Thursday, April 12, 2007

[Misc] Project Mailing Lists as Newsgroups

Ok, this is probably not a big issue to write about, however, sometimes small things can be quite a pain in the ass:

Working in the open-source context typically means watching a set of mailing lists of OS projects used in the own project, or watching potentially interesting projects. Mailing lists are obviously the center spot of information. However working with mailing list is not always fun:

  • For every project of interest the mailing list has to be subscribed
  • Significant email traffic is involved to the own address, so typically a special mail account has to be prepared for that purpose
  • To work properly with MLs a filter for each one should be written to pre-sort mailing from different projects into dedicated folders.
  • All that is awkward enough, but what if you want to watch some projects for a limited time, checking the status, then it means registering, unregistering, managing filters...
So, there is actually (for most cases) a much better solution, I found out many still do not know:


Is a NNTP news server, that is actually bridging mailing lists from most prominent OS projects to NNTP newsgroups. However that might technically work is not important, the point is: connect to that news-server and subsribe to all MLs of the projects of interest as newsgroup. This is very easy, unsubscribing as well, and even postings can be done, once the email address is confirmed. Mail clients like Thunderbird also support NNTP newsgroups, so no special client is required; just create a new nntp account in Thunderbird.

I personally do not know, why the very useful NNTP newsgroups are more or less dying. The technology was far better than mailing lists andparticularly better then web-forum software in the first place, but ok, at least gmane provides us this great service.

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