Forum OpenACS Development: Response to Is ArsDigita forking the ACS?

Posted by Dan Wickstrom on
>>>>> "phil" == bboard   writes:

    phil> I think one of the reasons that Oli forwarded the above
    phil> message to OpenACS is that we (I'm from the same company)
    phil> are very seriously considering joining and contributing to
    phil> the OpenACS project, not just on a personal basis but as a
    phil> company policy. We've now delivered a couple of systems
    phil> using ACS code and would

More help is always welcome.

    phil> What I mean is, originally it looked as though OpenACS might
    phil> provide a viable community around a version 3.x of the ACS
    phil> (which we were looking for because our code is for
    phil> 3.x). More recently it seems that the OpenACS project is
    phil> commited to implementing ACS 4. From the questions I've been
    phil> reading here, and the slightly wistful answers Ben and other
    phil> have been giving, I get the impression that the OpenACS
    phil> community is not particularly happy with the way Ars Digita
    phil> are going - let's face it, it's just making extra work - but
    phil> don't feel any option but to trail along after it because

I can't speak for everybody, but I'm actually quite happy with the
direction that aD has taken with the acs 4.0 version.  They have
addressed a lot of the shortcomings of the 3.x series, and they have
actually added some features that make porting much simpler - take a
look at the new db api.  The new db api provides a common point for all db
queries which allows us to intercept and rewrite queries to conform to a
postgresql format.

    phil> a) AD don't care enough about OpenACS to give up the
    phil> benefits of closer Oracle integration to support them

They've actually made an effort to help us make the porting effort
easier.  aD has also been considering an interbase port, so it's in
their best interest to make it easier to use different databases.

    phil> So instead OpenACS is going to try to "emulate" the core of
    phil> ACS 4. But with all due respect, this seems like a game
    phil> OpenACS can't possibly win, playing catch-up with, not only
    phil> Ars Digita, but Oracle as well. 

I disagree.  Porting is much easier than development, and there are no
show-stoppers in the acs 4.0 code that prevent us from porting it to
postgresql.  Postgresql also has some object-oriented features which
make the implementation of objects much easier in postgresql than in oracle.

    phil> In other words, AD are symbiotically dependent on Oracle,
    phil> and will delegate as much to it as possible. Presumably,
    phil> whatever new services Oracle add will end up as part of the
    phil> ACS too. Great! But Oracle has no motive to make things
    phil> easier for an Open Source rival. They may even be able to
    phil> subtly "embrace and extend" the ACS.

If that were their strategy, they could just make acs closed-source -
end of story.

    phil> My aim here, though, is not to criticise AD, or even Oracle,
    phil> to but to start a discussion to guage how important the
    phil> OpenACS is within the larger community of ACS developers. Is
    phil> my characterization of the relationship between AD and
    phil> OpenACS correct or not? 

I don't think that you're seeing everything clearly.  For
the most part, acs 4.0 seems to be a huge improvement over the 3.x
series, and I think it's in our best interest to port this new version.