Browse Prior Art Database

Listserv Distribute Protocol (RFC1429)

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000002256D
Original Publication Date: 1993-Feb-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2000-Sep-12
Document File: 7 page(s) / 17K

Publishing Venue

Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)

Related People

E. Thomas: AUTHOR

Abstract

This memo specifies a subset of the distribution protocol used by the BITNET LISTSERV to deliver mail messages to large amounts of recipients. This protocol, known as DISTRIBUTE, optimizes the distribution by sending a single copy of the message over heavily loaded links, insofar as topological information is available to guide such decisions, and reduces the average turnaround time for large mailing lists to 5-15 minutes on the average. This memo describes a simple interface allowing non-BITNET mailing list exploders (or other bulk-delivery scripts) to take advantage of this service by letting the BITNET distribution network take care of the delivery.

This text was extracted from a ASCII Text document.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 18% of the total text.

Network Working Group E. Thomas

Request for Comments: 1429 Swedish University Network

February 1993

Listserv Distribute Protocol

Status of this Memo

This memo provides information for the Internet community. It does

not specify an Internet standard. Distribution of this memo is

unlimited.

Abstract

This memo specifies a subset of the distribution protocol used by the

BITNET LISTSERV to deliver mail messages to large amounts of

recipients. This protocol, known as DISTRIBUTE, optimizes the

distribution by sending a single copy of the message over heavily

loaded links, insofar as topological information is available to

guide such decisions, and reduces the average turnaround time for

large mailing lists to 5-15 minutes on the average. This memo

describes a simple interface allowing non-BITNET mailing list

exploders (or other bulk-delivery scripts) to take advantage of this

service by letting the BITNET distribution network take care of the

delivery.

Introduction

Running a mailing list of 1,000 subscribers or more with plain

"sendmail" while keeping turnaround time to a reasonable level is no

easy task. Due mostly to its limited bandwidth in the mid-80's,

BITNET has developed an efficient bulk delivery protocol for its

mailing lists. Originally introduced in 1986, this protocol was

refined little by little and now carries 2-6 million mail messages a

day. In fact, this distribution mechanism implements a general-

purpose delivery service which can be used by any user of BITNET or

the Internet. Thus, a simple solution to the "sendmail" turnaround

problem is to wrap the message and recipient list in a DISTRIBUTE

envelope and pass it to a BITNET server for delivery. This may not

be the best possible solution, but it has the advantage of being easy

to implement.

In this document we will use the term "production" to refer to the

normal operation of the mailing list (or bulk delivery application)

you want to pipe through the DISTRIBUTE service. That is, the

"production" options are those you should specify once everything is

tested and you are confident that the setup is working to your

satisfaction. In contrast, "test" and "debug" options can be used to

experiment with the protocol but should not be used for normal

operation because of the additional bandwidth and CPU time required

to generate the various informational reports.

Finally, it should be noted that the DISTRIBUTE protocol was

developed to address a number of issues, some of them relevant only

to BITNET, and has evolved since 1986 while keeping a compatible

syntax. For the sake of brevity, this RFC describes only a small

subset of the available options and syntax. This is why the syntax

may appear unnecessarily complicated or even illogical.

1. Selecting an entry point into the ...