Mailing List Management Packages: Feature Matrix

Capabilities of selected mailing list management packages compared with features requested by the University of California, Berkeley campus community.

Feature requests are based on 115 responses to a March 2004 survey. The number of survey respondents who identified particular features as 'important' to them are indicated in the "Survey Score" column. Additional features requested in respondents' narrative comments appear in italics The "Miscellaneous" section also includes technical attributes suggested by project team members.

Subscription options Survey Priority Survey Score CommuniGate Pro 4.1 GNU Mailman 2.1.4 Majordomo 1.94.5 Majordomo2 Sympa 4.1.1
Subscription via the Web for CalMail users Very High 94 Yes Yes-WithExternals (via third-party add-in like MajorCool or custom programming) Yes
Subscription via the Web for non-CalMail users Medium 67
Immediate subscription via the Web via HTML forms on non-CalMail web pages Yes? (via Web pages auto-created for each list) Yes (via Web Services [SOAP] API; also possibly via Web pages auto-created for each list, and via SQL/LDAP?)
Subscription via email Very High 86 Yes Yes Yes
Option to turn off unsubscription via email, to prevent large numbers of bounces to postmaster
Can directly change (i.e. not unsubscribe and re-subscribe) subscribed address via email
Can change address for all subscribed lists at once via email
Subscription in digest mode 50 Yes Yes Yes
User can choose MIME or no MIME for digests 19 Yes Yes-WithExternals (digests are 'multipart/digest"; a "text/plain" patch is available)
S/MIME messages preserved in digests Yes
Subscription in index mode (only get titles and URLs for messages) 21 No
Subscription in post only mode 17 Yes No (only can configure entire lists this way) Yes
Can choose between: users can subscribe their own address, users can subscribe other peoples' addresses, and only list owner can subscribe addresses Medium 64 Yes (subscription of "other peoples'" addresses not investigated) Yes (user and list owner can subscribe; others can "invite" users)
Temporarily stop delivery without quitting list Very High 82 Yes No? (see "post only" above, or may be possible with plug-in??) Yes
Can stop or resume delivery for all subscribed lists at once via the web Yes
Can specify date when mail delivery resumes No (on "wish list" for future versions) No Yes No
Can require confirmation of subscription requests Very High 88 Yes Yes Yes
User can manage their subscriptions via a "My subscriptions" -type web page Yes Yes
Can change address for all subscribed lists at once via the web Yes
Tie "appropriate use requirements" information into subscription process
Restrict list membership by domain (e.g. berkeley.edu)
Restrict list membership by UCB student or employment status or role No (some rudimentary LDAP wrappers may exist; on "wish list" for future versions) No (may be possible via scripting) Yes (via LDAP and list_include)
Text features Survey Priority Survey Score CommuniGate Pro 4.1 GNU Mailman 2.1.4 Majordomo 1.94.5 Majordomo2 Sympa 4.1.1
Welcome to list and list signoff messages Very High 82 Yes Yes (for welcome msg - signoff?) Yes
Can specify text for the headers, fronters, or footers Very High 83 Yes Yes Yes
Can specify prefix to add to subject line, e.g. "Subject: [micronet] ..." Very High 92 Yes Yes Yes
Allows font styles (bold, italic ...) in messages via support for HTML or other rich text formats
Moderation Survey Priority Survey Score CommuniGate Pro 4.1 GNU Mailman 2.1.4 Majordomo 1.94.5 Majordomo2 Sympa 4.1.1
Option to moderate or not Very High 87 Yes (includes 'emergency moderation' option for unmoderated lists) Yes (approving msgs via email can be challenging) Yes
Option for moderating first N posts by new users Medium 62 Yes (can moderate posts by new members until turned off by list admin)
Users can receive notification when postings are delivered to moderator Yes
List managers can approve postings via the Web Yes
Redirect subscription requests sent to list to owner for action [aka "administrivia filter"] Medium 63 Yes Yes (defaults use simplistic regular expressions) Yes
Restrict postings to list members [and/]or to members of another list Very High 82 Yes Yes
Allow a user to post to a restricted list using an equivalent address from which they are not subscribed; e.g. from either user@berkeley.edu or user@uclink.berkeley.edu
Can bounce rejected messages from non-members back to the sender, rather than the list administrator
Can bounce rejected messages from non-members back to (only) .berkeley.edu senders and the list administrator
Limit size of postings to list 43 Yes Yes Yes
Option to block postings containing attachments or strip attachments, enabled either by a user or a list manager Yes Yes Yes (optional for users only?; attachments stored on list site, accessible via URL)
Option to block or strip postings containing HTML Yes
List management Survey Priority Survey Score CommuniGate Pro 4.1 GNU Mailman 2.1.4 Majordomo 1.94.5 Majordomo2 Sympa 4.1.1
Can administer list configuration via the Web Yes Yes Yes
Can administer list configuration via email Yes Yes
Allow multiple users to manage the list Very High 90 Yes Yes (optionally allowing multiple roles and privilege levels)
Allow non-CalMail users to manage or co-manage the list
Different privileges can be assigned to each of a list's managers Yes
Can import file of subscribers via web High 78 Yes Yes
Can import file of subscribers via email 57
Scripted creation and removal of lists for courses, other purposes Yes (via Web Services)
Can directly import subscribers (dynamically and/or statically) via SQL No (on "wish list" for future versions) Yes
Can directly import subscribers (dynamically and/or statically) via LDAP No (some rudimentary? LDAP wrappers may exist; on "wish list" for future versions) Yes
Automatically generate maillists for various categories of students, employees, etc. Yes (likely possible via LDAP)
List can dynamically reflect changes in its members' UCB status No? (some rudimentary? LDAP wrappers may exist; on "wish list" for future versions) No (may be possible via scripting, however) Yes (may be possible via LDAP)
Lists can be dynamically updated from course learning management systems Yes (likely possible via LDAP, SQL)
Can choose replies to go to sender, list, or somewhere else [set "Reply-to" header] Medium 67 Yes Yes
Can restrict creation of new lists to CalMail users
Can "clone" configurations between lists
Can inherit configuration settings (not just defaults) from 'higher-level' lists Yes?
Can import existing list configurations from Majordomo Yes
Programmatic interface to view and edit list membership Yes (via Web Services)
List owner(s) can manage a Web page describing the list Yes Yes
Archives Survey Priority Survey Score CommuniGate Pro 4.1 GNU Mailman 2.1.4 Majordomo 1.94.5 Majordomo2 Sympa 4.1.1
Gui [Web-based view] for reading archives (in survey under "Miscellaneous") Medium 62 Yes (built-in 'pipermail' archiver, with hooks for MHonArc, etc.) Yes (using MHonArc)
Archive option - public and private archives (in survey under "Miscellaneous") High 73 Yes Yes
Access to archives can be restricted to subscribers Yes Yes
Access to archives can require CalNet authentication
Quotas on archives (in survey under "Miscellaneous") 15
Ability to obscure address in archives (to stop spammers) (in survey under "Miscellaneous") Very High 90 Yes (via HTML character entities only?) No? (in TODO list) Yes (via multiple techniques, inc'l JavaScript)
Search/advanced search in Web archives Yes-WithExternals (via patches to Mailman's internal archiver, or by using external search engines) Yes (via Marc::Search)
View archived messages by thread Yes Yes
Can specify periods covered by archives (e.g. month or year) Yes (using internal archiver, or via MHonArc via patch)
Can edit archives (to delete spam messages, etc.)
Bounce handling Survey Priority Survey Score CommuniGate Pro 4.1 GNU Mailman 2.1.4 Majordomo 1.94.5 Majordomo2 Sympa 4.1.1
Automatic bounce processing and deletion of addresses after N bounces (in survey under "Miscellaneous") Very High 82 Yes No Yes Yes
Can bounce to other than list owner
Miscellaneous Survey Priority Survey Score CommuniGate Pro 4.1 GNU Mailman 2.1.4 Majordomo 1.94.5 Majordomo2 Sympa 4.1.1
Allow a subscriber to receive only one copy of a message that was cross-posted to multiple lists ?? (check "umbrella lists" feature) ?? (check "mungedomain" feature) ?? (check "include_list" feature)
Page describing public lists 56 Yes Yes
List of subscribers not public (to stop spammers) Very High 96 Yes Yes Yes
Users can individually prevent their addresses from being made public (in any and all lists) Yes
Loop detection Medium 60 Yes Yes
Spam detection and filtering Yes (via regex applied to message headers; Spambayes integration on "wish list" for future versions) Yes (via 'scenarios' [rules])
Option to perform virus scanning in list manager, rather than at the MTA (e.g. sendmail or postfix) No? (AMaViS integration in TODO list) Yes (via hooks to Sophos, other external scanners)
Gateway list to/from Usenet newsgroup Yes Yes-WithExternals (via 'news2mail', 'mail2news' scripts) No? (in TODO list) Yes
Integration with MTAs
Integration with sendmail Yes Yes
Integration with postfix Yes Yes
Integration with qmail
Clustering support
High availability features
Multiple authentication mechanisms supported for list management via Web and/or email
S/MIME Yes
X.509 certificates Yes
Single sign-on (e.g. CAS and Shibboleth) Yes