Forum OpenACS Q&A: Re: Reuse in the large is an unsolved problem !?

Posted by Frank Bergmann on

Malte wrote:

Out of curiosity, is there a policy on
having a standard footer in the forum postings?

The footer URL doesn't seem to work... :-) I just add the link for the people reading this thread. The pages aren't really indexed by Google. I even don't get the references when I do "ego surfing"... But you can try it in other forums.

However, I very much wonder about the purpose and intent of your previous comment. I really don't think that the "free riding" ethical misbehaviour applies in our case. I know that you have very detailed knowledge about our GPLed modules and our announcements of their availability. It is a different question why the community hasn't included them in OpenACS. You have had a detailed look yourself at the "Flexbase/DynField" SQL Metatadata system. It was you who decided in our meeting in Hamburg not to include it in OpenACS because of incompatibilities with AMS. That is perfectly reasonable and OK, but please don't blame it on us.

I also know that Quest Computing is sharing the experience of being "ignored" by the community in terms of code being incorporated in the platform. I asume that this is due to the different focus ("ERP" like applications vs. Online Community applications).

Here is the list of our GPLed modules and how to get them (please use: cvs -d checkout module-name for CVS access):

- OpenACS Windows Installer (GPL, source code included in the installer itself. There is a posting on OpenACS about how to compile the installer)
- Flexbase/DynField SQL Metadata system (GPL, module: intranet-dynfield. DynField is a modification of Flexbase, that has been developed at Quest Computing. Also, you can ask Ciaran De Buitlear from Quest for the original code)
- Automatic Software Updates CVS Frontend (code says proprietary, but we can GPL it if you want, intranet-update-client & intranet-update-server)
- PostgreSQL Efficient Intranet search with permissions (GPL, there is a posting on OpenACS explaining the underlying thoughts and architecture.)
- Hierarchical Menu System (GPL, part of the intranet-core module)
- "Plugin Components" GUI System (GPL, part of the intranet-core module)
- Category System with multiple inheritance (GPL, part of intranet-core)
- We were the first to organize a Spanish ACS bootcamp

Also, there are many new maintenance screens (permissions, parameters, menus, ...) as part of the GPLed intranet-core module that you could include.

On the other hand I admit that we have developed several innovative modules for OpenACS that we haven't GPLed for several reasons. These modules include our financial system, a reporting system and the sector specific code for translation and consulting companies. However, I have announced and explained this decision before we actually started developing the modules and I have got positive feedback from the community in general. Maybe this perception is changing?

However, I asume this thread is about why OpenACS is loosing important developers and I am not sure whether the "free riding" problem is at the core of this issue.

Where I do see important need for action to "save" the OpenACS community is the Windows installer and the right branding of OpenACS.

Concerning the installer, we have been contacted by Nima and Rocael. So I asume that this area is progressing. However, it seems as if the community is not very keen to collaborate with us. Instead, e-Lane seems to try to build a separate/ branched installer. That is OK for us, but a bit surprising. I think I have stressed several times the technical and organizational complexity of creating and maintaining a Windows installer, but maybe I haven't expressed myself sufficiently dramatically about the hassle and the suffering that the Windows environment can inflicts on you. The problem is that the job is extremely unpleaseant and that any (sane) developer will run away from it if he or she can. For this reason the Windows installer development is very difficult to manage and only viable with a fixed employee whom you can "force" to work on it...

Concerning branding: We have made experiences with PR and have had some success with it, particularly in our core sector of translation/ localization project management systems. We are perfectly willing to share this experience with the community.

Let's get out of the "niche" existence!

Posted by Eric Wolfram on
Malte wrote:
Out of curiosity, is there a policy on
having a standard footer in the forum postings?
>Fank B Wrote
>for the people reading this thread. The pages
>aren't really indexed by Google. I even don't get the
>references when I do "ego surfing"... But you can try it in
>other forums.

For the record, Google has almost 1.8 million pages in the index:

That's a LOT of documentation :-)

If you want ego surfing, 466 of those pages have Frank Bergmann on them:

Only 15 or so have the url -- not bad.

Does it help your google score? It can't hurt. Does it help your site appear higher in search engine result pages? For certain keyphrases, sometimes, yes. Does it hurt Probably not. Does it bug me? Not at all, I like the option of seeing other openacs people's sites.

As for Lars and the reuse in the large apology: Maybe rewriting applications works for him and the other great programmers here, I do see the point, the added complexity of openacs is often unnecessary, but plebeian programmers like me who rely on the shoulders of giants unfortunately don't have the option of writing whichever applications we dream up, as needed, as if we were Philip Greenspun on a mission. We, thankfully, like the "community in a box" idea and properly discourage clients from their (often un-needed) customizing. :-)

Rails is a bunch of procs. Maybe one day in the future someone will aspire to use Rail to to make a united multi-user multi-groups "community in a box" application suite that approaches what openacs is today -- but that day is not today and it might never happen.

And at some level, doesn't reuse in the large have to occur? I mean, even Rails is on linux or some database that IS reused programming?