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RFC Title Author Status Type
Mailing List Migration
Julian C. Dunn <>

Migration Status - Complete

This RFC was accepted and the work proposed herein has been completed. The mailing list was cutover from to on 13 October 2015.

The details below are being maintained to provide insight on motivation for the switch and for other historical purposes.

Mailing List Migration

This RFC proposes the migration of all existing Chef mailing lists (namely, {chef,chef-dev} to Discourse. Discourse is a modern web application for discussion forums that can also be used like a mailing list with subscriptions and mail-in responses and posts.


As a user of Chef,
I want the Chef mailing lists on a reliable and easy-to-use platform,
So that I can easily collaborate with others in the community.

As a system administrator working at Chef Software, Inc.,
I want to retire the old mailing list system & not manage one in-house,
So that I can focus my attention on higher-priority infrastructure issues.


This RFC proposes to migrate the existing Sympa-run mailing lists at to Discourse.

There are only two mailing lists of note: chef and chef-dev. The desired group names would be the same, but if chef is already taken, we propose that the new group name become chef-users.

Subscriber Migration

All existing subscribers on the current mailing list(s) would be migrated to their counterparts on Discourse.

Archive Migration

Chef Software, Inc. will make a reasonable attempt to migrate the archives of each of these mailing lists out of Sympa, potentially using a tool like sympa-data-exporter and into Discourse.

However, we recognize that this may not be feasible. If it is not, we will simply create a static HTML site of the old Sympa archives and publish that.


The existing mailing list system at, Sympa, is very old and fragile. Additionally, it is not a delightful experience for end-users of Chef, who must navigate a non-intuitive interface to subscribe to, unsubscribe from, and view the archives of the Chef user and developer mailing lists.

There have been previous efforts dating to 2012 to try and migrate off Sympa, but none have succeeded thus far.

In February, 2015, we attempted a move to Google Groups. This failed because we immediately exceeded the allowable number of messages for our group. Our group is tied to our business google apps account which should have the limit increased in April of 2015 but there's no guarantee that the system will then support our group. It's best not to proceed with Google Groups.


This work is in the public domain. In jurisdictions that do not allow for this, this work is available under CC0. To the extent possible under law, the person who associated CC0 with this work has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to this work.