X.Org mailing lists on x.org website are very nonconventional and irritating

Mike A. Harris mharris at www.linux.org.uk
Mon Oct 18 15:17:28 PDT 2004

I just attempted to subscribe to the xorg_arch at x.org mailing list, which
I was previously subscribed to this year, and while going through the
procedure on the website I found it incredibly non-helpful.

Modern mailing lists have a SIMPLE procedure for subscribing, which is
either to send a simple email to a particular address with subscription
commands embedded in the subject or body of the message, or to go to
a web page and type in your email address and possibly a password (to
prevent others from subscribing/unsubscribing random people), then
submit and you're done.  You generally receive a confirmation mail
which you must reply to in order to complete a 3 way handshake, and
then your subscription is activated.

With the x.org mailing lists (not the freedesktop.org hosted ones), some
custom non-standard software is used that is about as fun to use to
subscribe as is getting a root canal.  All this software should require
is my email address.  It wants my full name, a 'username' and all kinds
of other crap which is not really necessary.  After typing in "mharris"
for username it errored and told me "choose another name that one is
taken", then "mike.harris" was my next choice at which point I am told
"that one is taken too, try again", to which I assume I must already
be subscribed and just not getting mail, or I have delivery disabled or
somesuch.  Next I chose something that would guaranteed be unique, but
which generated the error "your username does not match your last name".

Why should this MATTER?  Now I know I can continue to throw random data
into this form until I forcibly convince it to subscribe me to the
mailing list, but nobody should really have to go through this type of
pain.  The average user out there is just going to look at this, and
then give up due to the massive inconvenience and hoop jumping they have
to go through just to subscribe.  I suspect many developers will do the

While there is a variety of different software out there used for
open source/project mailing lists, GNU mailman is the "defacto" standard
for running public mailing lists nowadaya, and that's because it is
both powerful, easy to install, configure, administer, and easy for end
users to use and to subscribe to lists with.

Now I understand the X.org lists have probably been around for some
number of years behind the scenes and did the job they were intended to
do at the time well enough for the userbase they were directed at.  At
this point however, X.Org is supposed to be a community based effort,
and having the public mailing lists ran by arcane software that is
unnecessarily difficult to use does not work too well towards the
direction of attracting new people to the lists.

Please take an hour to install GNU mailman and convert these lists
over to it, or please move them to freedesktop.org where the
infrastructure already exists.

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