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XEmacs Mailing Lists

For most problems of configuration and daily usage, the best channel is the Usenet newsgroup comp.emacs.xemacs. The participants in c.e.x are users at every level of experience as well as a few developers, and they are there specificially for the purpose of helping each other. For common problems responses are fast and accurate, and normally faster than they will be on the developers' mailing lists.

However, if you have read the documentation, believe you understand it, and still don't understand why XEmacs does what it does, then that is most likely a bug (often in the documentation, but still a bug), and you should let the developers know about it. The best way to do that is M-x report-xemacs-bug.

Several mailing lists are available to facilitate development and discussion of XEmacs. These mailing lists are essential to the development process of XEmacs. If you wish to participate effectively, you should subscribe or regularly review the archives of the relevant lists. Besides information about each list, this page provides information about subscribing to XEmacs mailing lists (and each list description contains a link to facilitate subscription), help with list-related problems, and information about anti-spam policy.

Mailing Lists and the Development Process

Currently, the typical workflow starts with a bug report from a user or a developer, which should be directed to xemacs-beta. Any changes that arise from this discussion (or bugfixes arising directly from discussion on xemacs-beta) should then be submitted to xemacs-patches. Patches are vetted by the XEmacs Review Board. Review actions such as approval and veto of patches will be directed to xemacs-patches.

This is a description of the typical workflow. There are various other routes that code and discussion can follow. See the descriptions of the various lists to decide which is most appropriate for your post.

The following lists are more or less obsolete, or unused, and have been merged into xemacs-beta. The xemacs-users-LANG lists may be revived if traffic or user requests warrant. Send requests, in English, to Stephen Turnbull. The xemacs-design list probably will be revived when traffic warrants.

An alternative to subscribing to any of the lists is to visit the Archived XEmacs Mailing Lists. These archives are updated daily, during the period 13:00-14:00 EST (around 18:00 GMT). If you don't want to stay as far as a day behind, then just go ahead and subscribe.

Some (or maybe all by the time you read this) of these lists are available by NNTP on the bidirectional gateway gmane.org.

comp.emacs.xemacs is a Usenet newsgroup for XEmacs users to discuss problems and issues that arise for them. It's not generally an appropriate place to ask about apparent bugs (use xemacs-beta).

No archives at XEmacs; Google Groups, etc., may have them.
No subscription necessary; just point your newsreader at comp.emacs.xemacs.

xemacs-announce is a read-only, low volume list for announcements concerning the XEmacs project and new releases of the XEmacs software.

Subscribe or change subscription by HTTP:

xemacs-beta is an open list for bug reports about beta versions of XEmacs. This includes the bug reports themselves, by both users and developers, as well as queries, follow-ups, and discussions further determining their nature and status. This is the primary channel for this kind of discussion; related code changes will usually not be applied until they have been discussed here.

Subscribe or change subscription by HTTP:

xemacs-beta-ja is obsolete; it has been merged into xemacs-beta. Posts in Japanese are welcome on xemacs-beta, but you should consider that posts in English will probably receive much more prompt and accurate response. The old archives will remain available.


xemacs-buildreports is an open list for submission of build-reports on beta versions of XEmacs. For information on what the build-reports should contain, please see the "Beta" Info documentation node, or the man/beta.texi file in the source of the beta series.

Subscribe or change subscription by HTTP:

xemacs-commits is a read-only list for notices and information on what has been committed to the XEmacs Mercurial repositories, by whom, and for what. (For more information on the XEmacs Mercurial repositories: ../Develop/hgaccess.html.)

Subscribe or change subscription by HTTP:

xemacs-design has been merged into xemacs-beta for now. It will be revived when traffic justifies.


xemacs-mule has been merged into xemacs-beta, which is not restricted to English, postings in all languages are welcome. Please consider that posts in English will likely receive much more prompt and accurate responses.


xemacs-news has been merged into xemacs-beta. If you are looking for user support, please use the comp.emacs.xemacs newsgroup, which has convenient web interfaces via Yahoo Groups and Google Groups.

Subscribe or change subscription by HTTP:

xemacs-nt has been merged into xemacs-beta, as the Windows support is now a standard part of XEmacs.

Legacy Archive:

xemacs-patches is an open, moderated list for submission of patches to the XEmacs distribution and its packages. Anyone may subscribe or submit to xemacs-patches, but all submissions are reviewed by the list moderator before they are distributed to the list. Discussion of substantial changes to a patch is not appropriate on xemacs-patches; please try to return such threads to xemacs-beta.

Subscribe or change subscription by HTTP:

xemacs-users-ja has been merged into xemacs-beta. Japanese is welcome, but please consider that posts in English are likely to receive much more timely and accurate response. If Japanese-language traffic or user demand justifies it, a separate Japanese-only user-oriented list may be revived. Send comments or requests to Stephen Turnbull (Japanese is OK).

Legacy Archive:

xemacs-users-ru has been merged into xemacs-beta. Russian is welcome, but please consider that posts in English are likely to receive much more timely and accurate response. If Russian-language traffic or user demand justifies it, a separate Russian-only user-oriented list may be revived. Send comments or requests to Stephen Turnbull.

Legacy Archive:

xemacs-winnt has been merged into xemacs-beta, as the Windows support is now a standard part of XEmacs.

Legacy Archive:


Many problems can be solved by visiting your personal options page for the list, via the URL you were sent in the welcome notice. You can also reach your options page for a list by visiting the Subscribe or change link for the list (mentioned in the list's entry in the table above), and entering your subscribed e-mail address in the last field in the form.

One common problem is that you stop receiving mail from a list. If Mailman receives too many delivery failure notices in a short period, it will suspend your subscription. You can confirm this state, and change it, from your personal options page.

If you lose your password, you can have it emailed to you from this page. You can also change your password, which is especially useful if you subscribe to several lists.

If your posts don't make it to the lists, perhaps you have run afoul of the anti-spam policy?

Any comments, questions, or complaints about the lists should be brought to the attention of the XEmacs Mailing List Manager <list-manager@xemacs.org>.

Note to AOL users: Because XEmacs lists are public, the addresses are known to many viruses and spammers, and therefore are likely to be used to conceal real sources of undesired mail. AOL's filter is quite stupid about this. Several AOL users are bouncing mail, and we have turned off delivery to their subscriptions, because the bounce messages annoy the XEmacs list managers and AOL's Postmaster does not respond to inquiries (we usually can't reach you!). You will have to both fix your filter and restore your subscription to delivery status using the Mailman interfaces. (The XEmacs policy is not going to change. If your ISP is unwilling to provide resources to ensure that mail you have requested is delivered to you, XEmacs volunteers are not going to make up for that lack. Note: It is now over three years since the above was written; if AOL's service has improved, we'd like to know at list-manager@xemacs.org)

Anti-Spam Measures

You should note that XEmacs mailing lists have open archives, and we currently take no measures to prevent address harvesting. There are three reasons for this (besides the fact that it would involve a fair amount of effort to redo the archiving system): we expect that most people who post to XEmacs lists have effective spam filtering anyway, it is often desirable to make personal replies to posts (so we don't want to sanitize the mailing list distribution itself), and we get very few complaints, none from regular posters.

Currently the XEmacs mailing lists are operated as members-only-post lists. Other posts are moderated, first by automatic filters, then by humans. Autoresponders cannot be used because they generate huge number of bounces due to non-existent addresses at poorly configured hosts, driving the postmaster crazy. Instead, with a mixture of SpamAssassin and homebrewed procmail recipes we are highly (about 99%) effective in blocking spam posts.

Due to a dramatic increase in the amount of spam and a near perfect record of like 0.05% false positives, we are discarding near-certain spam without checking as of 2004-04-27. We have added more categories as recently as 2006-12-26. Here are the criteria, any of which qualifies your post for automatic discard:

  1. Send a message which is of MIME type "multipart/alternative" or "multipart/related", containing both a "text/html" type part and an "image/*" type part.
  2. Have a known abusive from address (eg, daemon addresses at Microsoft.com, used by the MS-Blaster/Nachi viruses)
  3. Send posts with unencoded 8-bit characters in the headers
  4. Send posts in unwanted MIME charsets; except for xemacs-patches (non-ISO-8859 charsets are held for moderation), the xemacs-users-ja (Japanese is permitted) and xemacs-users-ru (Cyrillic is permitted), only ISO-8859 charsets and Windows-1252 are permitted.
  5. Convince SpamAssassin your post is spam (5 points, vanilla config)
  6. Send mail to majordomo@xemacs (we're a Mailman site now)
  7. Use implicit addresses (ie, not addressed to the list). Either the To header or the Cc header must contain "xemacs.org".
  8. Use too many addresses (over 10).
  9. Include any of several drug names in the headers, including obfuscated versions like "V1agdra" and "c.i.a.l.i.s".
  10. Include the word "rolex" or an apparent attempt to sell watches in the headers.
  11. Have a From or Sender address that procmail thinks is a daemon. Basically that means sendmail and other MTAs, mailing list managers, and root.
  12. Have From, To, and Subject headers containing 100% ASCII text encoded as utf-8 quoted-printable.

This list may be extended in the future, as we discover recipes that catch lots of spam with no false positives. Of course, since we throw it away, we can no longer check for false positives. If you think your post may have been mistakenly filtered, feel free to write to list-manager@xemacs.org.

Please do not write to the list. Even resending is a bad idea unless you think you made a mistake. Also, we request that you allow 4 hours for delivery before reporting a loss; changes in DNS configuration, server outages, and the like can cause delays of several hours even if other list traffic seems to be arriving normally.

Exceptions can be made, and if you need one (for example, if your documentation contains the phrase "click on the link", you would run afoul of the "no soliciting clicks" clause---this is just an example, patches already have an exception for that), write to list-manager@xemacs.org. See SpamAssassin's site for more information about SpamAssassin and what it is likely to block.

Other suspicious mail is held for moderation. This causes delays averaging 12 hours when I've got time for it, up to 72 hours (especially at weekends).

  1. A message which is of MIME type "multipart/alternative" or "multipart/related", containing an "image/*" type part.
  2. Broken headers, including addresses or message IDs apparently munged or added by relays.
  3. Null subjects and certain single-word subjects.
  4. Implicit addresses (ie, bcc'ing a list).
  5. Include an attachment with an extension that IE thinks is executable (practically everything but .txt and .tar.gz).
  6. A large number of phrases commonly used in spamvertisements, including phrases referring to stocks, mortgages, diets, well-known proprietary software, etc.
  7. A variety of sexual or scatological terms that in my experience are more likely to be used literally in spamverts than figuratively in flames.
  8. Invitations to click on a link. Links are OK, but don't include any text that would convince SpamAssassin you suggested clicking on it. XEmacs users are smart enough to figure that out for themselves.
  9. Posts that contain any HTML.
  10. There are also certain restrictions on content. Try to avoid phrases associated with the so-called Nigerian scam or containing the seven words you cannot say on TV (i.e., your post looks like spam for a porn site or Viagra).
  11. From, To, Cc, or Subject containing entirely QP- or BASE64-encoded text with a charset of ISO-8859-1 or UTF-8.

These posts are reviewed for false positives, which are resent to the list, before throwing the rest away.


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