RISC World

Archive On Line

Keith Johnson

An introduction to Archive On Line

The mailing list known as Archive-on-Line has been operating since September 1988. In that time it has established a reputation, I hope, for fair, lively discussion and fast and reliable responses to requests for help.

Of late the Iyonix/Omega saga has fuelled passions somewhat, whilst not totally getting in the way of the main purpose of the list. Which is to provide a sensible forum for debate and problem solving in a way that cannot be satisfactorily addressed in a monthly or bi-monthly publication.

Archive on-line is hosted by Argonet, still the main Acorn supporting ISP, and managed using Jonathan Duddington's !Pluto working with the !Ant Internet Suite and, latterly, !PopStar. There have been glitches and comments to say that this combination could not cope with the management of a list of this size and importance. Whilst there have, from time to time, been technical problems over the almost five years it has been operating they have, with the help of some great folk, been overcome.

Up to now the Mail List has been open only to subscribers to Archive magazine and intended to be an extension to that publication. One of the anomalies of a monthly magazine is the inevitable time lag involved in the publication of a magazine against the immediacy of email and the Internet. Archive-on-Line did not replace the magazine but has allowed questions, problems and issues to be addressed a bit quicker. Having thought long and hard and having regard to the current movements within the RISC OS community I think it may be time to widen access to the list without hazarding the integrity and control that has helped it avoid the problems encountered elsewhere.

I am therefore offering access to the Archive-on-Line list to subscribers of RISC World. There is no requirement for you to take out a further subscription, although it will inevitably remind each group of the other's existence. Rather I hope it will further strengthen and enhance the current mail list and bring members of the RISC OS community a bit closer together, without creating yet another, competing, forum. I moderate the list with, I hope, a fairly light touch but I do take advantage of !Pluto"s facilities to add comments to postings from time to time. At the end of the day this avoids any increase in traffic my interventions would inevitably bring.

Messages can be sent here at any time but are usually resent at around 19:00 Monday to Friday and whenever, and as often, as I feel like it at the weekend and Bank Holidays.

I do not have access to Broadband at present, say nothing, it"s a major gripe of mine, so sensible snipping is appreciated.

Subscribing to Archive On Line

Archive On-line is free to join. To subscribe please send a message to

With SIGNON or SUBSCRIBE in the Subject Line.

Pluto picks up your message, adds you to the list and sends you a brief acknowledgement. You can put something in the body of the mail if you wish or if your software does not like sending blank messages. It will not affect Pluto but I do read them. Anyone who signs on who is not a subscriber to RISC World or Archive will normally be sent a polite message and invited to subscribe or removed if a reply is not received in a day or so. As Pluto dates and times the entries on the list it is relatively simple to keep track of what is going on and I normally allow a period of grace of up to three months for the renewal of subscriptions before I remove someone from the list. This reduces the amount of time I have to spend checking valid memberships and gives time for late renewals to be processed.

The only other reason for my removing someone is when I get fed up with mail being bounced by an ISP!

In the unlikely event that you should wish to withdraw from the list then a message with SIGNOFF or UNSUBSCRIBE in the Subject Line will automatically remove your name from the list.

If your email address changes then SIGNOFF the old one and SIGNON the new. You can try out the new address and run them both side by side until you are confident that the new one is working, but do not forget to signoff the old address once you are happy. The list is averaging about about twenty messages a day. The variation throughout the week is interesting. The weekends are not as busy as I would have expected, Mondays and Tuesdays are busier than I initially anticipated.

Only a very few number of messages fail to get delivered and they seem to be to different addresses each time. Academic ones currently seem to be the most prone to rejection, followed by business IDs. Spam traps and filters can create some interesting effects. However, the next batch of postings often seem to be delivered without a problem. Perhaps some mail boxes being "timed out" if not emptied regularly. If this is the case then the time allowed is very short as only a couple of days postings seem to be affected at a time. My other suspicion, that mail boxes are full, seems more likely as it is rare for a whole batch of posts to be rejected although this does happen. Sometimes one of the ISPs go down and all the postings to members using that service are rejected.

I look forward to hearing from you on the list.

Keith Johnson