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 15:25:56 -0700 (PDT)
To: Chuq Von Rospach <chuqui @ plaidworks . com>
Cc: list-managers @ GreatCircle . COM
In-reply-to: <v04210102b428094ff2f0 @ plaidworks . com>

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

> My experience, FWIW, is that the interpreted aspects of the server 
> rarely are the problem. Majordomo doesn't scale well to large lists, 
> but mostly because it's spending its time whacking at flat text files 
> (and I don't care how fast your language or server is, you can only 
> grep through a text file so fast...). heck, I used to run a busier 
> site tham the 1900/80 on a 68K box years ago.

I won't deny that in the least - one reason an abstract database support
layer (MySDL, Postgres, etc.) is a high priority for Listar.  However, one
of the problems with Majordomo is also that, for a high-traffic list, it's
re-parsing the whole program (which is NOT a trivially-sized Perl script)
for each post.  Ouchie!

> The big performance areas are the update I/O and delivery overhead. 
> Both swamp whatever overhead the server language might cause... In my 
> personal opinion, of course. No reason NOt to use C or C++, but I've 
> got a modified version of majordomo running pretty well with well 
> over a million subscribers. And it'll get even better once I fully 
> get MySQL implemented on the back end (right now, we're only driving 
> unsubscribes from the database, and feeding commands into majordomo. 
> Soon, we'll simply be removing majordomo and driving it all with 
> custom code)

Often times, this may be the way to do it.  I've found it may be easier to
write a custom app than make an existing one do things the way that works
best for you.  That's why I wrote Listar; I didn't want to hack Majordomo
anymore, and Smartlist... well, let's just say that giant Procmail scripts
as applications scare me more than giant Perl scripts do. ;)

(Actually, as far as I'm concerned, all 'general' apps should be easily
customizable and extendable - hence Listar's plugin architecture.  But
that's neither here nor there.)

> > 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.
> thanks. My 30 minute quick-lookover leans in the same direction, but 
> I'd really love to run into folks who've used the servers and see how 
> they run in the real world, before I choose one to start kicking the 
> tires with...

I've been a subscriber on lists using both; I tend to prefer Sympa over
Mailman because I hate going to a website to tinker with subscription
options.  I've admin'd neither, though - my admin experience is only with
LISTSERV, Majordomo, Smartlist (Bleah), and (of course) Listar.

> And, FWIW, the python/perl thing bothers me, too. Gee, just what I 
> want to do -- learn yet another programming language.... (grin)


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