Mailing lists

Much of the work that makes Ubuntu a success happens on mailing lists.

You can subscribe to a list in normal or digest mode, or review the archives for past discussions.Please read through some of the guidelines below when using the mailing lists. The full list of Ubuntu mailing lists can be found at lists.ubuntu.com and on Gmane as gmane.linux.ubuntu.

There is local language support information for mailing lists and internet relay chat (IRC) channels for non-English speaking users.

Announcement-only lists

  • Ubuntu security announcement list:

    The ubuntu-security-announce receives only announcements of security updates to Ubuntu releases. If you are an administrator for multiple machines, we strongly recommend you subscribe to this list to be notified of critical updates that may affect your system security.

  • Ubuntu announcement list:

    The ubuntu-announce list has very few emails (less than one a month, usually) and will keep you up-to-date on new releases of Ubuntu, and significant new developments.

  • Ubuntu news

    The ubuntu-news list is a low volume list, primarily for the Ubuntu Weekly News.

User lists

The ubuntu-users list is where most technical support discussions occur, and where users of Ubuntu meet to discuss new features and ideas they would like to see in Ubuntu. NB: this is a very high-traffic mailing list, generating around 200 messages a day. If you want to avoid a full inbox, try the Ubuntu web forums.

Developer lists

  • The ubuntu-devel mailing list is for discussions among Ubuntu developers about their projects. This is a moderated mailing list.
  • The ubuntu-devel-discuss mailing list is for community discussion and suggestions about the future development of Ubuntu.
  • The package upload and automatic notification mailing lists contain the archive upload notifications for each version of Ubuntu. These lists are primarily used for Ubuntu development.
  • The ubuntu-motu mailing list is for getting involved in packaging and development on Ubuntu.

Mailing list etiquette

These guidelines are designed to keep the productivity of the Ubuntu mailing lists at a high level. They represent the conventions currently used by the majority of participants in the mailing lists, and should be used as a frame of reference for mailing list etiquette.

Summary

  • Observe the Ubuntu Code of Conduct.
  • Before writing an email, consider whether it will further a discussion which is relevant for the particular mailing list.
  • Observe the technical guidelines about emailing outlined in this page.

Code of Conduct

The Ubuntu Code of Conduct governs all interaction within the Ubuntu community. Because mailing lists form an integral part of that interaction, it is especially important to bear the Code of Conduct in mind at all times. Mailing list users should read the Code of Conduct in full, and if possible, should digitally sign a copy .

Fundamental aspects of the Code of Conduct relevant to mailing lists include:

  • Be considerate
  • Be respectful
  • Be collaborative
  • When you disagree, consult others
  • When you are unsure, ask for help
  • Step down considerately
  • Avoid flamewars, trolling, personal attacks, and repetitive arguments

Topic

Every mailing list deals with a specific subject matter (a topic). It is important to limit discussion to that topic so that the mailing list remains productive. When writing to mailing lists, bear in mind that your email may be sent to hundreds of people, who have signed up to the mailing list for a specific reason, or interest. Avoid subjects which are not relevant to the individual mailing list, and each time you write an email, consider its relevance for the mailing list in question. A good rule of thumb is that each email should contribute positively to a relevant discussion.

Specific examples:

  • The ubuntu-users mailing list should be used for technical support.
  • The ubuntu-devel mailing list should be used for discussion of the development of Ubuntu.

Technical guidelines

Proper quoting:

Proper quoting is very important on mailing lists, to ensure that it is easy to follow the conversation. There are four fundamental rules:

  • When replying to an email, ensure that the email which you are replying to is indented with a symbol such as > or | (this is usually done from the preferences of your email client - most should do this by default).
  • When quoting, attribute the quoted text to the person who wrote it (again, most email clients will do this by default). Be careful to attribute the correct text to the correct person.
  • Write your email underneath the email which you are replying to.
  • Tailor your reply to fit the text which you are replying to. Do not quote the whole of the previous email - remove any unnecessary text. To avoid confusion, it's often a good idea to replace removed text with a brief indication that something has been removed, like [snip].

HTML mail

Avoid sending emails in HTML format, if possible. Some people may find it more difficult to read or reply to these emails. Also, HTML email takes up more space, so people with restricted Internet access will be happier to receive plain text emails.

Threading

Many users read mailing lists by the thread. This means that when reading, emails are placed in a tree structure according to the subject. For an example, see this page . To permit this, email clients identify messages by a special hidden 'header' of the message. To assist those who read mailing lists in this way:

  • Try to ensure that you use an email client which retains this 'hidden' part of the message. For example, avoid using Outlook Express.
  • When replying to messages, use your email client's Reply To List function, rather than 'Reply' or 'Reply To All'. This is Ctrl + L in Evolution (Ubuntu's default email client), and Shift + L in Kmail (Kubuntu's default email client) and in mutt (a popular console email client). If your email client does not have this function, ask for it to be added! Mozilla's Thunderbird does not have this function, but if you read the mailing lists as a newsgroup in Thunderbird, you can simply use the "Reply" function.
  • When starting a new subject, do not reply to a previous email from the mailing list. If you do, your email may form part of a previous thread. To start a new subject, use a clean email.
  • Replying to digest emails breaks the threading.

Changing the subject

When a reply takes the email away from the original subject, change the subject line in your email. This helps people reading the mailing list to identify the most relevant emails for them.

When changing the subject, keep the original subject in brackets. For example, if the original subject was 'Ubuntu rocks', your subject should be 'Ubuntu could be made better (was Ubuntu rocks)'.