[Mailman-Users] Pacing input

Stewart Dean sdean at bard.edu
Fri Sep 24 21:15:21 CEST 2004

This is not strictly a Mailman question so much as a generic mailing list 
in-its-environment question.  The specific problem situation is that on Monday and Friday 
at my college, people will dump a ton of mailings into the hopper right at the end of the 
day.  I can have 20-40 (or more) mailings (to 20-400 list members each) dumped into the 
hopper with the same 15-30 minutes.  The hw/sw chugs away, but the latency can be from 30 
minutes to 2 hours.

Yes, this is stupid.  Yes, I know this would be like everyone in a store shopping all day, 
then attempting to all check out at the same time, that you'd need 300 cash registers. 
Alas, one of the realities of working at a college is that you can't issue directives and 
policies in the "You MUST" fashion the way you do in the business world.

So I'm wondering: has anyone implemented some kind of input throttling/pacing script or 
method that would be kind enough to share their experience/technique/wisdom?

Yes, I know that this won't speed up the throughput or reduce the latency...what I'm 
looking for is some way to introduce feedback to the user and put priority on the input.
I'm open to any suggestions, but one possibility I envision would be some sort of front 
end or method that would:

a) prioritize input (so that emergency messages with time value would get preferential 
treatment (by being submitted immediately, while the start of other less-time-ckritical 
submissions would be paced so that the machine, while loaded, was never really backed up. 
  In short, the imagined solution would be the controlling bottleneck (where it could be 
*managed*), rather than the host (where it is just piles up any old way).  Note that use 
of the various priorities would have to be controlled; if freely controllable by everyone, 
all messages will have top priority......

b) provide feedback by indicating the estimated projected latency with an indication of 
how much better things would be if the job hadn't be submitted right on top of an already 
loaded host.

Thanks in advance for any and all help or advice!
Stewart Dean, Unix System Admin, Henderson Computer Resources
Center of Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York  12504
sdean at bard.edu  voice: 845-758-7475, fax: 845-758-7035

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