1.1.1 DBMS support

LISTSERV’s DBMS support allows you to:

    • Direct LISTSERV to store subscriber information in a DBMS, on a list by list basis. That is, you may have a mix of traditional LISTSERV lists and DBMS lists. Furthermore, you can adjust the layout of your DBMS lists to match existing or current applications. You can map each list to a private table if this is what makes sense for you, or you can put all the lists in the same table, place related lists in one table, etc. You can add as many columns as you want to store additional information about subscribers.
    • Use the DBMS as a back-end for mail-merge jobs. LISTSERV can execute arbitrary SQL SELECT statements to extract recipients from your DBMS, and make related information (name, country, account number, etc.) available for mail-merge operations.

DBMS support is available through Microsoft’s ODBC interface under Windows, and Oracle’s OCI interface (SQL*Net) on AIX, Linux, and Solaris (SPARC and x64). IBM DB2 is also supported natively via CLI.

L-Soft formally supports any Microsoft-supported version of SQL Server as a datastore for mailing lists.  At the time of this writing, SQL Server 2014 (with Service Pack 3) and later are still under either Microsoft's mainstream or extended support.  For more information, see Microsoft Lifecycle Policy.

Important: L-Soft does NOT support Microsoft Access (any version) as a datastore for mailing lists.  Microsoft Access is not a full implementation of Microsoft SQL and thus lacks important functions required by LISTSERV.

L-Soft formally supports any Oracle-supported version of Oracle Database including or posterier to version 8i as a datastore for mailing lists.  However, it should be noted that while Oracle offers limited lifetime (“sustaining”) support for its DBMS products, as of this writing, only Oracle 12.1 and later remain under Extended Support or higher, and are thus eligible for updates/fixes/security alerts and so forth.  L-Soft recommends that sites using Oracle Database should, at minimum, be using a version of Oracle Database under Extended Support or higher.  For more information, see Oracle’s Lifetime Support Policy.

L-Soft formally supports any IBM-supported version of DB2 as a datastore for mailing lists.  At this writing, DB2 version 9.7 and later remain under, at minimum, extended support.  For more information, see DB2 Distributed end of support (EOS) dates.

Finally, L-Soft formally supports any in-support version of MySQL Server (Enterprise or Community) as a datastore for mailing lists.  As of this writing, this means MySQL 5.7 and later remain under, at minimum, extended support.  For more information, see Oracle’s Lifetime Support Policy and find "Oracle's MySQL Releases" in the table of contents.

The MariaDB Foundation's MariaDB is also in use by some LISTSERV sites with mixed reviews as to compatibility (primarily connector issues).  L-Soft does not have an official policy regarding MariaDB at this time.  At present, MariaDB 10.2 and later remain under MariaDB's maintenance.  For more information, see the Maintenance Policy for MariaDB, which details support end dates for various versions.

1.1.2 Mail-Merge

Documented Restriction: In order to use the mail-merge features, the site configuration variable EMBEDDED_MAIL_MERGE must be set to a value of 1 (that is, enabled). This is the default.

LISTSERV’s mail-merge support allows you to send individually customized messages to large numbers of recipients with very high throughput. The mail-merge functions support:

    • Simple substitutions, such as “Dear &firstname;”.
    • Conditional blocks, such as a birthday greeting sent when the message happens to coincide with the recipient’s birthday, or a warning when the balance of the account is negative.
    • Special facilities to send promotional banners to a randomly generated subset of the recipients. For instance, you can indicate that a first banner should be sent to a random subset of 200 recipients, while another banner is sent to a randomly selected (but distinct) series of 500 recipients, and others receive a third banner, or no banner at all.
    • Easy support for “few of many” topic subscription, such as a service offering news about movie actors (many registered actors, while most people will only want news about a handful of them).
    • Full integration with the DBMS interface, allowing recipients to be selected through arbitrary SELECT statements, while every column that can be converted to a character string is made available as a mail-merge field.
    • A simple bounce processing and collection system – LISTSERV processes and decodes all bounces, and writes the failing addresses to a plain-text file. You can group related mailings in the same bounce file or use a separate file for each mailing, whichever makes the most sense in your context. As each message is sent in “probe” format, even non-standard bounces will be processed accurately, as long as the remote MTA sends bounces to the correct (RFC821 MAIL FROM:) address.