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From Daniel Gruno <>
Subject [PROPOSAL] Pony Mail
Date Thu, 19 May 2016 18:55:43 GMT
Hi again folks,
I would formally like to open up a discussion on the following proposal
for the Apache Incubator:

Pretty version can be found at:

text-only version follows:


Pony Mail is a mail-archiving, archive viewing, and interaction service,
that can be integrated with many email platforms.



Pony Mail began as a response to two things; the lack of diversity in
mailing list archives that are less bureaucratic all-or-nothing and more
fluid way to interact with mailing lists than what is typically offered,
and the lack of a performant system that solves this issue. Modern users
of software want to jump right into a discussion they see, but cannot
normally do so in a mailing list driven environment because of the rules
generally surrounding said environment. Pony Mail, along with a select
handful of newer archive systems, provides an interface that allows
people to just hop into a thread, and take part. Without the need to
subscribe, download the mbox archive, load it into your MTA, and

As Rich writes in a very short essay:

You see a thread in which someone is WRONG ON THE INTERNET! You need to
correct them. How do you do this today? You kinda don't. If you really
wanted, you could download mbox files (and who the hell knows where they
are?) and then try to get them into your mail client (which never works)
and then reply to it. Which will break threading, because you did
something wrong. Then you tear out your hair. PONY MAIL TO THE RESCUE!!!
(sound of hoof beats)


One of the oft-heard complaints about Apache's development model is that
mailing lists are an old person's tool, and web-based communication -
forums - are the way to go in the 21st Century. Providing a
full-featured forum-like interface to mailing lists is one goal,while
keeping all of the enormous benefits that mailing lists already provide.
Asecond goal is to provide the ability to "jump in" to a mailing list
conversation - even one that was a while back, without the convolutions
that a mailing list requires. That is, to join this conversation the old
way, one would have had to subscribe to the mailing list, download an
mbox, and import it into ones mail client, in order that I be able to
reply to this message with correct threading. With Pony Mail, one has to
do none of those things, but can simply reply using the Web UI. To us,
this is a HUGE benefit for building community. The requirement to jump
through hoops to join a mailing list conversation drives away a lot of
people (at least, anecdotally, it does) and if we can remove that
barrier I think we'll have an easier time of drawing a new generation
into our projects.

Initial Goals

The initial goals of transitioning to the ASF is to expand and grow both
the Pony codebase and community, and ensure the project's continued
growth and stability through forming a diverse and reliable community,
in which the various facets of developers and contributors help keep the
project up to date with latest developments and technical as well as
social needs.

Current Status


The bulk of the code has been written by Daniel Gruno to date, but has
had oversight from other committers, and mentors.

    All members of the Pony project and wider community have a deep
    understanding and appreciation for the ASF meritocracy ideals, and
    are almost solely current ASF Members.

        The community is currently heavily focused within the ASF, and
        more specifically the Infrastructure group. This is to be
        expected given the nature of how the code came into existence in
        the first place. It should be noted that we have started
        reaching out to other groups who we know are using mailing list
        systems and therefore also rely on mailing list archive

    Core Developers:
        Almost all core developers are ASF members, and are already
        intimately familiar with the Apache Way.

        Pony will be very in line with ASF practices and processes as
        many of the founding members are long term ASF members and

Known Risks

    Orphaned products:

        We are not aware of any issues with orphaned products related to
        this project. Pony Mail relies on a set of CSS3 templates as
        well as some very stable programming languages. We have no
        reason to believe these would be orphaned or, should they become
        orphaned, that it would impact the development of the project.

    Inexperience with Open Source:
        Most of the current committers are already ASF members and
        committers, we do not believe there to be any concerns around
        OSS inexperience.

    Homogenous Developers:
        While the current mix of people involved in the project spans
        several continents with a wide variety of skills and experience,
        a long standing relation with the ASF applies to all committers
        (even the non-ASF people in this proposal are intimately
        familiar with the ASF), and we believe there to be a very
        homogeneous culture in terms of development, IP and release

    Reliance on Salaried Developers:
        While two of the committers in this project are salaried
        developers with regards to Pony, the project was founded outside
        of corporate interests, and is primarily driven by people either
        working for or with ties to non-profit organisations. We see no
        issues regarding possible strong-arming or otherwise skewing
        project focus, nor do we believe that absence of salaries would
        deter people from committing to this project.

    Relationships with Other Apache Products:
        Pony Mail uses at least Apache HTTPd with mod_lua as its
        end-user facing delivery mechanism. Many of the commiters are
        also involved with this PMC.

        Pony also utilises ElasticSearch which is based on Lucene.


    Documentation will initially be in the source tree, and be part of
    the initial code inclusion.

Initial Source

    The initial source was written under the Apache License v/2.0 from
    the beginning, and is available at:

Source and Intellectual Property Submission Plan

    We know of no legal encumberments in the way of transfer of source
    to Apache. Portions of the software (sans dependencies) is already
    owned by the ASF, other portions privately, but it will be granted
    to the ASF in its entirety.

External Dependencies:

    ElasticSearch backend (Apache License v/2.0)
    Apache HTTP Server front-end with mod_lua loaded (Apache License
v/2.0 for httpd, MIT for Lua)
    Python 3.x for importing/archiving (PSF License)
    Lua 5.1 or 5.2 + lua-cjson (MIT License, lua-cjson is optional)
    Bootstrap/JQuery (MIT License)

    Pony employs no cryptography other than what TLS-enabled web sites
    served by HTTPd might use.

Required Resources:

    Mailing lists: It would be rude not too, given this project should
archive them.

    Subversion Directory: Nope

    Git Repositories:
        - incubator-ponymail.git - incubator-ponymail-site.git

    Issue Tracking: JIRA or GitHub Issues

    Other Resources: Dev stack, PoC Stack, HipChat Channel

Initial Committers

    - Daniel Gruno < >
    - Tony Stevenson < >
    - Richard Bowen < >
    - Ulises Beresi < >
    - David P Kendal < >
    - Francesco Chicchiriccò - < >


    Daniel Gruno - Quenda IvS
    Tony Stevenson - pctony ltd, VocalIQ Ltd
    Richard Bowen - Redhat, inc.
    Ulises Beresi - Datastax, inc.
    David P Kendal - Quenda IvS
    Francesco Chicchiriccò - Tirasa S.r.l.


    Champion: Suneel Marthi < >

    Nominated Mentors:
        Andrew Bayer < >

    Sponsoring Entity:
        The Apache Software Foundation

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