DragonFly BSD

mailing list commands

The DragonFly mailing lists use BestServ to handle mailing list administration. This document describes how to interact with BestServ to subscribe and unsubscribe to the mailing lists, and other ways to interact with the lists.

For the impatient

Mail listname-request@dragonflybsd.org, where listname is the name of the mailing list you want to subscribe to. You will get a confirmation email. Reply to this email after changing "REJECT" to "ACCEPT" in the subject.

If you want to test your subscription, use the test@dragonflybsd.org list.

Synopsis of BestServ list aliases

  listname - post to the list
  listname-response - authentication responses sent here
  listname-request - send subscribe/unsubscribe/etc...
  listname-command - send moderator command requests
  listname-errors - (error return for bounces, invisible)
  listname-owner - send mail to the moderator of the list

  bestserv-owner - moderator of the whole mailing list manager
  bestserv-errors - (error return for bounces, invisible)

Getting This Help File

Email a message to the request address of the list. For example, if the list is called 'test', you would email a message to 'test-request@hostname.domain'. On this server, it would be 'test-request@lists.dragonflybsd.org'.

The body of the message should contain a single line, left justified, containing the keyword 'help' in lower case.

The list server will generally respond with this help file.


Many of the requests you make to the list server requires authentication. The list server authenticates a request by emailing a message back to you with a special Subject: line. The message contains complete iunstructions. You normally Reply the message (such that the original Subject is still in the Subject: header, possibly with an Re: in front of it). You must edit the REJECT clause in the Subject line to say ACCEPT if you want to go ahead and run your original command.

You must be sure to leave the ID clause intact or the list manager will not be able to authenticate your request.

The purpose of authentication is to ensure that a valid return email address exists and to disuade spammers from crashing the list. The moderator has the ability to turn on authentication AND moderation for any request, so you may not get an immediate response.


To subscribe to a list you normally send email to the -request address of the list, as in 'test-request@hostname.domain'. The body of the message should contain the keyword 'subscribe' alone or, if you want to subscribe a third party address, the subscribe keyword may be followed by an email address. Like this:

To: test-request@dragonflybsd.org
Subject: blah


or To: test-request@dragonflybsd.org Subject: blah

subscribe email-address

Unless the list is a digest-only list you will receive an email for each posting to the list. If you wish to receive a digest version of the list (which could be delayed by a few hours) use the subdigest command instead of subscribe.

Third Party Subscribes

A Third Party Subscribe occurs when person A subscribes person B rather then just himself. This is normally allowed. The list manager will most likely have recipient verification turned on, which means that person B will be sent an email asking him or her to acknowledge the subscription before that person is actually added to the list.

If you receive a third party verification request and you do not want to be on the list, simply ignore the mail.

Posting from multiple email addresses

By default, most lists only allow subscribed addresses to post to the list. You can add other addresses to the list with the 'alias' command.

  alias email-address

This allows you to post to the list from another email-address without the list distribution being sent to that address. You can add as many aliases as you like.


To unsubscribe from a list, send the 'unsubscribe' command. You can also unsubscribe third parties by adding an email address.



  unsubscribe email-address

Note that if you have several list aliases, you should unsubscribe from those aliases as well as the one you are receiving the list on.

List Information

You can request list-specific information with the 'info' command.

Test List

After authentication you may post to the list via listname@dragonflybsd.org, like this:

To: test@dragonflybsd.org 
Subject: your_subject_here

Testing 1 2 3!

Please use the test list for experimentation and remember to unsubscribe from it when you are done (unless you want to see other people's test messages!). Messages that include HTML sent to any of the lists will be blocked as spam. Please make sure your messages - including subscription requests - are sent as plain text.