mailing-list ++?

I’m about to start a new online discussion group. My immediate assumption was to use a plain old mailman mailing list (good-looking mailman hosting) but I’m wondering if there is anything better than that for out-of-the-box group Free Software-based hosting these days- something which goes beyond the simple mailman mailing list and provides other functionality, like google groups’ file uploading/simple page hosting, or yahoo groups’ databases and calendars. I don’t have any specific features that I need in mind, but I figure if something exists, I’d like to at least take a look before I settle on the simple, old mailing list metaphor.

Anyone? Anything?

7 thoughts on “mailing-list ++?”

  1. My suggestion: make a normal mailing list, but also get it archived in gmane. That will then give you RSS feeds, which you can aggregate on your project’s homepage to give a “last ten threads on the mailing list”.

  2. Also, for moderation, you might look at either listadmin or maildirman, depending on mail volume and number of lists. The former gives you a command-line interface to moderate mail, and the latter turns the moderation queues into a maildir that you can serve up with IMAP and moderate with mutt or any other mailer.

  3. Just use Google Groups. If it does what you need, why try to (poorly) emulate it on your own server? Groups can work exactly like a mailing list, provides a web archive, and allows web posting (which is the biggest lacking feature on general mailing lists – you can’t participate unless you opt-in to getting your inbox flooded with a bazillion posts a day, even if you’re only interested in 4% of them).

  4. I should have specified- completely web-based; I expect this group to outlive my interest in it, and don’t want to foist my technology choices off on the next generation. So anything requiring anything command-line is out. Also, almost certainly needs a commercial hosting option.

    Also, gmane is out; most likely this will remain a private, members-only list.

    Sean: because (among other things) the list will probably feature a lot of discussion of google and privacy issues, so I expect it to attract people who might be sensitive to the use of google; and because they don’t (as far as I can see) provide export facilities, and I refuse to lock anyone into something that can’t be accessed that way.

    More to the point, I’m not sure what those extra features do for me- I’ve been moderating a private list on google groups for a couple years now, and only once have we tried to use any of those features- and it was a failure. I’m hoping that looking at open source alternatives will perhaps suggest to me (1) that some of those features are worthwhile and (2) that they work.

  5. So, despite it being in perl and therefore dirty, the features in the web interface of sympa were rather impressive. sympa is an open source mailing list manager with a rather ineresting web front end.

    Give it a try or test it out at:


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