Forum OpenACS Q&A: Arsdigita is done !!
been sold, will be broken into 2 companies, and all employees will be
laid off !!
If that is going to happen, does someone have a backup (or could get hold of one) of all the content of the bboards?
I found all the messages there to be very helpful in many cases.
I agree with Bruno, the most valuable thing to us is the AD bboard "web/db". IT was back in mid October that Jerry Asher asked:
So, what is the progress... Do we have a copy of the web/db bboard? All we would need is a copy of the bboard table and the users table (so the names would show up). The data could then be appended to the OpenACS forums as another forum (topic).
What about the basic TCL guide and the SQL guide and the book that started it all, PANDA?
Ok, I forgot to make this link show up for email readers:
What should OpenACS be doing for the day aD is gone?
Can you pl. tell us the size of the download you did?
I'm talking about ACS 4.x & 3.x, and related modules like jplot or ISPAI filter for IIS
Does somebody have it?
Anyone I could email them to for mirroring?
I can mirror any content that doesn't find a better home. Temporarily or permanently.
we could simply just copy the users and the bboard since the topics are allready there :)
actually we're still fixated on some other issues like site stability so I can't be to helpful and I can't imagine people would appreciate bad performance.
Allan, you mention that all the employees will be laid off!!!, that is bad news. I am really sad to hear this. Obviously, most of us are here, working with OpenACS (or ACS tcl) because -originally- of aD. Well, I really wish all the aD-ers all the best and hope that they will stick around in the OpenACS bboards and help us make this the best toolkit around [it's already the best for me, well, let's say to make it even better ;)].
Finally, we will mirror the books and the asj on our site. Before announcing this further I will ask for permission though.
Rumor is :
RedHat bought aD for their service devision and laid off all field offices.
They are also scrapping the java toolkit.
The company could change the licence back to GPL and release it under OpenACS Java 4.6 =), couldn't it...
Two weeks severence.
The execs got one month, plus most likely an undisclosed fiduciary settlement. I have heard that Shaheen, the CEO, err, whatever (he was bumped out of that job by Greylock) walked with a month's salary and $100K.
One real question is - what happens to the stock options and COBRA benefits of the people who were f**ked by aD slashing and burning in the past year? Many really, really good people are going to eating at soup kitchens.
Oh, and Philip Greenspun is buying an airplane with part of his $5MM buyout. That was after spending six months driving around the country in a Winnebago which he also bought.
A sidenote, I was submitting an abstract for a paper to the Space Dynamics Laboratory at USU for the Small Satellite Conference. As I went to the online registration page, I noticed the login looked famliar and sure enough, they are running some variant of ACS (I like to think OpenACS) so our numbers keep increasing :)
the USU machine belongs to Roberto. I think he's taken over the entire campus with openacs
Also why is the company responable for paying your bills(medical or otherwise)? You do not need full medical especialy if you are young and healthy. What they should get is a catastrophic policy, last time I checked they were around $100/month, and for the rest eat the occasional doctor bill.
I am sorry that it had to happen to them, it has happened to me and it sucks.
I will post a pdf of PAGTWP when I have time to track down a free site where I can dump a 7 meg file. <p>
All include any comments posted as of feb 6
Thanks for the compassionate response to mass layoffs, and for the update on healthcare in the US.
Let's stay focused on the subject here, which, as Brutus said, is to bury aD. Any political discourse regarding the spoiled mentality of the American educated laborer ought to be saved for more sociological forums. Like the ACS Java for Novices board over at aD.com.
Anyway, hope all the best for everyone there.. blame the venture capitalists and the desire to take aD out of the niche market into the enterprise space.
And perhaps I am just thick skined but when I have been layed off I always wanted work not compassion. Hell one time I asked the guy that layed me off if he knew anybody that was hiring, with in 5 min of him givving me the news.
And Talli why are you atacking me for off topic posting when the message I was responding to was worse then mine. It included some personal attacks against the person who started the whole ACS bandwagon, aka Philip Greenspun, for being bought out of a business that he thought was going to shit because of bad management, to settle his lawsuit. Is that ok?
Allen reposted something which mentioned COBRA benefits,
which are not paid for by the company, they are paid by the ex-
employee. Perhaps the soup kitchen remark obscured the rest
of the post, but I'm sure there are a number of former arsdigitans
_paying_ for COBRA benefits who are indeed wondering what
the status of their coverage is.
that being said, i'm glad you were able to prepare for a rainy day. however, there are some that have been laid off who have a family (which you may very well have) with children who become ill, or even worse have a serious illness, so in those cases it's MUCH MORE than $100 bucks plus change. especially in a place with a cost of living like Cambridge, MA.
paying into COBRA are probably wondering how this sale/
bankrupcy affects their coverage.
Talli, I was talking about the preimum not total out of pocket expences. The policy I was talking about makes sence for reasonably young and reasonably healthy people who are paying for this out of pocket. I said you may eat some medical bills but on average you should do ok and if you get catastrofic policies for 5 people at say 600/month versus 3-400/person-month or 15-2000/month it may make sence even with the occasional doctor bill thrown in. The whole idea is that if you or someone in your family gets realy sick then the insurance kicks in, an apendix goes bad for example or a bad fall on your property(no one to sue(sad to say aint it)), and it does not break you things just get tight. And I have lived in boston, nyc prices with out the saleries to go with it, for me anyway(85-90).
But it is a nice town and I realy used to enjoy walking/biking on the charles river and the 4th of July with the boston pops was also a great show.
Never mind the insurance; aD brought in a lot of talent in their heyday from abroad with H1B work visas. What happens to the non-citizens who get laid off? Will they be able to find another job that will be willing to sponsor an H1B in these shaky financial times, or face deportation by the INS?
If you're reading this .. you're friends at Catchball21 are sending me email trying
to get hold of you
Next, more to the topic, it looks like there have been rumours of AOL buying Red Hat or at least entering strategic alliances. Given the strong ACS / AOLServer connection, one might wonder if there is not some thinking to resurrect the TCL version as a drive by AOL to expand their services. This is all just conjecture on my part, but if RH is not interested in the java toolkit, what other "assets" does aD have other than furniture ? Things could get more interesting...
Why would they join you?
As a general rule, OpenACS has been downright rude and insulting to aD developers for the recent past, including many of the comments in this thread. If you want to kick people, go do it on slashdot or fc.
openacs.org have been completely condescending dorks?
developers. We are an open group with no censorship, which
means that much gets said on this discussion forum that
represents personal opinions.
It is certainly true that we have been frustrated at times with
certain things that ArsDigita has done, and I believe this was
with good reason. However, we have always worked to
collaborate with ArsDigita and to give ArsDigita credit for the
work they produced which enabled this project in the first place.
At the end of the day, we are part of an open-source
development community. We all take heat for our mistakes
(certainly Don and I have). We wanted aD to be part of this
community, which means getting recognized, but also taking
heat for *your* mistakes. That's part of the deal. I wish more
people could see the power in this somewhat ruthless
environment. I'm sorry that you've only been exposed to the heat,
and not to the accolades.
If you're willing to give us another chance as an individual
developer, we'd love to get more ArsDigita people involved. This
is an honest invitation.
easier to read. You never know what a "nice" person thinks about you.
Anyways, they will if they want to. Or they won't. No need to expend
much energy worrying about it.
By the way, have any of you heard of the observation that any thread that extends beyond a particular length will inevitably contains references to Naziism and Hitler? This is probably only true of flame wars, and so on, but if I recall correctly, this was an observation borne from USENET postings. I've been surprised how often it's been true.
Searching for both of these phrases on both OpenACS's bulletin board and web/db, both return exactly 0 results. Perhaps that's a sign that we're a little more civilized than we seem :)
Of course, the reference now having been made, this thread is over
ex-Ars Digitans would consider joining the community (or not) for
reasons other than good (or bad) feelings.
Open Source development communities exist to meet the needs
of their members. If you think that ACS 4.x Tcl was good, if you
think that at least some of the recent work the OpenACS team is
good and, above all, if you think that OpenACS 4.x will meet the
needs of you and/or your clients better than the existing
alternatives, then I hope you will seriously consider joining the
community. (Let's not forget that the vast majority of the code in
OpenACS 4.x was written by Ars Digita employees.)
Are some of the current community members jerks? Sure. Are
some Ars Digita employees jerks? Sure. However, if you ignore
the excess rhetorical heat that pops up on these boards from
time to time, I think you'll find that the community still largely
functions as a meritocracy. People who contribute good code
generally have more say in the project than people who don't,
regardless of the personalities.
So if you think OpenACS could be useful to you and you are
interested in contributing to the growth of the code base, please
try to ignore snyde remarks, put aside past differences, roll up
your sleeves, and join us.
There's still plenty to be done.
On the other hand, there are some ex-aDers that I hope don't join us, and I suspect that at least some of those ex-aDers who have joined us share those feelings.
I won't name names, sorry.
Red Hat could speed or open source the porting of ACS Java 5.0 to Red Hat Database (aka PostgreSQL). Perhaps they'll rubber stamp a Red Hat Database/ACS combination. I assume they'd wait for PostgreSQL 7.2, though.
- The discussion on F***edcompany.com
- Philip Greenspun says he hasn't been told about the purchase/layoffs
- Eve Andersson counters bitter comments on F***edcompany about her (see the main FC thread, above).
- The other Open ACS thread, covering thoughts on the naming of Open ACS and on aD Uni material preservation.
I am really intrigued what will happen to the ACS software assets... GPLed and supported or dropped entirely??
Slashdot has a very brief article on Ars Digita's shutdown. It's the first listed story on the front page currently, not many comments yet.
(In my previous comment, I meant "I assume they'd wait for Red Hat Database to include PostgreSQL 7.2, though.")
This makes me think that the client list is interesting to them, and also the ArsDigita brand. Which, if that's true, it's too bad they didn't buy last year. In my experience, the ACS brand has had almost all of it's nascent value squeezed out of it at this point. (For example, most of our clients are now more interested in what we can do for them with the technology that we use, rather than that we provide them "ACS" services.)
Well, it will be interesting. We put the f*cked company rumor printout in our ybos history file, it should be fun to pull out in a couple of years.
Strangely enough I got this today ... I don't know how long it has been out but:
nslookup - ns.nl.net > cvs.arsdigita.com Server: ns.nl.net Address: 188.8.131.52#53 Non-authoritative answer: *** Can't find cvs.arsdigita.com: No answer
aD was using Perforce for the ACS Java project.
The same for software.arsdigita.com and another several domains like cms.arsdigita.com
Another article popping up on the Internet here:
Has all the available content been downloaded? I've got about 20gb of space available to park some stuff if it's needed...
Hey, check this out! Post from email@example.com at /.:
We're still out here. The university itself closed its doors at the end of the academic year last July, and the alumni acted to save everything we could from the ashes. We run the aduni.org [aduni.org] site, as others have posted on this thread.
All of our content (80 GB worth) is available online -- about 275 hours of lectures, problem sets, exams, notes, and solutions -- with courses like Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs (the much-loved MIT Scheme intro to CS course), Discrete Math, Algorithms, Theory, AI, Databases, and a couple of courses in Software Engineering (one of which is taught by Greenspun).
But we're a shoestring alumni organization that can't afford the bandwidth to stream the videos very well, unfortunately. So as an alternative we'll ship an 80GB hard drive full of the stuff to anyone who wants one for $220. Everything's available under the Open Content License. E-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto]) for more details
Who has a spare 220 u$s to get one? I personally don't at this time but maybe for someone in Boston (I presume that they are located over there) this could be cheap!
The 80GB of stuff is in the form of RealPlayer streams, I think.
I would take whatever format it is in, and burn it to VCD's, which everyone can play, even on an old P200 with CDROM.
Why did Redhat do it?
one theory- they had *lots* of aeron chairs :)
I've heard back from Chris within a couple days each time I've emailed. You might try again. (Emails do get lost in transit...)
Look, if you want to start a flame war, go ahead and say it up front. Take responsibility for it. The aD-OpenACS flame wars were never passive aggressive, so now that aD no longer exists, let's not set a precedent.
I don't think anyone around here is happy that aD is no longer. And I don't think that anyone here ever said anything that was not said about us at aD. So the only difference is that our chat transcripts are public.
Anyway, all of these spats only involve the usual suspects. The fights should not reflect on the community as a whole, nor aD as a whole.
While I'd like to say that all this stuff should end, I've been guilty of baiting and flaming as well, here in addition to on the aD bboards. So, Kevin, you do have the right to post here, but this fighting is getting old.
I guess this is the third time I've responded to this thread trying to defend someone's (I don't know whose) honor. Oh well.
flame war, on
It's just not worth the effort to name names, Kevin. Why bother? It would be a waste of my time.
aD had some delightful people who were highly skilled software engineers, people deserving of a great deal of respect.
aD also had some incompetent pricks with altogether too high an opinion of themselves.
Big deal. It's history. Get over it.
Actually, I am.
They went closed-source on the technology and did the "idiot MBA" approach to everything - including the decision to use Java and try to be buzzword compliant! I have known altogether too many MBA's who ruined good companies.
The market has spoken - aD deserved to die, and it did. Anything of value was produced about 2 years ago.
Now the rest of us ACS'ers can get on with our lives and focus all the energy on OpenACS - with all the wood behind one arrow so to speak. Kind of like when you turn off the soap opera you are watching you can be more productive in your work.
can say that one happy footnote to the story is that the software
will live on through OpenACS, something that cannot be said for most
casualties of the dot-com implosion.
Good luck with the 4.2 release.
Actually, Patrick, what is a bit ironic is that it looks like aD was finally getting things right technically--from an anonymous comment on the Slashdot story about Eve Andersson's history of Ars Digita
There were several ArsDigita offices throughout the world when the company began to contract (or implode) in the last half of 2001. The office I worked in was staffed by some of the nicest, smartest, hardest-working people I have ever enjoyed coding with. We wrote unit tests. We pair-programmed. We refactored. We were starting to create something that looked credibly like commercial software.
I have been told that even source control and release management were considered "fashionable but not really useful" back in the TCL era at AD, and that ACS users were expected to grab a tarball and start hacking.
Remember when you were a wet-nosed little code monkey and thought that grinding out twenty functional points over a sleepless weekend meant that you were "productive?" Forget that the code was too slow and buggy to be released, or that it was so over-engineered that every programmer who had to add to it or use it squandered countless hours figuring out the architecture.
Slowly, if you learned at all, you discovered that all the boring stuff you disdained at first enabled you to actually bring products to market in a repeatable, cost-effective way. (Oh yeah, and no 80-hour weeks debugging, either).
ArsDigita was just beginning to learn these lessons and grow up into a real development organization when RedHat acquired it.(Here is the link if you want to see this as it first appeared)
One would do well to remember what the 'incompetent hacks' at 'arse digita' achieved in the early days:
* built software that solved real world problems
* built it for organisations who could pay them money
* were payed more money than they spent building the software
So who's the smart ones?
Most web sites on the USU Space Dynamics Lab run AOLserver and some version of the ACS. Right now we don't have any full-blown OpenACS installations because when I was hired 2 years ago (precisely to do AOLserver/ACS development), they already had a bunch of Oracle/SPARC licenses and they were happy with it (or they were forced to use it).
But since the events that took place at aD and classic ACS, we are moving everything to OpenACS as soon as we finish a couple projects that we've been working on (and that have kept me extremely busy).
It was funny to remember of when I applied for that job. I saw the post at the student job board here at USU and it said "knowledge of web servers, Tcl and Perl". I thought to myself "Tcl? I wonder if they use AOLserver." They sure did, and since I was probably one of 2 people on campus with AOLserver experience, I got the job
Nice to hearb about your paper for the Small Satellites Conference. They do a lot of space-related stuff up here. USU is (AFAIK) the university with more stuff on space in the world.