mailinglist to newsgroup wrapper

5 feb 2014


normally one would use a email client to access mailing lists (like [1] for instance). doing so has many pitfalls like:

  • you mix your inbox with the mailinglist
  • you might fix this with maintaining sieve or .procmailrc filters
  • you can’t access emails on the list which where written before you registered and have to rely to parallel use of email client and for instance the gmane webservice [4] to access all other email threads.
  • creating powerful filters is tricky and time consuming if you are on several lists

however, using a news reader client like thunderbird and the gmane news group you no longer have to do that!

why am i writing this? as it turns out nobody knows about this feature and i wanted to spread this knowlege further!

how to read mailinglists with a news reader

i’ve been reading mailinglist like forever but at the last nixos hacker sprint someone mentioned a very unique and handy way to read most mailinglists on the web using gmane.

let’s see how this works. to use the gmane [2] interface to access mailinglists using thunderbird [3] or virtually and news reader client follow the guide at [3].

  • the gmane news group address is:
  • once you added a news group account into thunderbird you can sign up to several mailing lists using a context menu.

(picture above: shows the ml)

(picture above: shows the import dialog when selecting mailing lists to subscribe to)

(picture above: shows that there are too many mailinglists for one human being to be read in a lifetime ;-)

(picture above: shows the webinterface which is parsed by google so that you can find mailing list entries in searches)


i absolutely love it!


  • very easy to use
  • you can access all messages’ subjects (when you downloaded all of them, default is 500 only). thus you can do fulltext searches on subjects using the ‘quick filter’ from thunderbird
  • you don’t have to setup any mailinglist filters like ^List-ID stuff
  • all your mails to the list are stored in the ‘local folder’ of thunderbird. so if a mail to a mailinglist was denied you don’t have to write it from scratch but change the one you had written already


  • the first mail to a mailinglist will register you to the list first which means that you are only subscribed after writing the first mail to the list
  • thunderbird’s layout isn’t optimal for reading the messages, especially if the messages have a lot of meta-data like big subjects
  • all mailinglists need to be subscribed to gmane’s bot
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