Gmane Alive!

A few weeks back, a DDoS was the final straw that broke this Gmane camel’s back, and I took my marbles (as they were) and went home.

I mean, I shut down the web interface of

But now it’s back, and under new management: Yomura Corporation.  Not all things are up yet, but it’s getting there, and looks rather nice.  I mean, it looks kinda like the old site, and nothing’s better than that!  Surely!  Here’s an example article.

Thanks very very much to Martin and Mark for setting this up, and I’m sure they’ll can respond to things on their blog.  And also thanks to everybody else who offered to take over Gmane.

Gmane has been archiving mailing lists as usual during the web interface holiday, and those articles aren’t available on the new web interface yet, but that will be fixed after a while.

And while I have all yourn attention, I want to write an apology:

While the DDoS was the trigger here for me to abandon Gmane, it’s been brewing for a while, and I could have handled the whole situation better. I started Gmane in 2002, and I spent a lot of time on it the first few years. But the last five years or so just haven’t been fun. I’ve done virtually no new programming on the site in that period, and that is, after all, the fun part.

In addition to the death threats and the people who want to sue me, etc, it’s also been a constant low-level source of anxiety. Oh, there goes a server… let’s build a new one… oh, now the RAID array is growing full, let’s buy more disks…

So I should have gotten rid of Gmane years ago. I mean: Found someone else to take it over in an orderly fashion, instead of this panic attack.

The reason I didn’t is probably partly because I didn’t think anybody would (and especially not the NNTP bits, but I was completely wrong), but also because I just didn’t want to let go. I still have ideas for what I wanted Gmane to be, but I didn’t have the time… or really, I always have time. I mean, it’s all choices. I could have written a new Gmane web interface instead of watching a few movies, couldn’t I?

And there was always some fun bits about Gmane. I could regale people in bars with drunken stories about being sued in India, for instance. Not many people I know can!

And the thing is, most people in the world are great people, and I wanted to provide this service to these people. I know I kvetch a lot, but less than one in a hundred Gmane-related interactions were in any way negative.

The reaction after I announced these problems are typical, really. Lots and lots of nice people:

One asshole:

And here I am giving that one asshole almost as much attention as I do all those lovely people, but that is unfortunately how my brain works at this point. I think I’ve been somewhat worn down over the years…

But before I end this announcement, I forgot to mention the people who’ve helped run bits of Gmane. While have been doing all the sysadmining and the programming on the main site, in the beginning there were quite a few who helped out with approving subscriptions and handling spam and stuff, and I can’t mention everybody.

But I’ll give a shout out to the people who’ve done stuff until the very end: Olly Betts, who ran the search engine that Gmane used after the one I wrote proved not to scale well enough. Adam Sjøgren, who did the day-to-day mailing list approval thing almost single-handedly for years and years. And Steinar Bang, who handled spam reports for many years.

Thank you, thank you.

13 thoughts on “Gmane Alive!”

  1. Hi,

    I’m happy to see gmane come back, thanks for that.

    As for the “apology” part – don’t apologize for not wanting to let go of your baby 🙂 – I’ve done quite a bit of open source and community work in the past, and recognizing that most of the fun part has left, and maintenance is becoming a burden and making yourself unhappy is not always easy. And even if you recognize it, deciding that “NOW! is the time to let go!” is still never easy.

    So: again, thanks for building this, running it for such a long time (14 years on the Internet, that’s about 100 years of normal time…), and for handing it over so a new generation of volunteers can now help make the Internet better.


  2. I am pleased to read this. Not handling Gmane over earlier may have been a mistake but surely no one is guilty of that. Retrospectively one can always be a smartass … but in the concrete situation one has much less information. Plus the emotional constraints. I’ve experienced this myself. I wish you more quality time in the future!

  3. Happy to have helped.

    How can you not respond to a posting seeking people with good taste?

    A tip for people with projects that want a helping hand…

  4. a big thank you for keeping gmane up all these years, and another one for handing it over gracefully (if a bit too late for your own sake) when it was not possible for you to continue anymore.
    Looking at what they throw in it, it seems clear that the transition will be a success. I hope that it will also endure in the long run, but that seems on the right track too.
    Anyway, thanks again 🙂

  5. Are Yomura Holdings still working on getting Gmane back its former glory? Their blog for gmane was last updated in September 2016 and it has only three postings. I’m happy that the NNTP interface is still chugging along, but it’s disappointing to see that the web interface (especially searching) seems not to have made any progress, especially given several people credibly offered to take over managing the site.

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