back to article The GNOME Project is closing all its mailing lists

The GNOME Project is preparing to shut down its mailing lists due to problems maintaining the project's GNU Mailman instance - which relies on Python 2 - and a lack of moderators. The community's leaders maintain a substantial selection of mailing lists, hosted via the GNU Project's Mailman tool. It also hosts its own instance …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    modernism... web browser or its trash

    "The move is part of a general modernization..."

    And by modernization you mean to put everything into a web browser right?

    Matrix isn't an IRC replacement, it's an ICQ replacement. Discourse is kind of an IRC replacement but again, more of an ICQ replacement.

    If the functionality of Matrix and Discourse have to remain seperate... ICQ was waaaaay ahead of the curve. Of course it wasn't in a web browser so it was trash?

    I like Discourse, I don't use it, but when I have it's good at being what it is (just not my thing). Matrix I used once and laughed at.

  2. Dave559 Silver badge

    "bottom-posting"

    "bottom-posting"?

    Shurely you mean "interleaved replying", that was (and is) half the point: first trim out all unnecessary quoted text, keeping only the part(s) that you are directly replying to (or replacing with a [one-liner paraphrase] if not really replying to any specific text in the message in particular), and reply underneath each respective part in turn, so that it is clear which part you are responding to. Quoting an entire message and replying underneath it (something that sadly seems to be becoming increasingly prevalent on some forums as well, grrr) is really just as bad as retard-quoting (where the quoted slug trail was left later in the message than the reply text)…

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Re: "bottom-posting"

      Reminds me of:

      Top posting

      What's the most annoying thing on the Internet

      1. logicalextreme

        Re: "bottom-posting"

        Yeah, Teams feeds this behaviour ((top|retard)-posting).

        Signal, Messenger and Slack allow you to convert a message that you're currently writing into a reply to an existing message; it's clearly regarded as simply a property of your message and gets formatted appropriately (original message is referenced with a handy link).

        Teams on the other hand plops a blockquote of the entire message into wherever your cursor happens to be at the time. It's amazing watching MICROS~1 attempt to ape such basic functionality and still come up short.

    2. logicalextreme

      Re: "bottom-posting"

      "bottom-posting"?

      Shurely you mean "interleaved replying", that was (and is) half the point: first trim out all unnecessary quoted text, keeping only the part(s) that you are directly replying to (or replacing with a [one-liner paraphrase] if not really replying to any specific text in the message in particular), and reply underneath each respective part in turn, so that it is clear which part you are responding to. Quoting an entire message and replying underneath it (something that sadly seems to be becoming increasingly prevalent on some forums as well, grrr) is really just as bad as retard-quoting (where the quoted slug trail was left later in the message than the reply text)…

      Six hours and nobody's replied like this yet?

    3. logicalextreme

      Re: "bottom-posting"

      I guess I should also post this to give slugs fair representation.

      is really just as bad as retard-quoting

    4. david 12 Silver badge

      Re: "bottom-posting"

      I agree with the author. Bottom-posting is one of the archaic religious artifacts of mail lists.

      No, No, No, you clamor -- you add text to the bottom of pages of paper.

      I rest my case.

    5. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

      Re: "bottom-posting"

      In forums and mailing lists I dutifully snip and bottom-post. However, when in Rome...

      At work I have to top-post like everybody else, otherwise nobody can understand my emails. I also use subject lines like "Urgent: Please respond blah blah -- the actual subject", which I hate. But it's a regulated business, and one of the regulations is that we have to follow the written instructions to the letter, and guess what the written instructions say the subject line has to look like?

      It's nice to fantasize about taking the instructions writers out back to be shot. But almost everybody here thinks the same way, so eventually there would only be a handful of sane ones left, facing an undiminished mountain of work.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: "bottom-posting"

        "At work I have to top-post like everybody else, otherwise nobody can understand my emails."

        Same here. It's all rather sad really. Especially in a tech company and many of the people I'm dealing with are of a similar vintage to me and have been in the industry all along.

  3. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    For a moment...

    I read that as "The GNOME Project is closing".

    For one... glorious... hysterically happy moment.

    1. karlkarl Silver badge

      Re: For a moment...

      So true. It would free developers and resources up for an actual feasible and useful open-source desktop project.

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: For a moment...

        I dunno... considering the quality of the GNOME code, perhaps it's best they're corralled away from other projects where they can't do damage.

      2. Scene it all

        Re: For a moment...

        Not to mention freeing up hardware resources on the millions of desktops where Gnome is run. XFCE ftw!

    2. Scott 26
      Joke

      Re: For a moment...

      > I read that as "The GNOME Project is closing".

      Whereas I thought it was something about the three-piece band from Antwerp.....

  4. Dave559 Silver badge

    Discourse is weird

    We now live in a world where (pretty much) everyone has always-on internet access, not charged per minute, so it probably does make sense to move from mailing lists to some sort of forum, where it is easier to follow/bookmark and respond to only the threads of interest to you (rather than wade through an overflowing mailbox, or spend hours honing procmail rules or slrn scores (half of present day devs now say, "Huh?" here)), and to look up older discussions when these contain nuggets of useful information (trying to search back through mailing list archives is never quite as easy).

    But I have to say that while the Stack Exchange format is very useful, I'm no fan of Discourse. There's something 'one layer removed' about it, where it tries to be too clever-clever by suddenly suggesting jumping to other replies while you are reading through a thread, with no sense of the flow of the conversation, or what you might be missing out on if you do jump to later (would you actually be missing any important intermediate replies that might be relevant to the particular information you were trying to find or discuss?) and similar 'scatterbrain' functionality. Maybe I just don't quite grok it, but there's just something about it that makes me feel very uncomfortable.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Discourse is weird

      > move from mailing lists to some sort of forum, where it is easier to follow/bookmark and respond to only the threads of interest to you (rather than wade through an overflowing mailbox, or spend hours honing procmail rules or slrn scores (half of present day devs now say, "Huh?" here)), and to look up older discussions when these contain nuggets of useful information (trying to search back through mailing list archives is never quite as easy).

      Whether it's in a web forum or a mailing list, the data being processed is pretty much the same, so the issues you're encountering aren't to do with the medium of transmission, but with the client UI being used.

      Has there really not been much effort put into list-specific mail clients, or to functionality specific to mailing lists? Over so many decades? Or do people just not realise that there is any other way to read email than the inbox-firehose model offered by Outlook Express and Gmail?

      1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

        Re: Discourse is weird

        Has there really not been much effort put into list-specific mail clients, or to functionality specific to mailing lists? Over so many decades? Or do people just not realise that there is any other way to read email than the inbox-firehose model offered by Outlook Express and Gmail?

        Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but email is a dying technology (along with telephones) You may love your RFC 822 SMTP, but the younger generation aren't into it.

        1. FIA Silver badge

          Re: Discourse is weird

          Email isn't a dying technology, nor is the telephone.

          They've both just had some use cases replaced with other options.

          TV didn't replace radio, it just provided another medium.

        2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Re: Discourse is weird

          "email is a dying technology"

          Because only using proprietary solutions makes so much more sense?

          Email isn't going away any time soon. But kids may have to grow up and learn how to use it.

        3. localzuk Silver badge

          Re: Discourse is weird

          Email, such a dead medium that every site on the web uses it.

      2. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Discourse is weird

        "Whether it's in a web forum or a mailing list, the data being processed is pretty much the same, so the issues you're encountering aren't to do with the medium of transmission, but with the client UI"

        Some of the time, yes, but not always. For example, threading in a web forum versus in email means a pretty different experience. A thread in email probably has several copies of any search term due to replies containing previous messages or parts thereof, but you can't guarantee that someone's done that or uses any given format. It may fork repeatedly, but the subject line and structure will not clear this up. If you joined the group after the thread started, you may not have all the components even if you wrote a program capable of automatically disentangling these. For later finding information, a public forum that structures the thread and its child threads as they occurred is likely to make the process easier. Something akin to the nested thread display mode in these forums can make it clearer who said what and when.

        1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

          Re: Discourse is weird

          YAH - bring back NNTP

          I abandoned several of my feeds after they switched to on-line web forums - they just became impossible to follow.

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: Discourse is weird

            And here we have the problem. We could put this on NNTP, but that too would mean switching off the mailing list. Unless you have something keeping them in sync, and if you do you could do that for a web forum if you were so inclined, you'll still have to decide what is the best solution. Some people would not want NNTP and say the email list is better. Some people would not like NNTP and say the web forum is better. Some would not like either and ask for NNTP. There is no objective answer.

            Acknowledging the downsides of an email list, as I did, does not mean I hate email lists or support web forums. It's just a useful way to evaluate the advantages of one solution over another. Web forums have the advantage in searchability and archiving, whereas mail threads have the advantage of choice over how you handle incoming messages. These are useful comparisons to consider when you choose which method will be the primary channel for discussions.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Discourse is weird

      E-mail threads are normally all I need to keep track of any discussion.

    3. robinsonb5

      Re: Discourse is weird

      We also live in a world where 24/7 power might no longer be something we can confidently take for granted - at which point, and fetch-and-send-while-you-can model of traditional email starts to look more attractive.

      Discourse-based forums are at least crawlable, externally searchable and discoverable, unlike the confusingly-similarly-named Discord servers.

    4. Rich 2 Silver badge

      Re: Discourse is weird

      “ We now live in a world where (pretty much) everyone has always-on internet access…”

      Maybe. But people (well, those that have a life) do NOT spend 24 hours a day connected to the Internet

      1. LionelB Silver badge

        Re: Discourse is weird

        You is old. Observing my son and his cohort, they manage to have lives while plugged 24/7 into the internet. Perhaps they're just better at multitasking.

        1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

          Re: Discourse is weird

          What percentage is spent in the actual real world?

          1. LionelB Silver badge

            Re: Discourse is weird

            All of it - cf. multitasking.

            For his generation, online is an inextricable part of the "real world".

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Discourse is weird

          Eating, breathing and sleeping is NOT having a life.

          1. LionelB Silver badge

            Re: Discourse is weird

            Who said anything about just eating, breathing and sleeping? Although he does those too, besides completing his degree, working on his music production sideline and enjoying a vibrant social life (in the "real world"). He occasionally even finds the time to engage with his parents.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Discourse is weird

            > Eating, breathing and sleeping is NOT having a life.

            You forgot about consuming.

            If you are not a consumer you're not welcome in societies built around market economies.

            (Unless of course you own the means of production)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Discourse is weird

        Or we might actually want to disconnect for privacy reasons. To get away from the crazy levels of surveillance ever present nowadays.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Discourse is weird

      > a world where (pretty much) everyone has always-on internet access, not charged per minute,

      In the global north, perhaps.

  5. TVU Silver badge

    "The GNOME Project is closing all its mailing lists"

    A more cynical view is that it could perhaps reduce the opportunity to raise concerns about bugs, interoperability with extensions, overall direction of the GNOME Project, etc.

    1. willfe

      Cynical, but accurate. GNOME is famously a "write-only" project; you will use it their way and you will like it, pleb. There's a reason I always install KDE on desktops instead of GNOME's garbage.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Maybe it's a sign that the whole project is rotting away slowly bit by bit. If GNOME eventually shuts down that will do us all a favour since it's a very bad influence on the open source community in general.

      A lot of bad ideas come out of GNOME and it has always been like that from the very beginning.

  6. Nate Amsden

    never heard of discourse

    But as. Mailman 2 user and admin for 20 years i spent a little time looking at mailman 3 and noped out of it. Built a special system just for mailman 2 on an older distro. My personal lists just have a few messages a month so no real risk.

    But wow mailman3 looked way too complex.

    1. Alan J. Wylie

      Re: never heard of discourse

      Much the same here: I ran Mailman 2 for a mountaineering club for many years, tried to install and configure Mailman 3, gave up.

      Now happily running Mlmmj — Mailing List Management Made Joyful

  7. DrSunshine0104

    Yuck. I don't visit GNOME mailing lists but yuck. Discourse is only good for chatting in my experience. Anything beyond that, it is busted bots, prior knowledge of arcane, undocumented functionality, and emoji spam. And if you disable what should be aesthetic features of Discourse you can actually break functionality... amazing engineering.

    I want information not a conversation with a emoji-happy preteen. I want organized information, not information metaphorically written on a postcard and tumbled in a bingo cage. Searching forums can be a nightmare depending on how intelligently a person labelled their post, but sure, let's make that worse.

    God, I sound like a grumpy old man at 36.

    1. AdamWill

      Are you sure you're not confusing Discourse with Discord? They're not at all the same thing.

      1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        [Author here]

        Confession: when I first read of this change, I made the same mistake. Even though I've had an account on the Ubuntu Discourse for years (although I almost never use it).

        I do also have a Discord account, which I use even less.

    2. LybsterRoy Silver badge

      NNTP forums used to be an absolute joy. Someone started a thread about something and the other posts in that thread frequently referred to the original subject. Those that didn't were easily ignored. If off-line it meant you still had access when you didn't have connectivity just you couldn't download the latest. Stored locally it meant that I had a copy of everything if the server went down, was hacked or any such.

      The modern web stuff - yuch

      1. coredump

        Quite. I still have 'trn' installed, and still use it occasionally to browse a few (nearly all technical, and often unix/linux -related) newsgroups.

        Thing is, most of those groups also have a corresponding email list (for now, anyway), and I do subscribe to some (and others) rather than read them via NNTP. Some of them are mail-news gatewayed, so you can read and follow the topic in whichever medium suits you -- very nice.

        So the Usenet groups still serve a useful function for me: I can follow a bunch of topics I'm interested in, when I'm ready, in non-real time, without carrying around the full content and threads in my mailbox. That's convenient, and it's great that there are still public NNTP servers keeping Usenet alive.

  8. Gene Cash Silver badge

    gamification?

    The new platform offers way more features than Mailman, including gamification

    WTAF?

    Why the hell is gamification something for a software bug forum?

    Perhaps this explains why GNOME is crap.

    Edit: is gamification what I think it is?

    Google: "the application of typical elements of game playing"

    Yup, OK, then.

    1. KarMann Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: gamification?

      Says my fellow silver badge holder. Yeah, I think that's probably the kind of 'gamification' they're talking about, awarding badges, buttons, and the like for various 'accomplishments'.

      ETA: Oops, it does seem I misspoke. My own silver badge seems to have disappeared. I wasn't sure whether it could go away like the bronze did, if I fell behind in commenting for the past year. I'll have to work harder to please our journalistic overlords, it seems.

      1. brotherelf

        Re: gamification?

        It is a bit "we as a community don't have to make you feel appreciated for your contributions, we have automated that", innit?

      2. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: gamification?

        Seems you lost the game.

        Play harder

    2. LybsterRoy Silver badge

      Re: gamification?

      == Why the hell is gamification something for a software bug forum? ==

      Its probably like a third party shoot em up but with the authors shooting the bug hunters

  9. ChoHag Silver badge

    I see that the python 2 to 3 transition is coming along nicely.

  10. drankinatty

    It's Gnome's way of saying - you're not wanted here.

    After years of participating on the Gtk+ list, it was transitioned to discourse about 18 months ago (maybe 2 years). Participation crashed. While the mailing list was very responsive, discourse wasn't. The Gtk+ (Gnome) devs seemed to like it that way, so with the stunning success of the Gtk+ list to point to, why not move the Gnome list to discourse too? (the general user alienation is a "feature" of the move, not a side-effect) Yes, Gnome really can screw up a shot-put with a rubber-hammer...

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: It's Gnome's way of saying - you're not wanted here.

      The GNOME Project is of course justly famed for using the CADT model of software development. It is indeed the type specimen.

      https://www.jwz.org/doc/cadt.html

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's Gnome's way of saying - you're not wanted here.

        And it's ruining all the surrounding ecosystem such as Freedesktop.org. From there it's spreading to the entire Linux platform.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's Gnome's way of saying - you're not wanted here.

        This is the second time today that I land on jwz's site, via completely different routes.

  11. The Bam

    Beware of The Leopard

    "To be fair, there has been plenty of warning. The plan was first mentioned in June 2020. "

    It was mentioned in the sense of Arthur Dent being told about the new bypass. The mailing list I moderate (Evolution) learned about it a few days ago, with the warning that the change was due at the end of October, i.e. 2 weeks notice. It has since been put back another 2 weeks, but there is apparently no appeal. Some people are quite upset about this, as they feel the support for an email client should really be done by email and not some super-whizzo Web forum (even when said forum also supports email access, kind of, if you look at it sideways). There is some discussion regarding setting up an alternative list, with the attendant risk of fragmentation of the user community, but nothing has yet been decided.

    Ironically, the support infrastructure for the Gnome lists, and Gnome in general I think, is provided by RedHat, but support for Fedora lists continues to use Mailman3 and people are perfectly happy with it. Hurray for consistency.

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Beware of The Leopard

      Gnome and Redhat's relationship seems to be somewhat schizophrenic . In some ways they seem to compete for the crown of who can piss off the greatest number of people. At other times, they seem to team up to go nuclear on the userbase.

  12. tobs

    "gamification which newer generations, in general, appreciate"

    I never got it. To me these kind of elements always scan as some kind of dopamine triggering trick to keep people engaged for the sake of feeding ads/buying attention, etc.

    Likes on Facebook, points on stack overflow, pokes on bebo... All the same waffle.

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