Survey results for Sympa usages

During November 2006, we asked Sympa users to answer a survey because, as project leaders, we need to have a good overview of who is using Sympa, what are the usages of the software and what we should focus on.

Many thanks to those who answered.

129 users answered this survey. We know that the poll may not reflect perfectly the real profile of the total population.


For how long have you been using Sympa
less than 1 year (1) 19.05%
1 to 2 years 15.08%
2 to 3 years 11.11%
3 to 4 years 21.43%
4 to 5 years 8.73%
more than 5 years 24.60%

The answers show that Sympa users population is still growing.

5.3aX 3.17%
5.2 35.71%
5.1 23.02%
5.0 2.38%
4.X 26.19%
older version 6.35%
No answer3.17%

We were surprised that nobody uses the CVS version. 2/3 of the installed versions are 5.X but there are still many old versions running. Most are installed from tarball (including some home made .deb orb .rpm). Binaries distribution seems marginal unless for debian. We really need better package. We will not procude them ourselves. Contributors are welcome!

linux / debian 34.92%
linux / redhat 26.19%
linux / fedora 3.97%
linux / suze 3.17%
linux / mandriva 0.79%
Linux / other distrib 8.73%
freeBSD 7.94%
macOs X 0.79%
No answer0.79%

The reasons why Sympa is chosen are mainly:

  • because of its rich web interface
  • because of LDAP integration (mainly authentication)
  • because of internationalization
  • because it is much more better than mailman, majordomo or listserv
  • because of external data sources to build list members
  • because of S/MIME integration
  • because of virtual hosting support

Of course we would like also to known “why you did not choose Sympa but unfortunately this question can't be part of such a survey.

number of lists number of virtual robots biggest lists numbers of registered subscribers
average 739 4.5 12.672 58.882
max 24.000 235 200.000 430.000
MySQL 84.92%
PostgreSQL 11.90%
Oracle 1.59%
o answer0.79%
no RDBMS at all with my Sympa0.00%

Great ! Nobody seems to use the old file style backend which is not supported anymore without big bugs. The other new information is that MySQL and postgrSQL are the main.

Very few users use more than one server to provide Sympa services. Those who do aim at high-availability and security issues; only one does it for load balancing. Does this mean that only one server for a Sympa service is reasonable because Sympa does not consume so much server resources, or does this mean it is difficult to install Sympa on a load balancing environment?

customized templates 76%
customized authorization scenario 58%
X509 features 14% both S/MIME signature verification and https user auth for 70%
LDAP authentication 48%
using SSO 19% SSO type in use is mainly CAS but Shibb is also significant
list member automatic includes 60%

Quite difficult to present a synthetic view off answers. Only a few answers where convergent:

  • perf
  • debian package need to be upgraded
  • make a better user documentation (5.3 will include a great surprise for all of you).
  • usability
  • versioning and upgrade process
  • more soap features
  • statistics
  • alternative emails etc.
  • survey/.txt
  • Last modified: 2006/12/07 11:57
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