The Relayed File Distribution (also known generically as DISTRIBUTE) feature was developed in an attempt to provide an efficient and network-resources-saving means whereby files and mail could be distributed to a large number of persons on the network by ANY network user, without having to resort to predefined distribution lists (which have other advantages but are basically static).

This section is composed of three independent sections. The first one is a description of the distribution algorithm used by Relayed File Distribution. It is general enough to be accessible to inexpert computer users, but does not explain how to send a Relayed File Distribution Request (RFDR) to LISTSERV. The next section gives a detailed technical description of RFDRs and assumes the reader is familiar with the basic concepts of the Commands-Jobs Language Interpreter (CJLI), described in Section 2 Commands-Job Feature and CJLI Interpreter. The final section is a more practical tutorial regarding the construction of RFDR jobs.

Note: While "RFDR Job" is actually the correct nomenclature for a job sent out using Relayed File Distribution, the more common (if not as entirely correct) term "DISTRIBUTE Job" may also be used herein, interchangeably, to describe such jobs.

The DISTRIBUTE command requires validation, so by default it cannot be used by any random entity (for instance, to generate spam).  The validation is implemented as follows:

    • Only a LISTSERV maintainer (i.e., a user who is identified in LISTSERV's site configuration file as a POSTMASTER=) or a "trusted" user (identified in LISTSERV's site configuration file in the DIST_ALLOWED_USERS= variable) may issue the DISTRIBUTE command; and
    • The DISTRIBUTE command must be validated with the issuer's personal LISTSERV password (obtained with the PW ADD command).

Prior to the release of LISTSERV 1.8d (13) in 1999, the DISTRIBUTE command did NOT require validation.  It is possible to "relax" the DISTRIBUTE command back to the previous (pre-1999) behavior by setting the DIST_SECURITY site configuration variable appropriately, but this is NOT RECOMMENDED. See the documentation for the DIST_SECURITY site configuration variable for details.


9.1 Relayed File Distribution

9.2 Relayed File Distribution requests

9.3 Creating and Sending a Mail RFDR ("DISTRIBUTE") Job

9.4 Advanced LISTSERV Applications Using DISTRIBUTE