Frequently Answered Questions
- Who's behind all this, then?
Gmane is run by Lars Magne Ingebrigtsen, and the administrators are
Tom Koelman, Jason R. Mastaler, Steinar Bang, Jon Ericson, Wolfgang
Schnerring, Sebastian D.B. Krause, Nicolas Bareil,
Raymond Scholz, and Adam Sjøgren.
- How do you pronounce «Gmane»?
The gee is silent, so it's quite like «mane», «main» or «mein», which
explains why the main machine is called «ciao».
- How do I get in contact with the administrators?
Send a mail to Lars or post
to the gmane.discuss
- What's the brilliant business plan?
There is none. I just thought it was a good idea.
- Who pays for it, then?
The hardware was paid for by my employer and me, and the network
connectivity is also supplied by my employer.
- Does your bandwidth suck?
Not really. First of all, Gmane isn't a bandwidth hog -- it's just
text and very few images. And we have Gbps connections to the world and
100Mbps connections to the ISPs we peer with. Gmane is in Norway, though,
so your latency may vary.
- The hardware, then?
There's now five machines in the Gmane server
farm doing various things. Gmane definitely could use more
nifty hardware. If you wish to give us some, please write to
sponsor <at> gmane.org.
- Ok, I want to add a public mailing list. Tell me how.
If you have any doubts about whether the mailing list wants to be
carried by Gmane, ask the people on the mailing list first. Or at
least the mailing list administrator. Then you fill out the subscription page.
- How long does it take before a new list is added?
It depends on how fast the Gmane admins process the request. It's
usually somewhere between five minutes and two weeks. If you enter
your email address when submitting the request, you'll be notified
when the admin processes the request.
- I wanted the group to be called
gmane.comp.fabuloze.haczkers, but you called it
Yes. We try to give group names that are logical and consistent, so
that Gmane users can find the relevant groups. In particular, this
means that "-dev", "-devel", "-development", "-hackers" and the like
all become ".devel"; "-help" and "-users" become ".general" or
".user", depending on how many lists there are; and "-svn", "-commits"
and the like become ".cvs".
- Can you carry the foo.bar.zot newsgroup on Gmane?
No. Gmane only carries mailing lists, not Usenet newsgroups.
- You bastards! You archived my message!
You can suppress your own articles if you follow the instructions here.
- I'm a list administrator, and I don't think you should archive
No problem. Just send a mail to Lars, and he'll remove the
- ...and the reason I want to remove the list is that I don't
want unsubscribed people to be able to post to the list. Usenet
True, but the Gmane can make the group read-only, and that way Gmane
won't try to be a bidirectional gateway for your list.
- Ok, but I still want to remove the list, because I don't want
address harvesters to be able to grab email addresses.
Have you considered whether the list could still be carried by Gmane, but
with address encryption switched on?
- I just don't want to, ok? Quit harassing me, or I'll have my lawyer sew you so hard!
Sure, no problem. It's your list. Send a mail.
- What happens after I post to a Gmane newsgroup?
The Gmane auto-authorizer sends you an email.
- I didn't get any email.
Then the address you used in your From or Reply-To headers was
invalid. Use a valid email address. And you can't use a
"public.gmane.org" address when posting.
- But I did use a valid email address.
Perhaps you did in your From, but your Reply-To address pointed
to the mailing list. Don't do that.
- I got an email from the auto-authorizer, and I answered
that. Then I didn't hear anything more.
This means that your response didn't reach Gmane. Re-send your reply
to the auth message.
- I did re-send, but still no reply.
Then I don't know. Did you really send a reply to the right address?
- I sent a reply, and got a message back saying that Gmane
would forward the message to the mailing list. But it didn't reach
the mailing list.
If Gmane says that will send the mail, it did. The matter is then out
of Gmane's hands.
- But, er, where's my mail?
Impossible to say. Perhaps the mail transport is stalled somewhere,
and the message will appear in a couple of hours on the list. Most
likely the mailing list software rejected the message because you're
not a subscriber. If that's the case, subscribe to the list. You can
find the address of the list in question by searching via Google.
- It must be your fault. I want you to check your mail logs.
Absolutely not. The problem lies elsewhere.
Except when you send several messages to a group for the first time,
and then ack the auth messages. Then all the messages, except the
last one, are silently deleted.
- And cancelling articles doesn't work.
Yes, that's right. Gmane is an archive.
Gmane and the world
- Will you start feeding the gmane.* hierarchy out any time soon?
Yes, probably, but there are a few policy and technical questions
that I want to give a bit more thought first. See the page on Reticule for details.
- Is Gmane free software?
Yes, and you can download the software here,
but mainly Gmane is a service, and as such isn't very downloadable.
The major pieces are we:search, The Weaver Daemon, weft, and
- Can you import an old mailing list archive?
Sure. It's easy. Just
follow the instructions here.
- Can you export a list archive?
Sure. It's easy. Just
follow the instructions here.
- Why are all the articles out of order after doing an import?
They aren't on the news server. On the web server they'll
remain out of order until weaverd has rethreaded them, which'll
happen six months later.
- Six months later? Are you kidding?
Not really. That's how often the messages are rethreaded in weaverd,
- Can I read news via secure NNTP (nntps)?
Yes. Point your news reader towards nntps://news.gmane.org/.
- How do I link to a group on Gmane?
There are two addresses you can give.
- nntp://news.gmane.org/gmane.group.name: This is the newsgroup.
- http://dir.gmane.org/gmane.group.name: This is the web interface.
Use either or both.
- Can't I link to lists on Gmane without knowing the Gmane group name?
Yes, you can. http://firstname.lastname@example.org will
redirect you to the correct dir.gmane.org URL.
- I just wonder, do you by any chance have a web interface that looks just like a blog?
I'm glad you asked. http://blog.gmane.org/gmane.group.name looks
kinda like a blog, but it has all the same articles as the other
- Has the previous question really been asked frequently?
Would I joke about something like that?
- How do I link to a specific article?
- How do I link to a specific article if I just know the
- How do I link to a specific thread?
- How do I get an RSS feed for a list?
- What's with those cutoff= in the news.gmane.org links?
They mean "don't show me any articles newer than this". This is
useful if you want to point somebody at a specific "snapshot" of the
- Can I look at a raw article, without any HTML magic?
Yes, just add
/raw to the end of the article URL.
- Do you expire articles?
No, articles are forever.
- But I saw an article once, and now it's gone.
Yes. Articles with X-No-Archive and the like
disappear after a while. And you can't find articles like that in
the search engine.
- What's up with all those charts that litter the web site?
They're generated by Chart,
a PHP class written by somebody whose name I can't quite place.
- And where do those small images that adorn the articles come from?
They're fetched from all available sources I could think of: The Picons archive, Gravatar,
and favicon.ico files from the equivalent web page of the address in the From
header. If you want to ensure that your messages have nicer images,
put some high-resolution images into your favicon.ico bundle.
- Can I use the list activity chart on my own web page?
Sure. The HTML to use is:
<img src="http://gmane.org/plot-rate.php?group=gmane.discuss" width=500 height=150>
Substitute the group name you're interested in, of course.
- Can I include a box displaying the latest topics on my mailing list on my web page?
Ok, nobody has ever asked that, but, sure! Why not!
The easiest way is to use an iframe:
width=800px height=200px />
You can like totally control the look of the contents by listing the
CSS elements in the URL:
width=800px height=200px />
page for an overview of the available style parameters.
You can also just download the HTML in question from a cron job,
and then just include the HTML into your own page directly, if you
don't like iframes.
- When I connect to the news server, I get no groups, but they are
visible on the web server.
Perhaps you're reading from a domain or network that has been blocked due to excessive news article downloads.
- What's your policy on spam?
We don't like it. Spam bad.
- I figured out how to crack the address obfuscation in the web interface! You just replace "<at>" with "@"! You guys are obviously not 3l33+!
Er, yes. However, current accepted wisdom in the anti-spam community
is that spam harvesting bots do not do even trivial unobfuscation, so
nothing more than this trivial scheme is necessary. If that changes, the
obfuscation scheme will change, too.
- What happens when I click the "This is spam" button?
Your report is queued, and a Gmane admin will later inspect your
report to see whether the message in question really does look like
spam. If the admin agrees that this is, indeed, spam, the article is
immediately removed from the web interface. At a later date, the
article is also cross-posted to the spam group, so that people using
the news interface will also be able to avoid seeing the spam.