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Majordomo Commands


Majordomo is a perl script which automates the management of Internet mailing lists. It is executed via electronic mail; users send e-mail to with instructions in the body of the message, and the perl script performs the requested actions and responds with the results. Any text in the "Subject:" line is ignored.


Majordomo understands the following commands (arguments in "[]" are optional):

( list stands for the mailing list name)
( address stands for the e-mail address of the person)

A command may be split across multiple lines if all of the lines in the command except the last end with a backslash "\".

subscribe list  [address]  

Subscribe yourself (or address if specified) to the named list.

   unsubscribe list [address] 

Unsubscribe yourself (or address if specified) from the named list.

   get list file 

Get the file related to list.

   index  list   

Return an index of the files you can get associated with list.

  which  [address]  

Find out to which lists you (or address if specified) are subscribed.

   who  list  

Find out who is on the named list.

   info  list  

Retrieve the general introductory information for the named list.


Show the lists served by this Majordomo server. It will also show a 50 character list description if one has been pro vided.


Retrieve an informational message, a brief synopsis of the user portion of this manual page.


Stop processing commands (useful if your mailer adds a sig nature).


In addition, the owner of the list can issue the following commands:

( list stands for the mailing list name)
( address stands for the e-mail address of the person)
( password stands for the password for the mailing list)

  approve  password  subscribe  list address 

Instruct Majordomo to add address to list. The password is required to authenticate the list owner. This is very weak authentication as the password is transmitted in the clear in an e-mail message. No claims are made that it will pro vide anything other than rudimentary protection against abuse of the Majordomo server.

   approve password unsubscribe list address 

Instruct Majordomo to delete address from list. The pass word is required to authenticate the list owner. See the comments above regarding the password.

 newinfo list password 

Update the informational message for list with the text which follows on subsequent lines. No formatting of the message occurs, so the list owner should be careful to con strain the message to eighty columns. Majordomo will include everything up to the string EOF or to the end of the mail message, whichever comes first. This is useful in case the owner wants to verify the new message immediately, e.g.,


To: majordomo
newinfo list password

This is new information for the "list" list.

info list

This will simultaneously update the information for the list, and then retrieve it for verification. Note that blank lines are preserved in the message.

passwd  list old-password new-password 

Replace the password for list with new-password.

config list password 

retrieve a self-documenting configuration file for the list . The password can be the password contained in the file .passwd or the admin_password in the confi guration file.

newconfig list password 

Validates and installs a new configuration file. The config file includes everything up to the string EOF or to the end of the mail message, whichever comes first. The config file is expected to be a complete config file as returned by the "config" command. Incremental changing of the config file is not yet supported. As soon as the config file is vali dated and installed its settings are available for use. This is useful to remember if you have multiple commands in your mail message since they will be subject to the settings of the new config file. If there is an error in the config file (incorrect value...), the config file will not be accepted and the error message identifying the problem line(s) will be returned to the sender. Note that only the errors are returned to the sender not the entire config file.

  writeconfig list password 

Write a new config in standard form. All of the config file documentation is optional. Only the keywords and values are necessary. If a config file, stripped of all comments is installed using newconfig, that is what is returned by con fig. Writeconfig forces a rewrite of the config file with all comments and default values in place. It is useful to use after an upgrade of majordomo since it will add the new keywords for people to change. It also updates the documen tation in the file if that has changed.

 mkdigest digest-list-name password 

This will force a digest for the specified list to be created. It is most useful if you don't have an account on the machine that handles the digest for your list.