTSERV generates automatically at list creation time. (This is the only case in which it is important to manually set PW= for a list.)


3. Each peer must be subscribed to at least one other peer, and the "real name" field for the subscription MUST be set to "Peer Distribution List".


Moving users from one (peer) server to another:


You should be aware of the fact that a MOVE operation is not just an ADD to the new server and a DELete to the current one. This would effectively transfer the person from the old server to the new one but his distribution options would be lost in the process. Besides, you should make sure that the user does not lose any mail in the process. The proper course of action to be taken when people are moved from one list to the other is the following:


1.      Send mail to the list telling people that a new peer server is being linked to the list, and that some subscribers will be moved to it.


2a.    If the prerequisites for using the MOVE command are met, you should use either individual MOVE commands (in the case that there are very few users to move) or a batch-MOVE command with associated DDname (see the LISTJOB MEMO guide for more information on commands-jobs) to move the users. You may want to use the QUIET option to suppress notification if there are a lot of users to move.


Warning: the MOVE command should not be used to move peer list servers. See the MOVE command description for more details.


If you cannot use the MOVE command, you should try one of the following two methods:


2b.    For each user to be moved, issue the following commands in the following order:


    Query listname FOR userid@host (old server), write down the options.

    QUIET ADD listname userid@host full_name

    QUIET SET listname options FOR userid@host

    Wait until you get confirmation for the two previous commands

    QUIET DELete listname userid@host (old server)


2c.    If there are a lot of users to move, the following method is preferred:


    GET listname (old server)

    GET listname (new server)

    If you are using VM XEDIT: Receive both files and use the XEDIT "PUT" and "GET" commands to move users from one list to the other. You must preserve the contents of columns 81-100 across the move.

    If you are using another text editor: Make sure that the editor you are using does not "imbed" control codes such as line breaks, tabs or word-wrapping characters into the text when you edit it. Use the cut and paste controls to copy lines in their entirety. You must preserve the contents of columns 81-100 across the move. Imbedded control codes and/or word wrap will generate errors when the list is stored back on the server.

    Store the two lists back on their respective servers.


Special commands for peered lists only


ADDHere listname userid@host <full_name> <PW=list_password>


The ADDHERE command is strictly identical to ADD, with the exception that the placement of the user is not checked against the list of peer servers; in other words, the specified user is added to the local list without any further verification. (By comparison, the ADD command causes LISTSERV to check automatically to see if there is no better-suited peer list for the specified user.)


EXPLODE listname <F=fformat> [VM only]


The EXPLODE command provides a means whereby a list can be automatically analyzed by LISTSERV to optimize the placement of its recipients over the various peer servers hosting the list. It requires a "Peers=" keyword to be defined in the list header (see Appendix B). Non-BITNET userids will be exploded according to the network address of the corresponding gateway (as per the SERVICE NAMES file), or ignored if the gateway could not be identified. LISTSERV will create a commands-job file containing the necessary MOVE command to transfer all the users which were found to be (possibly) mis-allocated to the peer server which is nearest to them. This file will then be sent to you so that you can review it before sending it back to the server for execution.


MOVE listname userid@host <TO> newhost <PW=list_password>

  DD=ddname listid@newhost [VM only]


The MOVE command allows list owners to easily move users from one peer server to another. It will move the complete user entry from the source server to the destination one, including full name as it appears in the specified list and all list distribution options. The MOVE operation will be done in such a way that no mail can possibly be lost by the target while the MOVE operation is in progress (duplicate mail might be received for a short duration, however). Notification will be sent to the target user unless the QUIET option was used.


If the source and destination list names are identical, only the destination node ('newhost') needs be specified. Otherwise, the full network address ('listid@newhost') must be specified.


The MOVE command requires both source and destination lists to have the same password. Since each server will have to send a password to the other to validate the (special) ADD/DELETE commands it is sending to the other, it has potentially a way to trap the password specified by the server, thus thwarting any attempt at inventing a protocol to allow use of this command on lists which have a different password. Besides, no MOVE operation will be accepted on lists which do not have a password at all, because for technical reasons it would allow unauthorized users to easily add someone to a list (since there would be no password validation).


The MOVE command is the proper way to effect a move operation. You should not use any other command/set of commands unless you cannot use MOVE. THE MOVE COMMAND SHOULD NOT BE USED TO MOVE DISTRIBUTION LISTS!!! Since a MOVE is basically an ADD + DELETE, with the latter being done only AFTER the ADD is completed, moving a distribution list address with the MOVE command can cause a duplicate link to be defined for a short period of time. This could result in a transient mailing loop, which could become permanent if the size of the looping mailfiles is less than the size of the inter-servers "DELETE" command jobfile, and the RSCS priority of the latter has been altered.


7.13.12. "Super-lists" and "sub-lists"


This functionality is not available in LISTSERV Lite.


In LISTSERV Classic 1.8c and following it is possible to define a "super-list" (as in opposite of sub-list), that is, a "container" list that includes all the subscribers in a predefined set of sub-lists. This can be done recursively to any depth. Only the LISTSERV maintainer can create a super-list, for security reasons. Concretely, the "Sub-lists=" keyword is protected from owner tampering in the same fashion as "Notebook=". The value is a comma separated list of all the sub-lists, which must all be on the same (local) machine. For instance:




The default value for this keyword is null, that is, to have no sublists.   Please note that the super-list and all of its sublists must reside on the same LISTSERV server.


The only difference between a normal list and a super-list is what happens when you post to it. With the super-list, the membership of all the sub-lists is added (recursively) and duplicates are suppressed. Other than that, the super-list is a normal list with its own archives, access control, etc. You can even subscribe to it, and this is actually an important aspect of the operation of super-lists. If you are subscribed to the super-list itself, the subscription options used to deliver super-messages to you are taken from your subscription to the super-list, just like with any other list. All combinations are allowed, and in particular NOMAIL is allowed, meaning you don't want to get messages posted to the super-list. When you are subscribed to multiple sub-lists, on the other hand, things work differently:


1.       NOMAIL subscriptions are ignored. You will get the super-message if you have an active (not NOMAIL) subscription to at least one sub-list. The idea is that the super-message must be equivalent to posting to all the sub-lists, without the duplicates. Since all it takes to get a message posted to all the sub-lists is a single non-NOMAIL subscription, this is how the super-list works. The only way not to get the super-messages is to subscribe to the super-list directly and set yourself to NOMAIL.


2.       The DIGEST and INDEX options are ignored and internally converted to MAIL. The first reason is that, since in most cases the user will be on multiple sub-lists (otherwise you don't need a super-list in the first place), the only safe method to set subscription options for super-messages is by subscribing to the super-list so that there is no ambiguity. The second reason is that, in most cases, super-lists will be used for out of band administrative messages rather than for large volume discussions, so it is actually preferable to have the message sent directly. The third reason is that the super-list and sub-lists may not necessarily offer the same options (DIGEST and INDEX). In particular it is expected that many super-lists will not have archives. If you want a DIGEST or INDEX for the super-messages, you must subscribe to the super-list directly.


3.       In LISTSERV 1.8c and 1.8d, the REPRO option is NOT inherited by sub-lists. That is to say, even if the sub-list subscriber is set to REPRO on the sub-list AND the super-list is set up such that sub-list subscribers may post directly to it, he will NOT receive a copy of his own posting.  REPRO is effective only for users who are directly subscribed to the super-list. This restriction has been removed in LISTSERV 1.8e.


Topics, if defined, are evaluated on a per-list basis. That is, for every sub-list (and for the super-list), LISTSERV determines whether the topic of the message is one that you want to see. If not, it acts as if you were not subscribed to this particular list. Roughly speaking, this works very well if all the sub-lists have the same set of topics (or a well-defined set of common topics), and doesn't work well at all if every list has its own set of topics.


Postings to a super-list are always archived in the super-list's notebooks (if enabled), and never in the notebooks of the sub-lists. This is because by its nature a posting to the super-list is not equivalent to cross-posting a message to all of the sub-lists. Rather, LISTSERV recurses into the sub-lists and generates an "on the fly" listing of all of the users on the super-list and the sub-lists (this is how it avoids duplicates, among other things) and then treats this "on the fly" listing as if it were the subscriber list of the super-list itself. You will note that a super-list posting is always identified as coming from the super-list, regardless of whether a given user is subscribed to the super-list or to one or more of the sub-lists.


Note carefully that a REVIEW command sent for the super-list will not recurse into the sub-lists pointed to by the super-list. If you have a super-list called SUPER and you send a REVIEW SUPER command, LISTSERV will respond with only the people who are subscribed directly to SUPER.  The only way to find out what users are covered by the super-list is to send REVIEW commands for the super-list and all of its sub-lists.


LISTSERV 1.8c and 1.8d:  Also note that the REPRO option is honoured only when the user posting to the super-list is subscribed to the super-list with the REPRO option set.  The REPRO option is not evaluated when LISTSERV recurses into the sub-lists.  Thus if you have a super-list that is set up so that all of the subscribers of the sub-lists are able to post to it without actually being subscribed to the super-list, they will not receive copies of their own postings even if they are set to REPRO on the sub-lists.


LISTSERV 1.8e and following:  The above restriction has been removed and REPRO works for users who are subscribed to the sub-lists.


Similarly, access to the super-list's notebook archives is not automatically recursive. If you want sub-list subscribers to be able to access the archives of the super-list (but don't want the sub-list subscribers to have to subscribe to the super-list), then you must configure the Notebook= keyword for the super-list so that it contains references to each of the sublists. For example, say we have a super-list called SUPER and two sub-lists called SUB-A and SUB-B. We want the subscribers of both SUB-A and SUB-B to be able to read the archives of SUPER (since postings to SUPER won't be archived in SUB-A or SUB-B), but we don't want people who aren't susbcribed to any of the three lists to be able to access the archives. So we set


* Notebook= Yes,C:\LISTS\SUPER,Monthly,Private,(SUB-A),(SUB-B)


and anyone subscribed to the SUPER list or to the SUB-A or SUB-B lists can access the SUPER archives.


If you have many sub-lists, you can specify multiple Notebook= lines, for example,


* Notebook= Yes,C:\LISTS\SUPER,Monthly,Private,(SUB-A),(SUB-B)

* Notebook= (SUB-C),(SUB-D),(SUB-E),(SUB-F)


LISTSERV will read these two (or more) Notebook= lines and concatenate the values.


7.13.13. "Cloning" lists


Some sites may have a need for many lists that are essentially identical. For instance, a series of class section lists for a university department may have the same owner, allow the same class of users to subscribe, and so forth. LISTSERV makes it possible to maintain large collections of lists by "including" keywords from an external file.


For instance, consider a mathematics course with ten sections. Each section should have its own list (for instance, called M101-001, M101-002, and so forth), but the lists will otherwise be identical. The LISTSERV maintainer simply creates a text file (in this case called M101 KEYWORDS) containing the keyword definitions that will be shared by the lists, as follows:


PUT M101 KEYWORDS PW=createpw

* Owner= mathwhiz@someuni.edu (Professor J. Random User)

* Owner= Quiet:

* Owner= gradasst@someuni.edu (Joe Doakes, Graduate Assistant)

* Notebook= Yes,/home/listserv/archives/m101,Monthly,Private

* Auto-Delete= No

* Errors-To= gradasst@someuni.edu

* Subscription= Closed

* Notify= Yes               Confidential= Yes        Validate= Yes,Confirm,NoPW

* Reply-to= List,Ignore     Review= Owners           Send= Private

* Default-Options= Repro


Next, the LISTSERV maintainer stores this file in the usual way, by first making a filelist or catalog entry for it (as outlined in chapter 8) and then storing it with a PUT operation. Generally the GET and PUT FACs for this file should specify that the list owner(s) should be able to retrieve and store it. The file must be stored in LISTSERV’s A directory (the same directory that contains the *.LIST files).


Note that it is also possible to create this file directly in LISTSERV’s A directory with a text editor; if you do so, make sure that you do not include the PUT command shown above. You should still make the filelist or catalog entry for the file so that the list owners can retrieve and store it.


Next, the LISTSERV maintainer creates and stores a skeleton list header for each of the section lists. The first section list (M101-001) is illustrated below:


PUT M101-001 LIST PW=createpw

* Math 101 Section 001 Mailing List

* .IK M101


The .IK command tells LISTSERV that whenever it uses this list, it should read the keyword definitions from the file M101 KEYWORDS (note carefully that the syntax is ".IK M101", not ".IK M101 KEYWORDS"). Now, whenever the professor in charge of the class wants to make a change to all of the M101 lists (for instance, he has a new graduate assistant), he simply GETs the file M101 KEYWORDS, makes the changes, and PUTs the file back, instead of having to GET separate headers for each list and make the changes to all of them individually.


Note:  On some servers it may be necessary to stop and restart LISTSERV (or do a GET+PUT of all of the list headers involved) to make changes to the KEYWORDS file appear.  This is because LISTSERV may have the KEYWORDS file and/or the list headers that use it cached at the time you modify it.


NOTE CAREFULLY THE FOLLOWING:  In order to see the complete list header, send a REVIEW listname command. The response to a GET will be only the skeleton header with the .IK command.  If GET did not work this way, you would not be able to change or remove the .IK command line once you set it.


Special note: The sample KEYWORDS file above includes a Notebook= keyword. This will cause the notelogs for all of the lists that use this KEYWORDS file to be written in the same directory, per the example, /home/listserv/archives/m101 . This means that in that directory you would have notelogs for the M101-001 list, the M101-002 list, and so forth (depending of course on what lists use the example M101 KEYWORDS file). If this behavior is not desired, simply don't put a Notebook= keyword in the KEYWORDS file, and define it in the list header for the cloned list instead, either before or after the .IK directive.


For the web archive interface, note carefully that if you do use the same directory for all of the cloned lists' notelogs, you will still have to make separate web archive directories for each list under your WWW_ARCHIVE_DIR directory if you intend to serve the archives via the web interface. In other words, the web interface doesn't care where you keep a list's notelogs as long as it has a directory specified under WWW_ARCHIVE_DIR for it to write the list's web archive indexes into. So while all of your notelogs may go into /home/listserv/archives/m101 , regardless of the name of the cloned list, you still need to make (for example) /usr/local/etc/httpd/htfiles/archives/m101-001 and so forth in order to serve the notelogs on the web.


7.14. Merging existing LISTSERV lists


It is sometimes desirable (or necessary) to merge two or more existing lists. There are a couple of different ways to do this.


7.14.1. Merging list A into list B; list A user options not preserved


This is perhaps the simplest merge operation and requires only that you get the list of subscribers from list A and add them to list B, probably with a bulk operation as explained in section 7.17, below. User options are not preserved across the move and the users from list A will be subscribed to list B with whatever default options are set for list B.


7.14.2. Merging list A into list B; list A user options preserved


In this case you need to GET both lists A and B, header and all (so you do not use the (HEADER switch in this case). LISTSERV will return copies of the entire list files to you including all of the subscribers along with an encoded option string for each subscriber. Usually this will look something like this:


* My test list

* (remaining header lines removed for clarity)


xxxxx@APK.NET Pxxxx Axxxxx


xxxxxxxxxx@AOL.COM Rxxxxx Axxxx


xxxxxx@LSOFT.COM Nxxxxx Bxxxxxx


xxxxxxxx@CS.ROSE-HULMAN.EDU Mxxx Dxxxxxx



Depending on how your mail client handles long lines, the subscriber lines will be either:


1.       Kept as one single long line in which the option string starts in column 81 of the line; or


2.       Split into two separate lines, the subscriber address and real name on one line followed by the option string on the next line.


If case 1, you should have no problem with the following operations.  If case 2, you must either


·         Reformat the lines so that the option strings start in column 81 rather than being on separate lines; or


·         If your mail program supports MIME, re-order the file as a MIME/TEXT attachment by adding F=MIME/TEXT to your GET command (e.g., GET MYLIST-L F=MIME/TEXT). This should preserve the long lines without inserting end-of-line characters.


In any case a correctly-formatted subscriber line looks like this:


nxxxxx@LSOFT.COM Nxxxxx Bxxxxxx                                                 2AAARAA2bAAA


Next, assuming that the subscriber lines are correctly formatted, cut and paste list B into a new mail message addressed to LISTSERV. Make sure that your mail client has all formatting options turned off; for instance, make sure line wrap and any automatic "rich text" or HTML mail formatting is turned off. If you do not do this there is no guarantee that the list file will reach LISTSERV properly formatted.


At the bottom of this new message, you can cut and paste the subscribers from list A. Note that you don't want the header of list A, just the subscriber lines. Make sure that there is no blank line between the subscribers you pasted from list B and the subscribers you have just pasted from list A.


Finally, you can now PUT your new merged copy of list B.[2]


7.14.3. Merging list A and list B into list C


In this case (where you may be starting a completely new list and want to merge two old lists into it), follow the directions above depending on whether or not you want to preserve user options across the merge or not. The only difference is that you will be combining the subscribers from two lists into another list instead of combining subscribers from one list into a second list. In this case you do need to be careful not to add duplicate addresses, as LISTSERV will not catch them when you PUT the new list file. In fact it is probably more sensible to set appropriate defaults to the new list and store the header by itself, then add the users with a bulk operation (not preserving their old options) so that LISTSERV can catch any duplicates you might add.


7.15. Migrating lists from one site to another


In migrating lists to LISTSERV, there are three typical possibilities:


1.       You are migrating lists from an existing LISTSERV site (e.g., moving from VM to unix)

2.       You are migrating lists from a non-LISTSERV site to LISTSERV

3.       You are creating a LISTSERV list from a Sendmail alias or other database of e-mail addresses


7.15.1. Migrating lists from one LISTSERV site to another LISTSERV site


Naturally, this is the simplest migration, but it still requires a few important steps. The preferred method (and the one that generally works the best) is to GET the list from the old server, make any changes necessary to the header (e.g., location of Notebook archives) and PUT the resulting list file on the new server. This method (assuming no corruption or reformatting of the list file by intervening mail systems) is preferred because it involves LISTSERV's internal syntax checking and other error-handling functions, LISTSERV knows exactly where to put the files, and the migration isn't restricted by possible architecture-specific problems.


The drawback to the preferred method is that you have to migrate one list at a time, which may not be acceptable if you need to migrate many lists in a short period of time. In general, you can simply FTP your list files from the old server to the new server, but note the following:


·         You can migrate only from VM to non-VM, or from non-VM to non-VM.  You cannot migrate using the FTP method from non-VM back to VM (unless you are prepared to reconstruct your list files and so forth from scratch). Naturally a GET and PUT will work if you need to move from non-VM to VM.


·         If migrating from VM to non-VM: Be sure to FTP the list files, archives, and so forth in ASCII mode.  If you use binary mode, the files will be unreadable on your new system.


·         If migrating from non-VM to non-VM, you can FTP the list files in binary mode and any other files in ASCII mode.  Please note that if moving the list files by binary FTP does not work, you will have to migrate the list using the preferred method outlined above. You could also create a new list header on the new server and add the users with an ADD IMPORT job as detailed in the next section.


·         Once you have FTP'd the files to the new server, decide where you want things to go.  The list file itself should go into LISTSERV's A directory (typically ~listserv/home on unix systems, LISTSERV\MAIN on Windows systems, and LISTSERV_ROOT:[MAIN] on VMS systems).  You may want to make a separate directory on your new server for archives, then subdirectories of that directory for each list (see chapter 5.8, above).  If so, make the appropriate directories and move the archive files there.  (This is particularly important if you intend to use the ISP options such as the file quota subsystem.)  If you are copying non-notebook archives, you should read the chapter on Notebook and File Archives, below, in order to set up a filelist or catalog file for these files.


·         Next, you should restart LISTSERV.  This is particularly important when moving lists from VM to other platforms, as LISTSERV will need to reformat the file into the binary format used on non-VM machines. If this is successful, you will see two messages in the console log:


6 May 1996 12:50:14 Invalid record format for list XXXXX-L.

6 May 1996 12:50:14 -> List reformatted successfully.


If this is not successful, you will need to open the list file in a text editor and look for anything that might have caused a problem. Note that list header lines have a limit of 100 characters in length.


·         Before releasing the list to the general public, be sure to GET the list header and make any changes that need to be made. Typically, changes will need to be made to the location parameters of the Notebook= and/or Digest= keywords, particularly if you are moving from one platform to another.


Note that the first digest sent from the new site will say "First ever".



7.15.2. Migrating lists from non-LISTSERV sites


Non-LISTSERV list files (notably from Majordomo and ListProc, but from other MLM software as well) are not directly compatible with LISTSERV. While it is probably possible to write a script or batch file for the purpose of converting one format to the other, it is outside the scope of this manual to describe this process.


Majordomo users will note that LISTSERV does not require two separate lists for those who want individual messages and those who want digested summaries. LISTSERV handles digesting internally for those who have set the personal option DIGEST for the list. Thus those sites migrating to LISTSERV from Majordomo will probably want to merge the digested and non-digested subscribers into one single list and let all subscribers know that they can set themselves to DIGEST mode with the SET listname DIGEST command. (It would also be possible to send commands to LISTSERV to set all of the old digest subscribers to DIGEST before releasing the list to the public.)


Under most conditions, the method recommended by L-Soft for migrating a non-LISTSERV list into LISTSERV format is the following:


·         Create a list header for your list as noted above and store it on the LISTSERV server.  If you plan to set "Validate="  to any value but "No", set it to "No" until the following steps are completed.


·         Create a LISTSERV command language job as follows:



//X DD *





      where "listname" is the name of the new list, and "internet-address1", "internet-address2" and other users are the internet addresses from the original list that you want to add to the new list. Optionally, you can add the user's "real name" field, for example,



//X DD *

internet-address1 full_name

internet-address2 full_name



You should remove any lines from the original list that do not actually identify subscriber addresses. If you are converting to LISTSERV from ListProc, note that LISTSERV will not convert ListProc user options to their LISTSERV equivalents; you must take a line like


user1@somehost.com POSTPONE NEWLIST NO user's name


and reduce it at least to


user1@somehost.com user's name


Otherwise, the ListProc options will become part of the full_name field.


·         Send the command language job to LISTSERV.


·         You will receive in return a confirmation that the job executed and whether or not it was successful:



ADD: no error, 2 recipients added, no entry changed, none forwarded.


List archive notebooks from non-LISTSERV sites can be copied into a file archive area for the list and registered in the listname FILELIST (VM) or listname.CATALOG (non-VM), but it is not recommended that non-LISTSERV notebooks be renamed with LISTSERV naming conventions, as this may cause problems with LISTSERV's database functions. For instance, if you have ListProc or Majordomo notebook archives that were kept monthly, L-Soft does not recommend renaming them with the listname.logyymm format.


For information about how to convert non-LISTSERV archives to LISTSERV format, please see 8.10.3,  below.


Alternate method of creating the list[3]:  You can send the list header and subscriber list to LISTSERV in the body of an e-mail (attachments will be ignored, the header and subscriber list MUST be plain text in the body of the mail message).  Only one list can be created per e-mail, and the body of the mail must look like this:


PUT listname LIST PW=createpw

* Long title of list

* (more list header lines, must begin with asterisks in column 1)

userid1@example.com His Name

userid2@example.net Her Name


In the above syntax example, "listname" is the name of the list, and "createpw" is the CREATEPW value from your site configuration file.  The text of all lines must begin in column 1.  All header lines must begin with an asterisk.  There must not be any blank lines anywhere in the text (they would be considered as end-of-file markers).


Subscribers added in this fashion will inherit any Default-Options and Default-Topics from the list header.


7.15.3. Migrating lists from Sendmail alias files, databases, etc.


In general, you will follow the same procedure outlined in 7.15.2 to migrate from these types of lists. You may wish to write an executable script of some sort to pull the addresses and names (if you have them) from your database and surround them with the appropriate CJLI commands, particularly if your database is made from a web site and you need to run a periodic job to add users to your lists.


7.16. Changing the name of an existing list


Changing the name of an existing list on the same server as opposed to migrating a list from another server is somewhat different.  Here is a checklist of the basic steps involved in renaming an existing list.  For the purpose of this example we will assume that the list is named MYLIST-L and we want to rename it to JOESLIST-L.  Note that operations that call for using OS-level commands are not performed by issuing commands to LISTSERV, but rather by opening a console session and typing the commands at your system's command prompt.




2. Find the mylist-l.list file.  LIST files are kept on LISTSERV's A disk (VM) or in its A directory (non-VM). The A directory for non-VM servers is normally ~listserv/home for unix servers, LISTSERV_ROOT:[MAIN] for VMS servers, and LISTSERV\MAIN for Windows servers.


3. Copy (using your OS's command for copying files) mylist-l.list to joeslist-l.list.  Note carefully that under unix you must name the file in lower case. Copying the list file will preserve all subscribers and all subscriber options.


4. If necessary, create the directory for joeslist-l's archives.  If you had mylist-l's archives in ~listserv/lists/mylist-l, for instance, you should create the directory ~listserv/lists/joeslist-l.  Once this directory is created, you can copy the mylist-l archive notebooks over to it, then rename any mylist-l.* file to joeslist-l.*.  Note that you will want to copy the current notebook over again later, to make sure you get all of the postings up to the time of the switch.  Note further that it is not necessary (and probably not desirable in any case) to copy the DBNAMES, DBINDEX, DBRINDEX, or -RAC files as they will be rebuilt automatically by LISTSERV.  Also, you don't need to copy the DIGEST or SUBJECTS files as we're going to take care of them later.


5. Again, if necessary, you should also copy over any files referenced by the list's catalog or filelist and make a new catalog or filelist for joeslist-l. You will also need to make an entry in site.catalog (non-VM) or listserv.filelist (VM) for the new joeslist-l catalog or filelist.


6. If the list was available through the web archive interface, make a joeslist-l directory for the web archive indexes (see chapter 5 for details).


7. Restart LISTSERV.


8. Issue a GET JOESLIST-L (HEADER NOLOCK command to get the header.  Make any changes you feel necessary, for instance, in the list's description or in the comments which may or may not contain the old list's name. You will also need to make changes to any keyword that contains a directory reference, for instance the Notebook= and Digest= keywords, so that they point to the right place.  PUT the list header back on the server.  (Note that this PUT will cause LISTSERV to build web archive indexes for the list.)


9. Issue a HOLD JOESLIST-L command to keep the list from processing any postings from earlybird users :).


At this point you are finished copying the old list to the new list.  Now you need to do some housekeeping before notifying the users of the change.


10. Issue a QUIET SET MYLIST-L NODIGEST NOINDEX FOR *@* command to LISTSERV.  This will force LISTSERV to send out the accumulated MYLIST-L digest and index issues to all users who had those options set.


11. Issue a HOLD MYLIST-L command to LISTSERV.


12. Copy the final MYLIST-L notebook archive file over to the JOESLIST-L directory so that you have all of the postings up to the time you issued the HOLD.


13. Get the header of the MYLIST-L list.  You can now add a "New-List=" keyword to the header to let people know that the name of the list has been changed.  This requires that you remove all other keywords from the header except "Owner=" and "Confidential=".  You can set



* Confidential= Yes


in the list header so that a) the list no longer appears in the global List of Lists and in the CataList and b) so that all mail and inquiries sent to the old list address will be forwarded on to the new one.  When you've made the changes to the header, PUT it back on the server.


14. Issue a FREE JOESLIST-L command to LISTSERV.  (You should not need to issue a FREE MYLIST-L command.)


Congratulations, you've finished renaming the list. At this point you should probably announce the change and let people know where to find the archives, etc.


7.17. Bulk operations (ADD and DELETE)


It is possible to use "bulk" operations to "front-load" or otherwise simplify the job of adding and/or deleting users from lists. This will typically be used on very large announce-type lists but the functionality is naturally available for all lists.


7.17.1. Bulk ADD operations


To front-load or just to add a large number of users to an existing list, you construct a LISTSERV JOB framework as follows and then send it to LISTSERV. The QUIET and IMPORT command words are optional; omit the square brackets if you use them. The "full name" field is optional as long as you use the IMPORT option; otherwise you must either specify "*" (for an anonymous subscription) or a full name consisting of at least two separate words.


[QUIET] ADD listname DD=ddname [IMPORT] PW=yourpassword

//ddname DD *

userid1@host1.com [full name]

userid2@host2.com [full name]


useridn@hostn.com [full name]



The IMPORT option implies a QUIET ADD (in other words you do not need to specify QUIET if you use IMPORT) and otherwise vastly speeds up the ADD process by loosening syntax checking and omitting success messages. If you do not use the IMPORT option and do not specify QUIET, the users you bulk add will receive the normal SIGNUP message and/or WELCOME file as usual.


It is also possible to do bulk operations through the Web Administration Interface; see chapter 11 for details.


7.17.2. Bulk DELETE operations


If you have a large number of users to delete at one time, you can use a bulk delete syntax that is similar to the bulk ADD documented above.  However please note that there is no "IMPORT"-type option for this feature, and as usual for the DELETE command you specify only the user's address in the data DD.


There is, however, a BRIEF option that can be specified, which is useful when you don't want a long list of "userid@host has been deleted from list xxxx" messages, one for each user deleted. Use of the BRIEF option tells LISTSERV to return only a count of the users that were deleted.


Once again you construct a LISTSERV JOB framework as follows and then send it to LISTSERV:


[QUIET] DELete listname DD=ddname PW=yourpassword

//ddname DD *







You will probably want to use the QUIET modifier when doing a bulk delete, in order to suppress the notification message to the users being deleted.


It is also possible to do bulk operations through the Web Administration Interface; see chapter 11 for details.  However, note that very large bulk ADD and DELETE jobs should be sent via e-mail in preference to using the web interface.


7.18. Content filtering


This feature requires LISTSERV 1.8e or later.  It is not available in LISTSERV Lite.


This feature is intended primarily to filter out-of-office messages and the like. It is not intended as a profanity filter. Attempts to configure it to filter profanity will most likely prove to be futile in the long run and are not recommended by L-Soft.


The CONTENT_FILTER mail template form, if present, contains filtering rules, one rule per line, empty lines ignored. Each rule has the following format:


[prefix:] pattern


The prefix, if present, can be a mail header tag (eg "Subject:"); "Header:" to check the whole header; or "Text:" to search the message text. The latter is the default if no prefix is supplied, it is provided in case the pattern contains a colon in the first word. If there are multiple mail header tags with the specified name (eg "Received:"), each such tag is searched and it is enough for one of them to match the pattern. If the requested tag is not present in the header, there is (surprise!) no match. A text search will search every line of the first text/plain part in the message. If there is no text/plain part, there is no match. Again, this is designed to filter read receipts, loops, chain letters, spam, you name it. There was no attempt on the developers' part to make this a profanity filter, and future versions will not be "enhanced" to make futile attempts at (for instance) decoding Word documents to look for obscene words.


Regular comparisons such as those described above are not case sensitive. Patterns are standard LISTSERV patterns, that is, the asterisk is the wildcard character. If there is no asterisk in the pattern, it is replaced with "*pattern*" much like the SCAN command.


Documented Restriction:  You cannot match literal asterisk characters in a string as there is no way to escape them.  Any asterisk in a pattern will always be evaluated as a wildcard.


The content filter also supports "exact match" comparisons, which are triggered by a double colon. For instance:




There are two significant differences between exact and regular match:


a. You must supply your own wildcard characters in an exact match (if you want to use wildcards, that is). A regular match will insert leading and trailing wildcards if none are found. Thus, an exact match is the only way to make a comparison without wildcards.


b. You can make an exact match for the empty string. Empty regular matches are ignored since they map to a wildcard comparison for **, which would be always true.   This also makes it possible to apply an exact match to a message that does not contain a specified header. For instance, if you want all messages to contain a (mythical) KABOOM: RFC822 header, with an exact match you can tell LISTSERV to perform one of the content-filtering actions if the the header is not present. This is not possible with a regular match.


Note however that you cannot differentiate a header with an empty KABOOM field from a header with no KABOOM field.


One of the most handy uses for the exact match syntax is to be able to write a rule to reject messages with blank subject lines.  For instance:



Action: REJECT Please resubmit your message with a non-blank subject.


Every rule can, optionally, be followed by an action rule. This has the following format:


Action: ALLOW

Action: REJECT reason

Action: DISCARD comment



(The available actions are the same for both regular and exact comparisons.) For instance,



Subject: Out of office

Action: REJECT OOO messages are not allowed on this list.

Subject: Auto-Generated:

Action: REJECT

Text: Click here to be removed

Action: REJECT Buzz off, spammer.


Action: REJECT Please resubmit with a non-blank subject.

Subject: copyright


To: friend@public.com

Action: DISCARD This guy is a spammer


The default is "Action: REJECT" with no specified reason. REJECT means that the message is rejected. MODERATE means that the message is to be forwarded to the list editor to be manually approved or rejected.  DISCARD means that the message is to be dropped on the floor without further processing; any text following DISCARD is echoed to the LISTSERV console (and is thus logged).


ALLOW means that the message is allowed and all remaining rules are ignored. This could be used in moderated lists to allow the list moderator to bypass certain filters, for instance:



Subject: Out of office

Action: REJECT OOO messages are not allowed on this list.


Action: ALLOW

Text: Click here to be removed

Action: REJECT Buzz off, spammer.


In the example above, messages with Subject: lines containing "Out of office" are rejected.  Messages containing the text "Click here to be removed" are also rejected UNLESS they come from joe@example.com .


The text of the rejection is fetched from the BAD_CONTENT mail template form, with the reason supplied as a variable called &COMMENT.  The rejection message looks like this:


Date:         Tue, 4 Dec 2001 22:03:42 -0500

From:        "L-Soft list server at LISTSERV.EXAMPLE.COM (1.8e)"


Subject:      Rejected posting to TEST@LISTSERV.EXAMPLE.COM

To:           Joe User <joe@EXAMPLE.COM>


Your posting to the TEST list has been rejected by the content filter. OOO

messages are not allowed on this list.


followed by the text of the posting including all mail headers.  (In this case the body of the message contained the text "out of office" and the rule above was applied.)


A default site-wide CONTENT_FILTER template form may be defined in $SITE$.MAILTPL for use by lists whose owners do not prefer to provide their own custom versions in their listname.MAILTPL files.




7.19. DomainKeys Message Signing (14.5)


This feature is not available in LISTSERV Lite.


Starting with LISTSERV 14.5, DomainKeys message signing is available to sites running LISTSERV Classic or LISTSERV Classic HPO.  Current LISTSERV maintenance is also required.  For more information on how to configure LISTSERV for DomainKeys support, please refer to our document Using LISTSERV with DomainKeys.


Assuming that it is available for your use, DomainKeys support for lists is enabled by default.  This means that all list postings and administrative messages related to a list will be signed to assert that they actually originated from your LISTSERV server.


If for some reason you wish to disable DomainKeys message signing for a given list, you can do so by adding




to your list header.  Or if you prefer to disable it server-wide by default, you can add NO_DKIM_SIGNATURE to the DEFAULT_MISC_OPTIONS site configuration variable setting.


Incoming DomainKeys or DKIM signatures submitted to a mailing list will be removed unless "Misc-Options= KEEP_DKIM_SIGNATURE" is set in the list configuration. This is necessary because these signatures almost never match after the message has been processed. The worst thing that could possibly happen to your deliverability is a DomainKeys signature that does not match and causes the message to be flagged as suspicious.

The KEEP_DKIM_SIGNATURE option is experimental and not meant for general use. As DomainKeys is specified today, signatures DO NOT survive posting to mailing lists (LISTSERV or otherwise), so LISTSERV removes them by default to avoid triggering alerts for subscribers on systems that have implemented the client side of DomainKeys. The DKIM specification may be more robust in this respect, but even DKIM signatures will probably not survive when posted through a mailing list. Use the KEEP_DKIM_SIGNATURE option at your own risk.




8. File and Notebook Archives


Documented restriction:  The hierarchical listname.catalog system documented in 8.4, below, is not available under LISTSERV Lite.  You may store files on a Lite server for people to retrieve, but the files must be registered in the site.catalog file and must reside in the same directory with the *.list files so that LISTSERV can find them.


There are three file server systems currently in use by various versions of LISTSERV:


     The VM (mainframe) version of LISTSERV continues to support the "traditional" file server system. While it is very powerful, this file server system dates back to 1986 and suffers from a few annoying limitations. In addition, it is written in a non portable language. This will be replaced eventually with the "new" file server system, currently under development.


     The non-VM versions of LISTSERV 1.8d enhanced further the new file server system introduced in non-VM 1.8c, which included most of the functionality of the "traditional" file system. Notably, GIVE and file "packages" became available. Most end user commands continue to work as before. However, there is no guarantee that the internal data files manipulated by the file server functions will remain as before. Note that SITE.CATALOG files from versions 1.8a through 1.8c are still supported and will not need to be changed in order to work with 1.8d and later.


     The non-VM versions of LISTSERV 1.8a and 1.8b supported a "temporary" file server system, to provide an interim solution while the new system was being developed. This temporary system supports only a subset of the functions of the traditional system. This system is no longer supported by L-Soft as it has been superseded by the new non-VM file server referenced above.


In general, the three systems are compatible, with the understanding that the temporary system does not include all the possible options. However, the mechanism for registering files (defining them to the file server system) is different.


Since the first and third systems will eventually be replaced by the second system, rather than providing an exhaustive chapter detailing all filelist aspects from the management side, we have provided only a basic overview of the two systems currently in the field with 1.8e, with pointers to where further information may be obtained.


8.1. What is the file archive?


The file archive consists of all files other than notebook logs that have been stored on the LISTSERV host for your list. Users can find out what files are available for a specific list by sending the command INDex listname to the appropriate LISTSERV host.


8.2. Starting a file archive for your list


On VM Systems ONLY


With the traditional system (running on the VM servers), the LISTSERV maintainer creates files called "xxxx FILELIST", which contain definitions for all the files belonging to a particular archive. These FILELIST files must be created by the LISTSERV maintainer at the site before they can be edited by the list owner.[4]


On Workstation and PC Systems


The LISTSERV maintainer stores "root-level" file definitions in a file called SITE.CATALOG, which should be placed in the same directory with the SYSTEM.CATALOG file.[5] Beginning with 1.8c, the LISTSERV maintainer can also define "sub-catalogs" which in turn can define further files. You should be aware of the differences between VM and workstation file server functions as many people are using and will continue to use the VM file server with different conventions, and may give you incorrect advice. Non-VM sites should skip section 8.3, and use the information below in section 8.4 to maintain their file archives.


8.3. Filelist maintenance (VM systems only)


If you are running LISTSERV under unix, Windows, or VMS, please skip this section as it does not pertain in any way to your implementation of LISTSERV.


Maintaining the filelist for your archive is not difficult. It requires only that you have a working knowledge of VM XEDIT (or your local system's editor) and understand how to send files via e-mail.


8.3.1. VM only: Creating a filelist


Please see FSV GUIDE (available at ftp://ftp.lsoft.com/documents/fsv.guide) for details.


8.3.2. VM only: Adding FAC codes


Please see FSV GUIDE (available at ftp://ftp.lsoft.com/documents/fsv.guide) for details.


8.3.3. VM only: Retrieving the filelist


To retrieve your filelist in an editable format, send the command




to the LISTSERV host where the filelist is stored.  The (CTL switch causes LISTSERV to lock the filelist until you store it again or explicitly unlock it with an UNLOCK listname FILELIST command.  (If you don't want to lock the filelist, use (CTL NOLOCK instead.) If your mail account is not located on the same host as LISTSERV, you will need to provide your personal password (same as your password for getting and putting your lists).


A filelist retrieved with the (CTL option does not look like the filelist you get with an INDEX command. A sample (CTL option filelist appears below:


*  Files associated with MYLIST and available to subscribers:

*                             rec               last - change

* filename filetype   GET PUT -fm lrecl nrecs   date     time   Remarks

* -------- --------   --- --- --- ----- ----- -------- -------- --------

  MYLIST   POLICY     ALL OWN V      79    45 94/03/16 12:04:23 Mission Statement

  MYLIST   BOOKLIST   ALL OWN V      79   177 94/04/19 16:24:57 Books of interest

  MYLIST   QUARTER    ALL OWN V      73   113 95/03/11 08:57:04 Quarterly posting


*  Listowner's files (not public)

  MYLIST   FAREWELL   OWN OWN V      78     9 95/03/11 08:53:41 Goodbye memo

  MYLIST   WELCOME    OWN OWN V      73   105 95/03/11 09:14:38 Hello memo

Figure 8.1. Sample filelist retrieved with (CTL option.


Note that the filelist does not include the comment lines you would normally see at the top of an INDEX filelist; nor does it include any notebook archives. LISTSERV creates these lines dynamically at the time the INDEX command is received from a user. If the filelist you have retrieved has any of this kind of material in it, either a) you have not retrieved the filelist correctly, or b) you or someone else has stored the filelist previously with this material included. If you did a GET with (CTL, you should be able to remove these extraneous lines by simply deleting them.


If you do an INDEX of your archive and it has (for instance) two sets of comment lines or duplicate notebook archive listings, then you should GET the filelist with (CTL and edit out the offending lines. While the extra lines will not affect the operation of the file server, they are a source of potential confusion for your users.


8.3.4. VM only: Adding file descriptors to the filelist


"Adding a file to a filelist" is not exactly accurate terminology, although it is a widely-used phrase. Adding files to file archives is a two-step process:  First, add a file descriptor to the appropriate filelist and store the filelist on the server.  Second, store the file itself on the server.


To add a file descriptor, start a line with a space and then type in your file's name, access codes, five dots (periods) and a short description, each separated by a space. For example:


 MYLIST FAQ ALL OWN . . . . . Frequently-Asked Questions for MYLIST


Note that the line must begin with a space. Also, you must place five dots separated by spaces between the PUT file access code (here it is OWN) and the short description.  These dots are place holders for the record format (recfm), logical record length (lrecl), number of records (nrecs), and the date and time of the last update. If these dots are not present, LISTSERV will return an error message when you try to store the filelist.


You will note that the line you have just added does not look like the other lines in the filelist. Ignore the "pretty" formatting. LISTSERV will reformat the information for you. After adding the line, your filelist should look like this:


*  Files associated with MYLIST and available to subscribers:

*                             rec               last - change

* filename filetype   GET PUT -fm lrecl nrecs   date     time   Remarks

* -------- --------   --- --- --- ----- ----- -------- -------- --------

  MYLIST   POLICY     ALL OWN V      79    45 94/03/16 12:04:23 Mission Statement

  MYLIST   BOOKLIST   ALL OWN V      79   177 94/04/19 16:24:57 Books of interest

  MYLIST   QUARTER    ALL OWN V      73   113 95/03/11 08:57:04 Quarterly posting

 MYLIST FAQ ALL OWN . . . . . Frequently-Asked Questions for MYLIST


*  Listowner's files (not public)

  MYLIST   FAREWELL   OWN OWN V      78     9 95/03/11 08:53:41 Goodbye memo

  MYLIST   WELCOME    OWN OWN V      73   105 95/03/11 09:14:38 Hello memo

Figure 8.2. Adding a file descriptor to the filelist


Note that you can add comment lines to the filelist by placing an asterisk in the left-most column instead of a space. Comment lines can act as indexes, descriptions, or pointers to other resources.


Once you are finished adding file descriptors, save the filelist to disk.


8.3.5. VM only: File Access Codes (FAC) for user access


FACs define which users have access to files in the file archive. The FAC for GET indicates who may retrieve the files, and the FAC for PUT indicates who may store the files on the server. (Note that some special FACs exist for "superusers" such as the LISTSERV maintainer(s) and the LISTSERV Master Coordinator, who may GET and PUT any file regardless of its GET/PUT permissions.)


The basic FAC codes that are always available for VM servers are:


ALL                        universal access.

PRV                        only members of the associated mailing list have access.

OWN                        only the owners of the associated mailing list have access.


(The FAC codes PRV and OWN work only on the VM filelist system. They do not work on the non-VM catalog system. See section 8.4 if you are configuring the non-VM systems.)


(Note that this assumes the name of the filelist is identical to the name of the associated mailing list – for instance, MYLIST@FOO.BAR.EDU would have a MYLIST LIST file and a MYLIST FILELIST file. Ask your LISTSERV maintainer for assistance if this is not the case or if you need special FACs added for special user access to files.)


8.3.6. VM only: Deleting file descriptors from the filelist


Before you delete file descriptors from the filelist, you should delete the files themselves from LISTSERV's archive disk. See section 8.6, below, for instructions.


If this step is not followed, LISTSERV may not be able to find the file you want to delete after you edit the filelist and store it.


8.3.7. VM only: Storing the filelist


1.   Create a mail message to LISTSERV at the appropriate host. (Sending a filelist to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.NET will not work. The filelist must be sent to the host it resides on.)


2.   Include the filelist file as plain text in the body of the mail message. Do not attach it with MIME or another encoding scheme, as LISTSERV does not translate encoded messages.


3.   Make sure that your mail client does not automatically add a signature file to the bottom of your mail. If it does, your signature file will be treated as part of the filelist and will be stored along with it.


4.   At the top of the filelist, add a single line as follows:




      where XXXXXXXX is your personal password for LISTSERV on that host. Note that this is similar to the PUT command used when storing the list file.


5.   Send the filelist to LISTSERV.


Once LISTSERV acknowledges the receipt and storage of the filelist, you can send the files that correspond to the file descriptors in your filelist. See section 8.5, below, for instructions.


8.4. The listname.CATALOG system on non-VM systems


NOTE: If you are running LISTSERV 1.8a or 1.8b, please refer to your Installation Guide or to the List Owner's Manual for LISTSERV 1.8b for information on maintaining your file server.


Documented restriction:  The hierarchical listname.catalog system documented below is not available under LISTSERV Lite.  You may store files on a Lite server for people to retrieve, but the files must be registered in the site.catalog file and must reside in the same directory with the *.list files so that LISTSERV can find them.


LISTSERV version 1.8c and later uses a file archive registration system similar to (but differing in important respects from) the old VM FILELIST system. This system is available on the VMS, unix, and Windows ports only. VM sites will continue to use the old FILELIST system indefinitely as it still offers more functionality than the new system.


Files to be made generally available to users (e.g., not specific to any one list on your server) should still be registered in the site.catalog file as before.


Prior to 1.8c, entries in site.catalog were written like this:


MY.FILE        my.file./home/lists/xyz      ALL JOE@XYZ.COM               


In 1.8c a new "native" format for these entries was introduced, and the new format is used in all of the examples below. The old format remains supported for compatibility. However, note that you MUST use the old format if any of the directories in the path contains a period.


Documented restriction: All files manipulated by LISTSERV must be accessible through LISTSERV's OS-independent file access methods. This means that files whose name contains spaces or control characters (or, under unix, upper case characters) cannot be accessed. Similarly, files whose name does not contain a period cannot be manipulated by LISTSERV. There is no limit on the length of the file name, only on its contents. Note that these "system filenames" are not visible to the end users, who refer to the files by the names assigned in the catalog.


8.4.1. Adding files to the SITE.CATALOG


This is the most basic way to add files to LISTSERV's file archive system so they can be made available to users via the GET command.


To register a new file to the server on workstation systems, the LISTSERV maintainer adds a line to the SITE.CATALOG file. If SITE.CATALOG does not already exist (it is not shipped with the installation kits), simply open a new ASCII text file named site.catalog in the same directory as system.catalog and add entries to it as shown below. (Do not just add entries to system.catalog as this file will always be overwritten during a software update.)


Here is what a typical SITE.CATALOG entry looks like under Windows NT:




And the same entry under Unix would look like this:


MY.FILE     /files/xyz/my.file    XXX YYY


(Note that under Unix, LISTSERV does not observe case-sensitivity internally. Therefore you cannot define two different files with the same non-case-sensitive filename. In other words, LISTSERV will not differentiate between MY.FILE and my.file, or even My.File. But note carefully that the physical files you store must be named in lower-case; in other words, the output of an 'ls' command must show my.file, not MY.FILE or My.File. LISTSERV will handle this issue automatically when you PUT the files, but be forewarned if you store the files on the server via ftp or the Unix file system.)


Finally, here is an OpenVMS example:




The first item, MY.FILE, is the name by which the file is known to LISTSERV. That is, the users will use GET MY.FILE to order a copy of that file. The name should contain only one period.


The second item, for instance C:\FILES\XYZ\MY.FILE, is the name LISTSERV will use for the actual disk file, in native OS format. Note that the directory must be created before you register the file. For security reasons, LISTSERV will not create the directory (or set the protections) for you. Note that LISTSERV will normally need full access to these files.


The third and fourth items are "File Access Codes" (FACs). The first is for read accesses, and the second for writing. The following file access codes are available for non-VM servers (for VM FAC codes, see 8.3.5, above):


ALL                        universal access.

CTL                        only the LISTSERV maintainers have access.

PRIVATE(xxx)      only members of the xxx list have access.

OWNER(xxx)          only the owners of the xxx list have access.

SERVICE(xxx)      only users in the service area of the xxx list have access.

NOTEBOOK(xxx)    same access as the archives of the xxx list.

user@host            the user in question is granted access.


Except for ALL, which must occur on its own, multiple file access code entries can be specified, separated by a comma with no intervening space. For instance:




defines a file that Joe, Jack and the subscribers of the XYZ-L list can order via the GET

command, but that only the LISTSERV administrator can update.


IMPORTANT: These "file access codes" apply to LISTSERV commands (GET, PUT, INDEX) only, and not to the workstation or PC's file security system. It is your responsibility to protect the actual disk file by setting the file protections for the directory in which they are created.


8.4.2. Delegating file management authority 


The sub-catalog enhancement allows the LISTSERV administrator to delegate file management authority in a controlled and secure manner. Multiple list owners can be given the authority to maintain their own sub-catalog in a predefined directory. With the LISTSERV-ISP add on (under development), a quota can be imposed on the directory in question.


The procedure works as follows:


1.       The LISTSERV administrator creates the sub-catalog and identifies the directory where the files will be stored, and the person(s) who will be in charge of managing it ("catalog owners").


2.       The catalog owners use the GET and PUT commands to update their catalog and register new files in their directory. Each file has the usual GET and PUT file access codes, allowing the catalog owners to further delegate the management of individual files to third parties ("file owners").


3.       The file owners manage the files in question using the GET and PUT commands. Authorized users can retrieve the files using the GET command.


Note that this functionality is available in the VM version, using a different syntax. See Chapter 8.3, above, for information on managing the VM file archive system.


If you are migrating from VM to one of the non-VM versions of LISTSERV, please note that it is not necessary to create a subcatalog file for WELCOME, FAREWELL and MAILTPL files. If a subcatalog for these files is not created, they do not appear in the output of an INDEX command. However, there are two ways to force them to appear:


1.       As the result of an INDEX command without qualifier: simply define the file in SITE.CATALOG.


2.       As the result of an INDEX listname command:  simply define the file in the listname.CATALOG.


8.4.3. Creating a sub-catalog


To create a sub-catalog, the LISTSERV administrator edits the file called SITE.CATALOG (or site.catalog under unix) in LISTSERV's main directory (the directory where SYSTEM.CATALOG/system.catalog is located). A sub-catalog is defined as follows:


MY.CATALOG     /home/lists/xyz/my.catalog   ALL JOE@XYZ.COM              


(1)            (2)             (3)          (4) (5)                      




(1) The name must end in '.CATALOG', but otherwise it can be anything. In particular, there does not need to be a list by that name.


(2) The directory specification indicated for the catalog file (e.g., /home/lists/xyz) is where ALL the files defined in the sub-catalog will be stored. DO NOT USE LISTSERV'S MAIN DIRECTORY FOR THIS PURPOSE! The catalog owner will be given FULL ACCESS to all the files in this directory, so make sure to create a new, empty directory. If the sub-catalog is being set up for a list owner, it may be a good idea to put the list archives and the sub-catalog in the same directory.


(3) A file name must be provided for the sub-catalog file itself. This name, however, does not need to match (1).


(4) This file access code controls the authority to INDEX the sub-catalog. This will also be the default GET access code for all the files registered in the sub-catalog.


(5) This file access code defines the catalog owner(s) and default file owner(s) for all the files in the sub-catalog.


Note that there is no need to reboot LISTSERV after updating the SITE.CATALOG file. Also, bear in mind that you are responsible for the OS-level security of the directory you create for the catalog. The file access codes in SITE.CATALOG only affect operations that go through LISTSERV; it is your responsibility to make sure that other users of the computer are given the appropriate access level to any directory you create for LISTSERV's purposes.


8.4.4. Updating the sub-catalog


Once the sub-catalog is created, the catalog owner(s) can register new files using the following procedure (in this example, it will be assumed that the sub-catalog is called MY.CATALOG):


1. Send a GET MY.CATALOG command to LISTSERV (or, if the catalog is brand new, start from an empty file).


2. Register new file(s) in the catalog (see below).


3. Use the PUT MY.CATALOG PW=XXXXX command to store the updated catalog.


Alternatively, if the catalog owner has an account on the LISTSERV host system and write access to the directory associated with the sub-catalog, the file can be edited directly. Note however that, in that case, the LISTSERV-ISP quota system will be inoperative as it has no control over disk accesses which do not go through LISTSERV itself.


The format of sub-catalogs is similar to that of SITE.CATALOG:


MY.FILE        my.file                      ALL JOE@XYZ.COM             

(1)            (2)                          (3) (4)                     




(1) This defines the name of the file as seen by LISTSERV users. That is, the command to retrieve the file will be GET MY.FILE.


(2) This defines the name of the actual disk file where the contents of MY.FILE will be stored. Normally, you should specify the same as (1), or just an equal sign (LISTSERV will then substitute the name you provided for (1)). However, in some cases you may want to make a particular file available under multiple names. This can be done by registering multiple files (ie multiple values for (1)), and using the same (2) value every time.


(3) This file access code determines who can order the file through a GET command. See section 8.4.1, above, for more information on FAC codes.


(4) This file access code determines who can update the file with the PUT command. See section 8.4.1, above, for more information on FAC codes.


Note: (2) defaults to the value of (1), and (3) and (4) default to the GET and PUT access codes of the sub-catalog itself, respectively. So, in most cases a sub-catalog entry will be as simple as:




Additionally, comment lines (starting with an asterisk) or blank lines can be interspersed with file definitions. These comments will be echoed when the sub-catalog is indexed (see below), in sequence with the file definitions. For instance, your catalog could read:



* Files for the XYZ sub-project







8.4.5. Indexing the sub-catalog


If MY.CATALOG is defined as:


MY.CATALOG     /home/lists/xyz/my.catalog   xxx JOE@XYZ.COM


then any user who matches the 'xxx' file access code is authorized to issue an INDEX MY command to get a formatted version of the catalog. For compatibility with older versions of LISTSERV, GET MY.FILELIST will produce the same results. If there is a mailing list called MY, a list of the archive files will be appended automatically.




8.5. Storing files on the host machine


Please note that LISTSERV does not currently recognize "attachments" created by many popular mail clients as files to be stored with the PUT command. Such files must be part of the body of the message that contains the PUT command. This means that binary files must be stored either in 7-bit format (uuencoded, etc.) or ftp’d to the server and placed in the appropriate directory by the LISTSERV maintainer or other privileged user.


If you store binary-format files on the server, you should be careful to note in the file catalog or filelist that users who want to GET the files will need to use an F= modifier (e.g., GET BINARY.FILE F=MIME/APPL) when ordering them by e-mail.


To store a file on any LISTSERV host, first ensure that it has been registered with an entry in a filelist or the site catalog. Then mail the file to LISTSERV with a single line at the top of the document:


1.       Edit your file and save it. Add a single line at the top of the file as follows (square brackets indicate optional parameters):


PUT filename extension [filelist|catalogname] PW=XXXXXXXX


(This line will not appear to people who GET the file from LISTSERV.) Replace XXXXXXXX with your personal password. If you specify the filelist or catalog name, do not put the square brackets around the name.


There are a couple of issues that need to be noted here:


·         If the file you are going to store is registered in the sitewide catalog or filelist, do not specify the name of the catalog or filelist.


·         If the file you are going to store is registered in a sub-catalog or filelist other than the sitewide one, you may have to specify the name of the sub-catalog or filelist in order to be able to store the file. This is because it is entirely possible that two lower-level filelists or catalogs may have files registered with the same name (for instance, README TXT). If LISTSERV has two sub-catalogs registered (for instance, MYLIST CATALOG and HISLIST CATALOG) that both have a file called README TXT registered, then a PUT README TXT command will tell LISTSERV to try and store the file in the first catalog it comes to in the hierarchy. If MYLIST CATALOG is registered before HISLIST CATALOG in SITE CATALOG, LISTSERV will try to store the file as if it belonged to MYLIST (which we assume is what you want). However, if HISLIST CATALOG is registered before MYLIST CATALOG (and many sites like to keep things in alphabetical order, so this is a most likely scenario), LISTSERV will try to store the file as if it belonged to HISLIST, and you will get an error stating that you aren't allowed to store the file.


·         NOTE CAREFULLY that you MUST turn off your signature file (if one is enabled in your mail client) in order to successfully store files. If you do not, LISTSERV will store your signature file at the end of the file.


2.   Be sure that the file has been registered with an entry in a filelist or the site catalog.


3.   Be sure that you have defined a "personal password" to LISTSERV with the PW ADD command before you PUT the new or edited file. If you have done this but can't remember the password, send a PW RESET command to LISTSERV, then a new    PW ADD command.


4.   Send the mail message to LISTSERV. 


8.6. Deleting files from the host machine


To delete a registered file on any LISTSERV host:


1.       Create a new mail message addressed to LISTSERV. Add a single line at the top of the message as follows:


      PUT filename extension [filelist|catalogname] PW=XXXXXXXX


      (Replace XXXXXXXX with your personal password.) The same issues noted in 8.5 regarding the filelist/catalog name are operative here.


      NOTE CAREFULLY that you MUST turn off your signature file (if one is enabled in your mail client) in order to successfully delete files.  If you do not, LISTSERV will store your signature file in place of the file you are trying to delete instead of deleting the file.


2.   Be sure that you have defined a "personal password" to LISTSERV with the PW ADD command before you PUT the delete job. If you have done this but can't remember the password, send a PW RESET command to LISTSERV, then a new PW ADD command.


3.   Send the mail message to LISTSERV. 


4.   LISTSERV will tell you that the file has been successfully deleted.


5.   For VM Systems ONLY:  GET the listname FILELIST for your list and delete the line for the file you’ve just deleted.  PUT the listname FILELIST back on the server.


6.   For Workstation and PC Systems ONLY:  Get the listname.CATALOG for your list and delete the line for the file you've just deleted. PUT the listname.CATALOG back on the server. Note that this is not necessarily required since under non-VM, if the physical file does not exist, LISTSERV will not include it in the output of an INDEX command. This is primarily a housekeeping measure.


8.7. Automatic File Distribution (AFD) and File Update Information (FUI)


AFD and FUI have not yet been ported to the workstation and PC environments. However, this feature is supported on VM and will be supported in the near future on the other platforms.


If you are running LISTSERV under unix, Windows, or VMS, please skip the rest of this section as it does not pertain in any way to your implementation of LISTSERV.


These two features are similar in their command syntax, but do different things. AFD provides a method whereby users may subscribe to specific files, which will be sent to them any time the files are updated. For instance, if you have a FAQ file that is updated monthly, a user could send an AFD subscription to that FAQ file and LISTSERV would send it to the user every time you updated and stored the FAQ.


FUI, on the other hand, is a method whereby a user subscribes to a file but receives only a notification that the file has been updated. The user can then GET the file at his own discretion.


AFD and FUI can be password-protected to protect users from network hackers who might forge mail from the user subscribing him to large or frequently-updated files. If a password is not provided in an AFD ADD or FUI ADD command, LISTSERV warns the user that it would be a good idea to password protect the subscription.


8.8. File "Packages"


This feature is available for VM (all versions) and non-VM (beginning with 1.8d).


You can define a group of files as a "package" that can be retrieved by users with a single GET command. First, ensure that all the files in the package are defined in the appropriate filelist and stored on the server as detailed above.


Next, create a file descriptor in the appropriate filelist or catalog for a file called filename $PACKAGE (or filename.$PACKAGE for non-VM), where filename is the name you have chosen for the group of files. Be sure that the filetype or extension is $PACKAGE, with a leading $ sign, and store your filelist.


Now create the actual filename $PACKAGE file. At the top of the file you can insert comment lines beginning with asterisks, for example:



* Packing list for MYLIST PACKAGE


* You can make other comments here, such as

* the contact email address.


* filename filetype filelist



Following these comment lines, you insert lines for each of the files contained in the package. There are two ways to format entries in your $PACKAGE file:


·         A "compatibility" mode that works on all platforms, and which is identical to the original method used on VM (and which VM servers still must use). In the compatibility mode the basic format for the entries is


filename filetype filelist <optional_comments>


for example,


MYLIST   $PACKAGE MYLIST The packing list

INTEREST FILE     MYLIST Interest groups

NETIQUET FILE     MYLIST How to behave



·         In the second (new) mode for non-VM servers only, the entries are formatted like this:


filename.extension <optional_comments>


for example,


MYLIST.$PACKAGE The packing list

INTEREST.FILE   Interest groups

NETIQUET.FILE   How to behave

ANOTHER.FILE    No comment


Note that anything that is not the name of a file in the package must be commented out with an asterisk in the leftmost column of the line. It is possible to create a package file without any comment lines at all, but this is not preferable in practice. Often users will get the package file itself just to see what is in it. You should include a reference to the package file itself so that the user will get a copy of the "packing list" to check against the files he receives from LISTSERV.


The final step is to send the package file to LISTSERV like any other file.


Now users can do one of two things:


1.   They may get the entire package of files sent to them by sending LISTSERV the command GET filename PACKAGE (without the $ sign); or


2.   They may request that LISTSERV send only the package file itself by sending LISTSERV the command GET filename $PACKAGE (with the $ sign).


Packages may be subscribed to with the AFD and FUI commands (VM only).


8.9. Where to find more information on File Archives


Other guides that refer to File Archive setup and maintenance are referenced in Appendix E, Related Documentation and Support.


8.10. Notebook Archives


Notebook archives are files in which postings to the list are stored (assuming that notebooks are enabled for the particular list). In general, they are managed automatically by LISTSERV, with certain functions left to the list owner(s). For instance, there is no need to register notebook archives in the listname.FILELIST or listname.CATALOG; this is taken care of automatically.


8.10.1. Setting up notebook archives for a list


Setting up notebook archives requires only a few steps:


1.       Make sure that you have disk space for the notebook archives and that the directory in which they will reside has been created with appropriate security privileges.  LISTSERV needs read and write access to any directory it uses for notebooks. Note that, for security reasons, LISTSERV will not create the directory if it does not exist.


2.       Add the Notebook= keyword to the list header with appropriate settings. (If you are not the LISTSERV maintainer, you will have to ask the LISTSERV maintainer to do this for you.)


3.       Store the list header back on the server.


For instance, let's assume you have a list called MYLIST running on a unix server and you wish to store its archives in a directory called /usr/listserv/home/mylist-archive. Notebooks are to be kept on a monthly basis and are to be available to anyone.  Your Notebook= keyword would look like this:


* Notebook= Yes,/usr/listserv/home/mylist-archive,Monthly,Public


Note that only the LISTSERV maintainer may change the location of Notebook archives (or change Notebook= No to Notebook= Yes). Anyone else attempting to PUT the list header after changing these values will result in the following message being sent in response:


The following problems have been detected in the list header:


* Notebook= ...

Error: The first two parameters of the "Notebook=" keyword may only be updated

       by the LISTSERV administrator.


Please refer to the list keyword documentation (available via the "INFO

KEYWORDS" command) for more information about keyword syntax.


PUT operation rejected, old list remains unchanged.

Figure 8.3. This output will appear either if an attempt is made to change "Notebook= No" to "Notebook= Yes", or if an attempt is made to change the location where notebook archives are stored on the server, by anyone who is not a LISTSERV maintainer.


Similar restrictions also apply to the Digest= keyword. See Appendix B for details.


8.10.2. Migrating old notebook archives to a new site (LISTSERV to LISTSERV)


If migrating old notebook archives from one LISTSERV site to another, you can simply ftp (in TEXT mode) the notebooks from the old host to the new host, put them in the directory reference in the Notebook= keyword settings, and LISTSERV will immediately recognize their presence. You can also migrate the notebooks with GET and PUT.


8.10.3. Migrating old notebook archives (non-LISTSERV to LISTSERV)


LISTSERV notebooks follow a modified VM MailBook format, which is as follows:

 A line of 73 "=" signs (ASCII 0x3D)

 RFC822 headers, starting with the Date: header[6]

 Blank line (actually part of RFC822 headers)

 Message body


For instance:



Date:         Fri, 6 Mar 1998 17:05:01 -0500

Sender:       Test list <TEST@XXXXXX.NET>

From:         Nathan Brindle <nathan@XXXXXX.NET>

Mime-Version: 1.0

Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"


This is a test.


Date:         Thu, 12 Mar 1998 13:23:07 -0500

Sender:       Test list <TEST@XXXXXX.NET>

From:         Nathan Brindle <nathan@XXXXXX.NET>

Subject:      Test


This is another test


Date:         Thu, 12 Mar 1998 13:24:58 -0500

Sender:       Test list <TEST@XXXXXX.NET>

From:         Nathan Brindle <nathan@XXXXXX.NET>

Subject:      Test 3

Mime-Version: 1.0

Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"


Yet another test.


The last message in the archive is not followed by a separator line (in other words, the separator line is found at the beginning of each message, not at the end of each message).


If you can reformat your non-LISTSERV archives this way then you can rename them using standard LISTSERV filenames:


For monthly archives:     listname.logyymm

For weekly archives:       listname.logyymmw

For yearly archives:        listname.logyy


(where yy = 2 digit year, mm = 2 digit month, w = letter A-F denoting the week of the month), place them in the directory pointed to by the Notebook= keyword for the list, and LISTSERV will index them and make them available via the web archive interface and so on.[7] Note that in order for the web archive interface to notice new notebook files you must either GET and PUT the list header or restart LISTSERV.


If a list owner is planning to store archive files via the PUT method, the LISTSERV maintainer must first make dummy files with the same filenames in the list's notebook directory so that LISTSERV will not say that the file does not exist and reject the PUT operation. However please note that you should not make entries for the notebooks in listname.catalog (if one exists). LISTSERV makes its list of notebooks "on the fly" every time an INDEX command is issued for the list.


If your old archives have lines at the beginning of each message like this:


From userid@host.com Thu Feb 2 15:27:02 1995


you should delete them; this is the message separator used by sendmail. LISTSERV does not use it and it may in fact cause problems with indexing if left in.


8.10.4. Deleting old notebook archives


The LISTSERV maintainer may delete old notebook archives that are no longer needed in one of two ways:


·         Use standard file system commands from the console prompt to delete the files. On VM, use CMS ERASE; on Unix, rm; on VMS, DEL; on Windows systems, DEL or ERASE.


·         Send a PUT command by itself (in essence, you are storing a zero-length file) via mail to LISTSERV.  For instance:


      PUT MYLIST LOG9607 PW=mypersonalpw


by itself would delete the file MYLIST LOG9607.


Two important issues:


1.       This command MUST be issued by e-mail.  It cannot be issued via the "Execute a LISTSERV command" facility of the web management interface.


2.       NOTE CAREFULLY that you MUST turn off your signature file (if one is enabled in your mail client) in order to successfully delete files.  If you do not, LISTSERV will store your signature file in place of the file you are trying to delete instead of deleting the file.


8.10.5. Indexing existing notebook archives


LISTSERV creates the notebook archive index "on the fly" as required. If there is an existing listname.FILELIST or listname.CATALOG, it appends the index of notebook archives to the end of the index of other files. Otherwise, the index of notebooks is generated and sent by itself. The user simply issues the command INDEX listname  to receive the index of available files and notebooks.

9. Creating and Editing LISTSERV's Mail and Web Templates


9.1. What LISTSERV uses templates for


Templates are used to generate some of the mail LISTSERV sends to users in response to commands it receives.  Among these are the "You are now subscribed . . ." message, the message sent to users when LISTSERV cannot find a subscription for them in a specified list, and others. Note that certain administrative mail (for instance, the response to the STATS and RELEASE commands) is hard-coded into LISTSERV and cannot be changed.


Other templates are used to generate the HTML code used by the web archive and administration interfaces.


A word about nomenclature: When we talk about "templates" we are talking about "files that contain one or more template forms", in other words, files like DEFAULT MAILTPL or DEFAULT WWWTPL. A "template form" is an individual section of a template which begins with a title line (three ">" symbols followed by a space, the name of the template form, and (optionally) a short description of the template, which for some template forms is also used as the subject of the mail LISTSERV constructs with the template form), followed by one or more lines of copy and/or imbedded commands, and ends at the next title line or the end of the file, whichever is reached first. A template may contain one or more template forms.


9.2. The default  template  files and how to get copies


LISTSERV stores its default mail template information in a file called DEFAULT MAILTPL, which can be requested by list owners and LISTSERV maintainers from LISTSERV with the GET command, just like any other file.  The LISTSERV maintainer will find this file in LISTSERV's "A" directory (usually ~listserv/home/default.mailtpl on unix, LISTSERV\MAIN\DEFAULT.MAILTPL on Windows systems, and LISTSERV_ROOT:[MAIN]DEFAULT.MAILTPL under VMS). Note that DEFAULT MAILTPL  contains some (but not all) of the web interface template forms.


LISTSERV stores the rest of its default web interface template forms in a file called DEFAULT WWWTPL, which can be retrieved in a manner identical to that for DEFAULT MAILTPL.


Note that it is considered unwise (and it is not supported) to modify the contents of DEFAULT MAILTPL or DEFAULT WWWTPL themselves, as these files will be overwritten by upgrades. It is possible to make sitewide changes that will not be overwritten without disturbing either of these files.


Under 1.8d and following, all template forms may be edited using the web administration interface described in chapter 11.  Edited template forms are placed in template files that will not be overwritten by software upgrades.


9.3. Mail template format and embedded formatting commands


Each individual template form starts with a form name and subject line, such as:


>>> EXAMPLE1 This is the subject line


Please note carefully the following instructions for the form name and subject line:


·         The template form starts with the line containing the form name and subject, and ends with the next line starting with '>>>', or at the end of the file.

·         The subject line may contain substitutions (such as "&LISTNAME: &WHOM requested to join").

·         Ensure that there is a blank space (ASCII 0x20) between ‘>>>‘ and the name of the form, or LISTSERV will not recognize the form. 

·         Also note that the names of the template forms must be typed in UPPER CASE.


A template form contains text and, optionally, formatting/editing commands, which start with a period in column 1. All other lines are treated as normal text: sequences starting with an & sign are substituted, then lines are joined together to form a paragraph, which is finally formatted like with any non-WYSIWYG text processor. You can suspend formatting with .FO OFF and resume it with .FO ON; when formatting is suspended, LISTSERV no longer joins lines to form a paragraph, but simply writes one line of text to the message for each line read from the template form. This makes it possible to include tables or a text-mode logo, but can create seriously imbalanced text if substitutions are used. For instance, a typical &WHOM substitution can range from a dozen characters to 60 or more, even though it only takes up 5 characters on your screen when you enter it.


The following substitutions are always available:



Long-style date (04 Jan 1998)




Three-letter day of the week, in English




The substitution you will use most of the time when you need to refer to LISTSERV. For Internet-only or BITNET-only servers, this will display LISTSERV's only e-mail address. For servers with both Internet and BITNET connectivity, it will say "LISTSERV@hostname (or LISTSERV@nodeid.BITNET)".




LISTSERV's address, in the form LISTSERV@XYZ.EDU or, if no Internet hostname is available, LISTSERV@XYZVM1.BITNET.




LISTSERV's BITNET nodeid, without the '.BITNET', or its Internet hostname if no NJE address is available.




LISTSERV's Internet hostname or, if none is available, its NJE address (with '.BITNET').




Looks up the specified address in LISTSERV's signup file and displays "name <addr>" if a name is available, or just the original address otherwise. This is typically used to give the name of the command originator or target, along with his e-mail address: &MBX(&WHOM) or &MBX(&INVOKER). Please note however that &WHOM and &INVOKER are not always available in every template.




LISTSERV’s release number (e.g., "1.8e").




The operating system under which LISTSERV is running.




The full operating system name including the version number, e.g., "VM/ESA 1.2.3", "Windows NT 4.0", "Linux 2.0.27", "SunOS 5.4", etc.




The type of machine LISTSERV is running on, e.g., "Pentium (512M)". 


The following substitutions  are also available for  templates related to mailing lists:



Either the short or long name of the list based on the value of "List-Address=" and/or its system default. By default the long ("List-ID=") name is used if present.




Title of the list, or empty string.




Value of the specified keyword for the list. You do not need to specify the name of the list - it is implicit. You need not put quotes around the keyword names either, although quotes will be accepted if present. Optionally, you can specify a second numeric argument to extract just one of the terms of a list header keyword; for instance, if the list header contains "Notebook= Yes,L1,Monthly,Private", &KWD(NOTEBOOK,4) has the value "Private". A third argument, also optional, specifies the default value for the keyword in case it was not initialized. It is meant to be used for conditional formatting in the default templates and list owners should not worry about it.




(1.8c and following) Has the value 1 when running the LISTSERV Lite product, and 0 otherwise. This variable can be used to write generic templates that account for the differences between the two products.




(1.8c and following) Returns today’s date in ISO format, i.e., yyyy-mm-dd.




(1.8c and following) Used to create FAQ templates with rotating topics. May also be used to create bottom banners with rotating text (e.g., for lists with multiple commercial sponsors who get "ad space" in the banner on a rotating basis).


In addition, many template forms have their own specific substitutions, meaningful only in their specific context. For instance, a message informing a user that he was added to a mailing list may have an &INVOKER substitution for the address of the person who issued the ADD command. This is not meaningful for a template form intended to inform a user that he must confirm his subscription to a list within 10 days, so it is not generally available. If you attempt to use a substitution which is not available, the template processor writes an error message to the mail message it is generating, but sends it anyway, in the hope that the recipient will be able to figure out the meaning of the message in spite of the error. If you need to include a sentence with an ampersand character, you will have to double it to bypass the substitution process, as in "XYZ &&co."


The mail template processor also supports HTML-like variable closure, in addition to the traditional LISTSERV closure (both methods are supported concurrently; there is no need to select one over the other). For example:




For more information, please send mail to &EMAIL or call &PHONE.




For more information, please send mail to &EMAIL; or call &PHONE;.


Previously, HTML writers who used HTML closure conventions would not get the expected results. This change makes it easier for webmasters to get the desired results the first time.


Any line starting with a period in  column 1 is processed as a formatting command. Note that neither substitutions nor formatting commands are case sensitive. Here is a list of the formatting commands list owners may need to use:



Comment: anything on this line is simply ignored. This is useful for recording changes to template files when there are multiple owners. Just add a comment line with the date and your initials every time you make a change, for the benefit of the other owners.




Turns off formatting: one template line = one line in the final message. You can resume formatting with .FO ON or .FO RAGGed.  (.FO RAGGed requires LISTSERV 1.8e-2002a or later, that is, build date of 31 October 2002 or later)




Changes right-justified text formatting to left justified text formatting. You can resume right-justified formatting with .FO ON.  (.FO RAGGed requires LISTSERV 1.8e-2002a or later, that is, build date of 31 October 2002 or later)



.CE text

Centers the text you specify (just the text you typed on the same line as the .CE command). This can be useful to highlight the syntax of a command.




Adds a 'Reply-To:' field pointing to the list owners in the header of the generated message. Use this command when you think users are likely to want to reply with a question. You can also use .RE POSTMASTER to direct replies to the LISTSERV administrator, if this is more appropriate.




Removes all "cc:" message recipients, if any. You can also add message recipients by specifying a series of e-mail addresses after the .CC statement, as in .CC JOE@XYZ.EDU. PC mail users should note that in this context "cc:" is a RFC822 term that stands for "carbon copy". RFC822 messages may have "cc:" recipients in addition to their "primary" recipients. There is no real technical difference between the two, the "cc:" indicator just denotes a message that is being sent for your information. Some administrative messages sent to list owners are copied to the user for their information, and vice-versa; this behavior can be disabled by adding a .CC OFF statement to the template.




Replaces the default recipients of a message with the value specified. For instance, if you use the ADDREQ1 template form to send new subscribers a questionnaire, application form or similar material, you will need to add a '.TO &WHOM' instruction to your modified template form, as by default the user will not receive a copy.




Cancels the message. LISTSERV stops reading the template form and does not send anything. This is useful if you want to completely remove a particular message; note however that this can be confusing with certain commands, as LISTSERV may say "Notification is being sent to the list owners" when in fact nothing will be sent because of the .QQ command in the template form.


(Starting with 1.8e) Ends processing of the current template as if you had reached the end, but without cancelling the message. The main purpose is to avoid multi-level nested .BB/.EB conditional blocks (see below) that are hard to keep track of.


A number of more advanced commands are available to list owners with more sophisticated needs and some programming experience. If you encounter one of these commands in a template, you will probably want to leave it alone.


.IM name

Imbeds (inserts) another template form at this point in the message. This is used to avoid duplicating large pieces of text which are mostly identical, such as the templates for "you have been added to list X by Y" and "your subscription to list X has been accepted".


As noted below, LISTSERV will not pick up an "imbedded" template form from $SITE$.MAILTPL. If you wish to include an "imbedded" template form (e.g., $SIGNUP) in $SITE$.MAILTPL, you must also include the template form that calls it with the .im command.



.DD ddname

Copies the contents of the specified DD into the message. This is meaningful only if a DD has been set up by LISTSERV for this purpose. As a rule of thumb, you should either leave these statements unchanged or remove them.



.BB cond

Begin conditional block. The boolean expression following the keyword is evaluated and, if false, all the text between the .BB and .EB delimiters is skipped. Conditional blocks nest to an arbitrary depth. The expression evaluator is recursive but not very sophisticated; the restriction you are most likely to encounter is that all sub-expressions have to be enclosed in parentheses if you are using boolean operators. That is, ".BB &X = 3" is valid but ".BB &X = 3 and &Y = 4" is not. String literals do not require quoting unless they contain blanks, but quotes are accepted if supplied. Comparison operators are = <> ^= IN and NOT IN (the last two look for a word in a blank-separated list of options, such as a keyword value). These operators are not case-sensitive; == and ^== are available when case must be respected. Boolean operators are AND and OR. Note that a conditional block must be contained on one physical line and may not wrap, so be careful when sending MAILTPL files back to LISTSERV that you do not accidentally wrap long .BB lines.


Starting with LISTSERV 1.8d the operators =* and ^=* are available to perform wildcard matches in conditional blocks. For instance JOHN_DOE@UNIX.EXAMPLE.COM =* J*DOE@*EXAMPLE.COM is a true statement. The wildcard specification is on the right-hand side whereas the actual text (or variable) you are evaluating is on the left.




End conditional block (see .BB).




Stop (in other words, QUit) processing of the current template as if you had reached the end, but without cancelling the message. The main purpose is to avoid multi-level nested .BB/.EB conditional blocks that are hard to keep track of.  Available in 1.8e and following.



.SE var text

Defines or redefines a substitution variable. This is convenient for storing temporary (text) expression results which need to be used several times. Even standard variables such as &LISTNAME can be redefined - at your own risk. You must enclose the text expression in single quotes if you want leading or trailing blanks.



.CS text

Define a (non standard) character set for the template in question, i.e.,


.CS ISO-8559-7


This setting is ignored if the template does not actually contain special characters (for instance, if the template is written in 7-bit ASCII). Otherwise the appropriate headers are created for the message in question when it is sent out.



.TY text

Types one line of text on the LISTSERV console log. This can be useful to the LISTSERV maintainer for debugging, and also to record information in the console log.



.ASIS text

Tells LISTSERV to leave the text immediately following the .ASIS directive alone, that is, don't convert "<" and ">" characters into HTML &lt; and &gt; when creating pages.  This is specifically for use in HTML templates where it is important not to convert parts of a URL reference.  For instance,


.ASIS Click <a href="http://some.host.com/some-doc.html">here</a>.


As with the .CE directive, the text you intend to affect with the .ASIS directive must not wrap.  The .ASIS directive will only work on text it finds on the same physical line into which it is coded.


9.3.1. 8-bit characters in templates


Starting with 1.8d, if you include 8-bit characters (e.g., accented or national language characters) in templates, LISTSERV will automatically encode the templates on-the-fly using MIME quoted-printable encoding. While there is no guarantee that every mail program will be able to properly display 8-bit characters, those mail programs that do understand MIME quoted-printable encoding should have no trouble doing so.


9.4. Creating and editing a <listname>.MAILTPL file for a list


Please note that list-level mail templates are not available in LISTSERV Lite.


Make a copy of DEFAULT.MAILTPL on your local machine and name it listname.MAILTPL.[8]  Keep the original DEFAULT.MAILTPL around in case you make a mistake and need to start over.


At this point, you could theoretically store the listname.MAILTPL back on the LISTSERV host. However, without making any changes that would be somewhat pointless. At the very least you should edit the INFO template form before storing the template. Note also that you need only store the sections of the template that you have changed. For instance, if you edit the INFO template form but leave the rest of the template untouched, you can delete the rest of the template and store the INFO template form alone as listname.MAILTPL. The benefit to this approach is that any administrative changes to the rest of the default template are automatically applicable to your list as soon as they are made, rather than requiring that you edit your mail template individually to reflect such changes. L-Soft recommends that this approach be followed as the default.


Under LISTSERV 1.8d and following it is not necessary to do the GET and PUT; you can edit individual template forms by using the web administration interface (described in chapter 11) instead.


9.4.1. The INFO template form


The first section of DEFAULT.MAILTPL is called the INFO template form, and it is LISTSERV's response to the command INFO listname.  By default, it contains the following:


 >>> INFO Information about the &LISTNAME list

There is no information file for the &LISTNAME list. Here is a copy of

the list "header", which usually contains a short description of the

purpose of the list, although its main purpose is to define various

list configuration options, also called

"keywords". If you have any question about the &LISTNAME list, write to

the list owners at the generic address:





Figure 9.1. The default contents of the INFO template form of DEFAULT.MAILTPL.


Note the replaceable parameters &LISTNAME and &MYHOST. Don't change &MYHOST; LISTSERV replaces it with the correct value for the name of the host site. &LISTNAME automatically inserts the name of the list.  It's probably best to use &LISTNAME to refer to the list throughout the document rather than to replace it with something like "MYLIST-L". This ensures that the template form will be consistent with the default and will be simpler to debug should a problem arise. Also, in the event the name of the list changes, it will be unnecessary to edit the template form (although it would have to be renamed to match the new name of the list, of course).


Should it be desirable to replace the default INFO template form with information about the list, it is probably best to remove the .dd &LISTHDR line. This line instructs LISTSERV to read in the header of the list and add it to the response in lieu of any other data about the list.  Many list owners add descriptive comment lines to their list headers, thus this default.


Here is a minimally-edited sample INFO template form for a list called MONKEYS:[9]

 >>> INFO Information about the &LISTNAME list

&LISTNAME is an open, unmoderated discussion list featuring

monkeys.  Things such as how to care for a pet monkey, monkey

diseases, monkey lore, endangered species of monkeys, and

monkey psychology are likely to be discussed.  The list is

NOT intended for discussion of Darwinism and/or theories of



If you have any question about the &LISTNAME list, write to

the list owners at the generic address:



Figure 9.2. Sample edited INFO template form.


9.4.2. Other available template forms


Traditionally, message templates have contained the text of "long" administrative messages, such as messages informing subscribers that they have been removed from a mailing list. These notices were sent unconditionally, as a separate message. Since 1.8b, the template processor has supported "linear" messages, which are sent as a normal command reply and allow the list owner to modify the replies from selected commands, and "optional" messages, which are only sent if a template for this action has been specifically provided by the list owner.


In a linear message, most special instructions are ignored. This is because the contents of the template form are just a few lines out of a larger message that is being prepared by LISTSERV to contain the reply to the user's command(s). For instance, you do not have any control over the "Reply-To:" field of the message, because the message in question is shared with other commands and, in fact, may not be a mail message at all but an interactive message to the user's terminal, a GUI request, etc. Generally speaking, with a linear message you are providing the TEXT of the reply to be shown to the user, but you do not have any control over the methods used for delivering this information.


Here is a list of all of the template forms (other than INFO, described above) available in DEFAULT.MAILTPL, in the order in which they appear and with a short description for each.  Linear and optional template forms are noted where applicable.


·    &