Perhaps the longest of longstanding LWN reader requests is the provision of
archive links for messages we quote from the mailing lists. This has been
a hard request to satisfy, for a couple of reasons. One is that we have
learned, the hard way, that it is best to host a copy of the message
ourselves. Web archives can go away or reorganize and break links; then we
get a lot of mail about non-functioning links on LWN. The other, larger
reason, though, has always been a simple matter of time. Producing the LWN
Kernel Page requires reading through a few dozen lists, some of which have
a lot of traffic. Reading those lists through a web archive - or even just
finding links to quotes messages - would slow down the process and result
in less content being written. That has not been a tradeoff we have been
willing to make.
But we never forgot the request. Of course, it helps that certain readers
regularly remind us... Starting this week, we have a tentative solution.
The Gmane archive makes it easy to read
through archived lists and create URLs to them. Thanks to a bit of script
hacking, many of the quoted messaged linked to in this page now have an
Archive-link header pointing to the Gmane version of the message,
and to Gmane's thread view as well.
This feature should be considered experimental for now; whether it is
retained depends on whether readers find it useful, and whether Gmane
proves to be sufficiently reliable over time. We're curious to hear
whether these links are worthwhile. With luck, an ancient item can now be
scratched off the "to do" list.
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