Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(October 1999)

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Subject: Re: Sympa? mailman?
From: Jeremy Blackman <loki @ maison-otaku . net>
Date: Mon, 11 Oct 1999 14:33:27 -0700 (PDT)
To: Chuq Von Rospach <chuqui @ plaidworks . com>
Cc: list-managers @ GreatCircle . COM
In-reply-to: <v04210103b427d4815863 @ plaidworks . com>

On Mon, 11 Oct 1999, Chuq Von Rospach wrote:

> Has anyone out there used mailman ( or Sympa 
> (
> if so, what do you think of the system?

Ok, I'm (obviously) biased, being the author of yet a third package
(Listar, at, but here's my take.

Sympa has struck me as a fairly nice system overall; many of the features
they have are ones planned in the future for Listar (and ironically, a
number of the features they have planned in the future are ones Listar
has).  Their database support is nice, and I like their ability to combine
multiple lists into one overall list (like Listar's 'cc-lists'
functionality, although I didn't know Sympa had such a feature until today
when I went to check their changelog before responding to this post). My
only true complaint about it is that it is... well, a giant Perl script.  
Admittedly, a far better written and organized Perl script than Majordomo
(in my opinion), but still... a Perl script.  For large-volume lists, I
tend to prefer something written in C or C++.

Now, perhaps I'm biased due to some bad experiences with Mailman, but I've
never particularly liked the package.  For starters, I'm the sort of
person who believes that while list administration and access should be
POSSIBLE over the web, it should not be REQUIRED... so the fact that
mailman had -no- provision for accepting commands over e-mail the last
time I looked at it strongly bothered me.  Additionally, it's a Python
script - yet another interpreted language.  

As I said, it's just one of my personal quirks that I don't like running
large-volume mailing lists as interpreted scripts.  I watched someone run
a Majordomo list with 1900 users that got 80 posts a day, and it flattened
his machine... that was one of the reasons I decided to write Listar in C.

So, my PERSONAL opinion, between the two, is that I like Sympa better -
largely because it's closer to my own philosophy of how a mailing list
package should work, albeit with the one (to my mind) flaw of being
written in Perl.

Just my $0.02 + state sales tax (where applicable).

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