Forum OpenACS Q&A: Wondering about OpenACS community....
It's been a while since I have been active within the OpenACS community, but I'm about to embark on building a community website and am wondering whether OpenACS is a viable solution. I have been working over the past few days to install OpenACS, and on review of the documentation and the status of some of the packages, a number of them seem to be in an unknown state.
There is no doubt OpenACS has the feature set and maturity I'm looking for, but I'm interested to know how active the community is. As with many 'open source' projects, understanding the strength of the community is important in selecting a tool set where I'm sure I will occasionally need help to extend the functionality or resolve bugs.
Any/all feedback appreciated.
IRC channel and the forums are the places where you can usually talk with community members.
Checkout Ohloh for some statistics about the development of the OpenACS code base: http://www.ohloh.net/p/3877
About two years ago, we did a more detailed analysis of the OpenACS developer community, which was published as an article:
Neophytos Demetriou, Stefan Koch and Gustaf Neumann: The Development of the OpenACS Community, in: Miltiadis Lytra and Ambjörn Naeve (ed) , Open Source for Knowledge and Learning Management: Strategies Beyond Tools, Idea Group Publishing, 2006 (http://nm.wu-wien.ac.at/research/publications/b608.pdf)
Concerning the responsiveness of the community: we have in the community no people payed for customer support. There are for every community (and oct) member times with faster or slower response times. But even more important, the responsiveness depends on the types and concreteness of the questions asked.
Concerning bug fixes: the statistics in the bug tracker are somewhat misleading. More entries entered this year were actually fixed than there are still open. Most of the open bugs are from the huge array of optional OpenACS packages. No question, we could do better on that. Since many sites (we included) use OpenACS in mission critical systems since many years, i would be tempted to say that at least the core packages are free of mission critical bugs.
If you have specific questions or problems as you move forward, post here, or visit #openacs in IRC. You'll get answers, though not necessarily immediately. If you're curious as to how the community leadership teams (.LRN and OCT) function, feel free to lurk in IRC during meeting times (1700 GMT Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively).