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The Roles and Responsibilities document describes the general role of a committer on an incubating project. This page provides links to more information to help new committers get started.

Mailing Lists

Everything — but everything-- inside the Apache world occurs or is reflected in email. As some people say, 'If it isn’t in my email, it didn’t happen.' Decisions only get made on public Apache mail lists — not anywhere off list, such as IRC, IM, or private emails. Each project has a set of lists, which are typically called dev@project, user@project, and commits@project. A few Apache-wide lists cross all boundaries, including:

  • committers: sends important messages to all Apache committers; it’s not used for discussions;

  • community: where all Apache committers can discuss things that are about Apache;

  • infrastructure: where the roots and the infrastructure team discuss and work on the Apache infrastructure needs;

  • legal-discuss: where Apache committers can ask questions that have a legal aspect;

  • repository: discussions about the Apache artifact repository;

  • party: where people plan how to have fun. :-)

Action items for committers include:

  • Become familiar with Apache developer Tips for email contributors.

  • Subscribe to the user, dev, and commits lists for your project.

  • Become aware of what else is going on in the Incubator by subscribing to the Incubator’s general list.

  • Become aware of what else is going on at the ASF by subscribing to the community, infrastructure, and legal-discuss Apache-wide lists.

Apache also has private lists. For example, your project will probably have a private mail list named, which your Podling PMC will use for sensitive discussions. Never mix public and private mail lists in the same post — see the section titled Balancing confidentiality and public discussion in How it Works. For example, never include both your dev and private lists in the same post. Posting to the dev list is sufficient because each member of your Podling PMC will also be on that list.

Project Web Site

The Incubator Podling Websites guide documents how to get your project web site going.

Committer Resources

Be proactive about responding to infrastructure issues on your project mailing lists. Does the web server seem to be down? Is Jira or Subversion down? Check the status of servers and explain the reason to your project lists (as you can see, no need to alert the ASF infrastructure people).

Podling PMC (PPMC)

If you are a member of your PPMC, become familiar with the Incubation Policy and see the Podling PMC Guide.

Orientating New Committers: Understanding Apache

When a committer is elected by a typical top level project, the nominator and other PMC members educate the new committer about Apache. In the Incubator, this inductive must be performed by the Mentors. This process is one of the most important for the long term health of a project.

Apache works on the principle that discussions should happen on the most open forum available. Unless the matter involves a sensitive matter (such as security or personal issues), it should be raised on an open mailing list (typically the podling dev list or the incubator general list). Use of the incubator private list should be reserved for official notifications and sensitive topics.

Mentors need to take care. During the initial bootstrapping a habit may develop of emailing private list. It is important to break this habit as soon as the mailing lists are available.

Netiquette about the correct use of cc's may also be difficult to effectively impart. During the bootstrap process there are a number of occasions where cc's are required. The typical usage is to copy in a private listing to indicate that the action has the lazy permission of the committee. cc's are very commonly used to create inefficient ad-hoc mailing lists in the commercial world. Except for a small number of defined processes, cc's are frowned upon at Apache. Mentor need to encourage questions to be asked first on the public lists of the project then raised (if necessary) to the general incubator list.


If you have any questions, please ask on the Incubator’s general mail list. Don’t forget to check the information at: