One of the best ways for technicians to share information using the web is with an Internet mailing list. A mailing list is basically just a list of names and addresses that is used to send messages or announcements to many people at once. The goal of a mailing list is to foster communication among folks who share a common interest.

The DB2 mailing list is hosted by the International DB2 User Group (or IDUG). The DB2 mailing list is sometimes referred to as the DB2 LISTSERV. LISTSERV is also the name of the software that manages the mailing list on the server machine. Mailing lists were much more popular in the earliest days of the Internet, but there are some, such as the DB2 mailing list, that are still popular to this day.

Traditionally, the way to subscribe to a mailing list was to send commands via e-mail to the subscription address. But mailing lists are less popular than they used to be, and many have been turned into forums on the web. I still receive e-mail from DB2-L, but I know most new users prefer to use the web interface because it is easy to use and does not clog up your inbox with a ton of messages.

To access to the DB2-L mailing list, you have to be a member of IDUG. After logging in at the www.idug.org web site, you can choose the Forums drop down menu and choose DB2-L. There is a lot of information that flows through the mailing list on a daily basis. Some days are more active than others, depending on the topics that are being discussed. If you are an e-mail subscriber, your inbox may fill up quickly with DB2-L content. I set up a rule (using Microsoft Outlook) to shuttle all DB2-L emails to a folder where I can view and respond to them at my leisure.

If you are an email subscriber, you can choose to stop and start receiving messages without quitting the list. And you can also join and leave the list as you see fit, so don’t be afraid to try it out. In addition to a subscription address, mailing lists also have a posting address. This is the address to which mailing list posts must be sent. The posting address for the DB2-L mailing list is db2-l@lists.idug.org. When a message is sent to this address, it will automatically be forwarded to everyone currently subscribed to the list.

Of course, it is probably just easier to simply use the web-based interface that IDUG provides for DB2-L. You can create and reply to threads, or simply lurk and read the content to learn what other folks are doing with DB2.

Postings to the DB2 mailing list are archived on the IDUG web site so you can find old messages of interest whenever you’d like. Remember, though, you have to be a member of IDUG in order to do anything other than simply viewing the archived messages. When you go to the DB2-L section of the IDUG web site you will notice the large number of archives that are available for you to search.

In general, the DB2-L mailing list is a great resource for DB2 users of all experience levels. You can ask and answer questions, learn by just reading others questions and posts, and scan the archives for useful information. If you are a DB2 DBA, application developer, or systems programmer, do yourself a favor and start using DB2-L today!