Cameron Laird's personal survey of POP3 MDA usage

Table of contents

[I'll be adding plenty more links and comments in spring '99. If you're anxious to see a particular aspect, write me, and I'll bring it on-line.]

Introduction

Which POPpers are in use? This page aims to answer that question.

For more on this subject, see our articles in SunWorld Online.

Method

This is how I run a survey:
  1. Collect e-mail addresses.
  2. Extract e-mail domain names. Sort and discard duplicates.
  3. Do DNS look-ups for MX records. Now I have a list of distinct IP addresses which respond to SMTP.
  4. Interrogate the POP3 port (110/tcp) for each IP address.
  5. Sort results.
In the future, I might sort results geographically. My first runs were overweighted toward Japan, and underweighted from Europe and South America, for my technical convenience.

I'm not now posting source code or, as I originally intended, providing a public automation for running a new survey. I have security and privacy issues I want to mull over a bit more. In the meantime, any individual who wants details is welcome to e-mail me.

Analogues

I admire the analogous work done by

Results

I'll post results in May 1999.

Reservations

I'm not claiming statistical validity, because, among other reasons, there's no canonical sense of the shape of valid results. That is, different readers might want results weighted by in-box count, message volume, and so on. This survey is objective and largely reproducible, though, and the results interest me, at least. For example, I was surprised at the incidence of NMS and Post.Office.
Cameron Laird's personal survey of POP3 mail delivery agent usage/claird@phaseit.net