I voted to close this question as off topic: Free mailing list provider for open source projects?

Looking at the votes, it looks like we've a hung jury, so I'll take it to meta.

I gave this as my reason to vote to close:

I don't see how a request for free (as in beer) stuff is going to be on-topic here no matter how serious and noble the cause, including a "serious effort for developing open source software" . What makes a free mailing list for open source different from a free mailing list for trainspotters?

To which the OP replied:

"Open source" is a movement, a community & development style which promotes access not just to the source code but also it's development process. "Open source software" is the product of those communities. A mailing list can be used for many purposes, including open source development. Since it can be so critical to the proceedings of open source, assuming it is the preferred method of discussion, it's worth covering available mediums in this exchange.

I am not prepared to go along with that. A free mailing is a free mailing list. Using it for "open source" does not make it different from any other free mailing list.

If we let requests for providers of free mailing list be on topic, what about this one?

Provider of free beer for open source projects?
"Open source" is a movement, a community & development style which promotes access not just to the source code but also it's development process. "Open source software" is the product of those communities. For open source developers coming together in a convivial setting where beer and other beverages are consumed is sometimes essential for the team to get to know each other. Since beer can be so critical to the proceedings of open source development, assuming sharing beers is the preferred method of team-building, it's worth covering available providers of free beer in this exchange.

Only joking ...

I can certainly see requests for mailing lists providers (gratis or not) being on topic, if the questions requested a mailing list that fulfilled more requirements than being "gratis", such as:

  • supports GIT's email integration for patches and pull requests;
  • is integrated with an ticket tracking database;
  • provides facilities for segmented mailings to diverse project subgroups;

... you get the idea.

But just being "gratis" and "going to be used for open source development" is IMHO a too weekly related to open source to be considered on topic.

3 Answers 3


Absolutely agree.

If we let requests for "free stuff" be on-topic:

  • What's the best open source beer?
  • Where can I buy open cola?
  • Where do I find open source plans for a 3D-printable gun?
  • Recommend me a good laptop to use for my open source development

Erm, no. Those shouldn't be on-topic here - the links to open source in most if not all cases are so tenuous that they may as well not exist.


Mailinglists have traditionally played a large role in hacker culture, and have always been an important collaboration tool for open source projects, far more so than for propriety software; it once was the center point of open source communities. Meanwhile, the traditional infrastructure has gotten into disuse. Few projects run their own mailinglist server.

Mailinglists aren't as popular anymore as they were in years of old, but they are still very frequently used in open source development, yet there are not that many mailinglist providers around anymore.

That said, a quick google search quickly turn up results, and I do agree with you that your examples that would make the question better would make the question much better indeed.

I'm not buying the slippery slope to asking about distributors of gratis beer.


Martijn puts it very well and I agree with him.

It is a really hard sell to convince people that beer is pivotal to open source. But mailing lists definitely are, there is clear precedence of the role they have played. You can't have open source software without discussion and mailing lists are one of the best ways about it.

Unfortunately the price-tag creeps into the question because the vast majority of open source projects tend to be poor, at least in the beginning. If this stack is generally about open source and not just narrow aspect of it, it can be relevant and helpful to provide answers to questions such as this one.

And the description for this stack says: "Open Source Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people organizing, marketing or licensing open source development projects."

This question falls into organising.

I wish I could vote, but I can't.

  • 2
    From the flipside though, google.nl/search?q=free+mailinglist+provider seems to do an fairly adequate job in answering the question, which I have to admit makes it a bit unsuitable for here
    – Martijn
    Commented Aug 7, 2015 at 11:29
  • I see. Not sure I see much value in opensource.stackexchange then. Thanks anyway.
    – user374
    Commented Aug 10, 2015 at 19:52

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