Computer Laboratory

Mailing lists at the Computer Laboratory

The Laboratory makes wide use of mailing lists, internally, for various management purposes. Users also sometimes need lists for their own purposes: if those purposes are not met by constructing a mail alias in your personal aliases file, you need a list, using the Computing Service mailing-list server, based on mailman, which provides comprehensive facilities for managing lists. The two options are described in this document.

Aliases for mh users

First, you need to modify your ~/.mh_profile file, to recognise a file of aliases, then you need to populate the aliases file.

For the user gsm10, the file /homes/gsm10/.mh_profile should contain a line such as:

AliasFile: /homes/gsm10/.mh_aliases

The file /homes/gsm10/.mh_aliases may contain lines such as:

me: gsm10@cl.cam.ac.uk
friends: fr1@somewhere.ac.uk,fr2@foreign.edu
my_users: Users of my thing: u1@u1mc, u2@u2mc, u3@u3mc;

which shows (a) simple aliasing of a single user, (b) a small list of addresses that will be expanded when used, and (c) a potentially large list of addresses that will be expanded, but will not appear in the To: line of a message header.

What kind of list is for you?

There are (at least) two different sorts of list that may be of use:

A Computing Service list
The computing service runs a rather more featureful list system, which does most things you want a list system to do. It is restricted to lists related (in some way) to University business.
A public list
If your needs don’t fit the internal system, and the Computing Service won’t have you, you’re thrown back on the many “free” list systems that are available.

Setting up a CS list

To request a new list, email sys-admin giving

  • the name of the list, e.g. "cl-wombat-hunters"
  • a discription of the list, e.g. "People in the Wombat group in cl.cam.ac.uk interested in hunting"
  • the access controls (Open / OpenCam / Closed / Restricted / Secure)
  • visibility of list membership (private or public)

We will setup the list with you as manager, with backup maintainers in case of problems (as requested by the CS).

Advertised address

The email list should normally be advertised as cl-wombat-hunters@lists.cam.ac.uk, so that email goes directly to the CS lists server.

If there is a requirement that the list is seen as being a cl.cam.ac.uk one, please let sys-admin know, and we can arrange that wombat-hunters@cl.cam.ac.uk is forwarded to cl-wombat-hunters@lists.cam.ac.uk. However, note that this requires two extra email hops, with the possibility of delays of failures in each, as email has to be first processed by mx.cam.ac.uk (which front-ends our system), then by cl.cam.ac.uk, and then forwarded to lists.cam.ac.uk.