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America Online Communications

AOL To Discontinue LISTSERV 80

Posted by Soulskill
from the yes-aol-still-exists dept.
alphadogg writes "On December 1, AOL will shut down its free LISTSERV-based mailing-list hosting operations, the company has told mailing list administrators. 'If your list is still actively used, please make arrangements to find another service prior to the shutdown date and notify your list members of the transition details,' an email notice sent out by AOL stated. At the peak of the service's popularity in the late 1990s, AOL was the third-largest provider of mailing lists, serving more than a million users."
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AOL To Discontinue LISTSERV

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  • This is huge news! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MyLongNickName (822545) on Friday November 04, 2011 @08:56AM (#37946448) Journal

    I didn't even know AOL was still in business...

    • by nospam007 (722110) * on Friday November 04, 2011 @09:02AM (#37946494)

      For you young whippersnappers, before you were born, listserv was/is like Twitter, just without any size limits.

      You just send an email to a server sign up^h^h^h^h^h^h^h follow someone or unfollow.

      • by acidradio (659704) on Friday November 04, 2011 @09:20AM (#37946648)

        Young whipper-snappers won't and don't understand the significance of ^H either.

        • by omnichad (1198475)

          GP didn't understand it either. Unless he meant to say: You just send an email to a server follow someone or unfollow.

          More likely, he meant ^W, and still forgot one ^W: You just send follow someone or unfollow.

      • by Hatta (162192) on Friday November 04, 2011 @09:25AM (#37946688) Journal

        Yes. And USENET was just like web fora, except with all your forums under one powerful interface. And IRC was just like IM, except, well no IRC is exactly like IM.

        Why did we need to invent twitter, web fora, and IM when we had Listserv, USENET, and IRC?

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Yes. And USENET was just like web fora, except with all your forums under one powerful interface. And IRC was just like IM, except, well no IRC is exactly like IM.

          Why did we need to invent twitter, web fora, and IM when we had Listserv, USENET, and IRC?

          Because if something doesn't have a flashy web interface people are somehow too retarded to use it, the question is how were AOL users able to use these things?

        • by Zoxed (676559) on Friday November 04, 2011 @09:48AM (#37946938) Homepage

          > Why did we need to invent twitter, web fora, and IM when we had Listserv, USENET, and IRC?

          The few USENET groups I used to follow basically died due to trolls.
          The "real" users migrated to Web Forums, sometimes funded by advertising, which usually have some degree of Moderation.

          But I really miss the functionality associated with the single interface to all USENET groups, (although you could of course chose *which* tool to use).
          Some people tried to write plugins that converted web forums to pseudo USENET groups, but I think they all failed (I had tried one ages ago to read Slashdot in Xemacs/Gnus.)

        • by operagost (62405)
          AIM didn't have netsplits.
        • by residieu (577863)
          Yeah, remember when you could have online discussions with decent thread management?
        • by CarsonChittom (2025388) on Friday November 04, 2011 @10:33AM (#37947438) Homepage

          I've recently gone back to USENET, using the Eternal September [eternal-september.org] service (since it's free). The newsgroups have nowhere near as much traffic as they used to, of course. But there are still some decent discussions going on.

          Or, for nostalgia, there's always olduse.net [olduse.net].

        • Why did we need to invent twitter, web fora, and IM when we had Listserv, USENET, and IRC?

          People do not know how to use their computers, that's why. Prior to Google Groups most people have no idea how to access Usenet, and most still have no idea that half the groups they access via Google are on Usenet. Listservs annoy people because they have no idea how to create message filters and their webmail client (probably Gmail) has some horribly broken method of displaying threaded discussions. Decent IRC clients require some time to learn, and using something like Pidgin makes IRC seem even wor

        • by Klync (152475)

          > Why did we need to invent twitter, web fora, and IM when we had Listserv, USENET, and IRC?

          Because corporate firewalls blocked everything except port 80. So, everything moved onto port 80.

          As an aside, ten years ago I predicted to my colleague that one day we'd see DNS over HTTP, and probably even TCP over HTTP. I've recently seen *both* of those come to pass via /. stories, although I don't have the links handy atm.

        • Because then giant corporations can control and profit from them? Unlike the totally distributed and federated nets.
        • Nobody needed to, but people did so they could set up their fiefdom more effectively. It's the same sentiment that drives various "app stores" and other attempts at monopoly. It's not easy to impose ridiculous rules when one has to build on systems like email and NNTP. It's apparently more effective to develop one's own system with preposterous rules and play to a naive sense that says popularity is more important than anything else.

        • by cthulhu11 (842924)
          Maybe because LISTSERV was an artifact of the batch-orientation of BITnet? Even the truncated name was a BITnet artifact.
      • by bryan1945 (301828)

        And for you.. whatever... pen and paper was like communication. You just send it over TCP-BuggieCarriage (RFC -031).

    • A... O... L? I remember something like that, back when the internet was untame and they tried to make something of it.
      • by Chrisq (894406) on Friday November 04, 2011 @10:20AM (#37947300)
        I remember AOL UK suggesting that the towns Scunthorpe and Pensitone change their names [independent.co.uk] to Socnthorpe and Pennistone because people could not register using them (they caught in the primitive obscenity filter). The absolute anger of citizens of these towns was really amusing I remember one person pointing out that thir town was much older than America, let alone America Online and they were buggered if they would change their name.

        Another classic of cultural insensitivity was when they told people on the Wales regional forum that they had to post in English and Welsh was banned!
    • by cashman73 (855518)
      Not only are they still in business, but they still have 3.5 million dialup customers [msn.com]! Apparently, the 1% still uses AOL dialup. For once, I feel fortunate to count myself among the 99%.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I didn't even know AOL was still in business...

      Me too!

    • Going to get modded down ... but you know the really old joke ...

      American
      On-line
      Losers

      How people could actually _pay_ to use that crap is beyond me ...

  • Back when I was in college (1995), I subscribed to a few LISTSERV mailing lists. Over the years, they moved to other platforms or disappeared.

    I can't even remember which lists.

    • by Trepidity (597)

      I'm still on quite a few. For whatever reason, most of the "serious" discussion groups I'm in (working groups, academic discussions, etc.) don't seem to have moved from listservs to webforums, whereas most of the "hobby" groups I'm in (music fan listservs, etc.) have long since abandoned mailing lists.

      • by Anrego (830717) *

        I've noticed this too.

        Mailing lists still have a weird aura of seriousness around them that doesn't transfer over as well to web forums and IRC.

      • For whatever reason, most of the "serious" discussion groups I'm in (working groups, academic discussions, etc.) don't seem to have moved from listservs to webforums

        Probably because the interface to web forums is so terrible when compared to a well developed mail client. I have seen serious discussion lists try to switch to web forums, and the result has usually been on of the following three outcomes:

        1. The entire group falls apart because they prematurely kill the mailing list, and nobody is motivated to rejoin.
        2. Nobody ever goes to the forum, everyone keeps posting to the list.
        3. The forum becomes a place for people who are less serious, while the serious discussions re
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 04, 2011 @09:14AM (#37946590)

    I moved all my stuff to Compuserve last year.

    • by tepples (727027)

      I moved all my stuff to Compuserve last year.

      Except AOL owns CompuServe. Or was that the joke?

    • by Myopic (18616)

      Compuserve is for fogies. I like eWorld [wikipedia.org].

  • by Ixne (599904) on Friday November 04, 2011 @09:17AM (#37946616)
    Next you'll tell me that FidoNet is going away!
    • by Antarius (542615)
      Good ol' Fidonet.

      I still remember my node (I ran a BBS), all these years later. (3:800/428)

      Now you've made me miss GoldEd on my old OS/2 box. =(
      • Fidonet is still operation, and there are still dialup and shortwave links between BBSes. It is particularly popular in rural regions of Asia.
        • by satsuke (263225)

          Yeah, amazing how a system tailor built for non-persistent network connections (store and forward) can be adapted to regions without persistent network connections.

          Last I looked at it, it was still very popular (relatively) in Africa and SE Asia, with the actual nodelist being bigger now than it was in it's heyday .. though the observance of zonemail hour is probably nil and I have no idea if echomail or netmail is reliable in any sense.

          I just find it funny that there is still a couple nodes left on my old

      • I still remember my node (I ran a BBS), all these years later. (3:800/428)
         

        I had one of those too. Mine didn't have a colon or slash in the number though.......

      • by _Shad0w_ (127912)

        I was a CoSysOp on a BBS, back in the day. I used to run as a point node off it (and a couple of others). Shamefully I can no longer remember my node numbers though. Used to use FrontDoor for grabbing my mail and doing file transfers.

  • Out of inertia, a music mailing list I subscribe to is still on AOL LISTSERV. Does anyone know of any magic scripts or howto's on converting from LISTSERV to anything else? I would like to move the content and users over to GNU mailman on my server. I have the dump of all the messages which are not in mbox format so that appears to be the first challenge. :(
  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Friday November 04, 2011 @09:22AM (#37946660) Homepage
    From TFA:

    ne list still somewhat active is the discussion list for AOLserver, AOL's open-source Web server software. The administrator for this list moved it to SourceForge, where the AOLserver code is housed. However, the administrator, Dossy Shiobara, noted that there was no immediate way to move the decadelong archives of this mailing list, along with related announcement lists, to SourceForge. Fortunately, much of the content is mirrored on other sites, however.

    Not all of the lists are going to have their archives mirrored. This is going to mean that a fair bit of internet history is going to get lost, and contribute a decent amount of linkrot in the process. While I suspect that most of that will just be inane flamewars, it always saddens me when data that could be preserved isn't preserved. I do hope that someone finds a way to move the archives of the various lists somewhere.

    • by omnichad (1198475)

      Maybe they'll let Google archive it over on Groups. Or do they do that sort of thing? You'd think they would - more useful searches at Google.com as a benefit.

    • it always saddens me when data that could be preserved isn't preserved

      Is that you, Mr. Zuckerberg?

  • by RMingin (985478) on Friday November 04, 2011 @09:46AM (#37946902) Homepage

    Can it be? September will finally end?

    It's too late, I think. The damage was done.

    • Nah, September has moved on leaving only a retirement home and a few paleointernet-anthropologists behind.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Now where am I going to find another CP/M users mailing list... -:)

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