A couple of other reasons to supplement Danny's reply:

-- Because they're easy to use at one level, and they're the lowest common denominator. Everyone (well, nearly) has an email account, and can read and respond to mailing lists. We have some contributors who still live over part-time dial-up accounts - making browsing fancy web forums a pain. But email's easy to send.

-- Because it stores a record of the decisions the community makes. Having this history in archives is invaluable, especially one that doesn't change (like most wiki's do). The best kind of Apache project isn't about the latest code or the coolest programmer - it's about a collaborative community that works together - even when some people leave, there's enough of a community to continue the project.

-- Because it's the "Apache Way". Not that we have this written down anywhere in an agreed fashion, but both due to tradition, ease of use, and board mandate, mailing lists are the official way to conduct most business on any Apache project (and there are many more besides jakarta).

It's not really a technical question - it's more an organizational and community question. 8-)

- Shane

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