Forum OpenACS Q&A: Vote for the Goat!

Posted by Simon at TCB on
Friends, Romans, Countrymen...

Hi all. As most of you are probably already aware, the AOLServer community is about to re-organise itself along similar lines tothe way the TCL community is run. This essentially involves appointing a 7 strong team who will manage/decide/vote on the evolution of AOLServer. 3 of these will be from AOL itself, the remaining 4 from the community.

I think everyone's pretty happy to see this happen, and to see AOL being more inclusive and pro-active in engaging the community (this has been lacking in the past).

I guess you all probably know that OpenACS is the biggest significant other that uses AOLServer (in terms of an OS community/project).

I personally feel, and I hope I can persuade many of you also, that having representation from the OACS community on the AOLServer team would be a good thing. A highly, *mutually* beneficial thing. And that closer relations between the two is an admirable goal.

There's also no disguising the fact that having some control over AOLServer is also boon for OpenACS in the future, in terms of seeing some of things we'd like, happen.

So what's the pitch?

At the moment (and the vote is in the next few days) I appear to be the only OpenACS community bod who's put themselves forward for this.

This is a shame, but also possibly a benefit. I would therefore like to quite shamelessly, and openly, ask each of you who are members of both communities, to put your vote my way :o)

Why vote for me? well, unfortunately I'm the only OACS'er put forward. I know thats not much of a choice, but thats the way it is. I realise I don't see eye-to-eye with everyone here, but I'd like to think no-one would doubt my commitment.

We need representation on AOLServer, we need a voice,and we need someone who's up for it. There will be representation enough from the TCL/AOL community already and it would be really unfortunate were we to miss this opportunity to become involved.

I would also like to add that if we do get representation on that team, I would like to see this as a figurehead role, i.e. I could feedback to, get the general feelings of and the represent the OpenACS community. We might even consider our own internal voting/decision making scheme were that desirable.

And if none of this interests you particularly, or you don't mind who ends up on the team... Can I have your vote anyway? ;o)

Anyway, thanks for suffering the politics, and I hope I've been able to persuade you to consider voting for me.

Simon 'the gerrymanderer' Millward ;o)

2: Re: Vote for the Goat! (response to 1)
Posted by David Siktberg on
Thanks for being willing to take on the time commitment this will involve!  I agree it would be good / wise for OpenACS to have a representative on the new team.

For those like me that have no idea who you are, what you do, your technology background etc., how about a mini bio?

Thanks again!

3: Re: Vote for the Goat! (response to 1)
Posted by Roberto Mello on

Other members of the OpenACS community have thought about going into the AOLserver core team (ACT). I was nominated to be on the ACT, but declined to go forward (will explain why in a second). Dan Wickstrom was nominated as well, but (understandably) declined because he has already gotten too much on his plate (nsjava, openfts and related utilities, dotLRN TAB, family, etc.)

Like Simon, I originally thought OpenACS needed someone in the ACT. I have changed my mind after an e-mail exchange I had with Dan Wickstrom. While that wouldn't hurt, I don't think it's a necessity. The other candidates to the ACT are keen of OpenACS, especially Scott Goodwin, and most importantly, have shown to be good listeners and leaders.

I declined going forth with trying to get into the ACT because right now I simply don't think that, at the moment, I have what the experience required for such an undertaking. Those in the ACT need to be intimately familiar with AOLserver and/or Tcl C internals. They will receive patches and feature requests from the community and will need to evaluate and rank them for inclusion into the server or not.

AOLserver is a remarkable piece of software, but it only is so because of the few good minds behind it. The ACT will help to make sure it only improves.

4: Re: Vote for the Goat! (response to 1)
Posted by Dave Bauer on
I agree with Roberto. Let's make sure that whoever volunteers for this position has the time to devote to the effort.

I am confident that AOL has already shown that they can work with the community. Everyone is aware that OpenACS is probably the biggest user of AOLserver outside of AOL. So I am confident that whoever is on the core team will support OpenACS.

There are other ways to contribute to AOLserver and stay involved with it without being on the core team.

There are weekely chats and this week one of the main topics was getting the ad13 patches into AOLserver. So as long as members of the OpenACS community remain active in the AOLserver community, that will be enough.

Posted by Tom Jackson on

As Simon has pointed out, it is time to vote. Below is the full list of Nominees with their bios. To vote, list your four choices and send them to Nathan Folkman before this Wednesday!

The AOLserver Team has decided to set up the AOLserver Core Team (ACT) which will act as the main decision making body for the AOLserver Open Source project going forward. The ACT will be made up of 4 community members, and 3 from here at AOL. Each ACT member will serve a term of one year, after which time we'll do this all over again. 😉

The voting process will be very simple. Everyone who is interested in voting should send me ( an email with their top 4 picks. You are only allowed to vote once for any particular person. I will then tally the votes and announce the 4 community core team members, along with the 3 that have been chosen here at AOL. Everyone is eligible to vote. The "polls" will be open until next Wednesday, Nov. 20. The results will be announced at the next AOLserver chat, that following Thursday.

Below is some information about each of the nominees who has indicated an interest in being a member of the ACT:

  • Dossy Shiobara
  • Jeff Hobbs
  • Scott Goodwin
  • Simon Millward
  • Zoran Vasiljevic
  • Tom Jackson

    Look forward to receiving everyone's votes!

    - Nathan

    Dossy Shiobara

    I started working with AOLserver back in 1999--2000, when it was first released as open source under the 3.0 release.

    I've since developed two database drivers (nsmysql and nsfreetds) and the beginnings of a session manager as well as an initial implementation of WebDAV extensions for AOLserver in pure Tcl.

    I also worked to package up the Win32 binary distribution of AOLserver 3.4. I plan to continue to work with the AOLserver community to ensure that Win32 support continues to be available in some form for AOLserver into the future.

    I now have AOLserver instances in production, the most significant of which is receiving more than 300K page views a day to a single instance. I now have a vested commercial interest in AOLserver development and continued enhancement.

    Outside of AOLserver development, I've worked in Tcl since 1998, primarily with Vignette's application servers, and have been working in web technologies since 1994. My programming background spans C, Perl, Tcl, Ruby as well as other languages. I've also helped implement Extreme Programming as the software development methodology in my current organization to help improve the software we build here.

    I believe I would make a good addition to the AOLserver Core Team because I will work towards ensuring that AOLserver remains a high-quality and reliable platform for application development. This means being sensitive to the community's desires while being aware of the impacts of the changes to the core software.

    Jeff Hobbs

    Jeff is the Core Release Manager for the Tcl language. He has maintained the TK Usage FAQ since 1996 and is a program committee member for the USENIX Tcl/Tk Conference. Jeff comes to ActiveState from Scriptics, where he was a Tcl Ambassador, responsible for communications liaison between Scriptics and the Tcl community and managing development of the Tcl core. Previously Jeff was also a software engineer at both Siemens AG and CADIX International. At ActiveState, Jeff is the tech lead for Tcl technologies.

    Jeff is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery, the Internet Society and USENIX. He holds a B.A. in Computer and Information Sciences and an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Oregon.

    Scott Goodwin

    I have been involved with the AOLserver community since 2000. Since that time I have built and continue to maintain the nsopenssl module as a replacement for nsssl, adding outgoing SSL connections and a C and Tcl API. I have supported users of nsopenssl in figuring out problems and fixing bugs they've found. I've also documented nsopenssl fairly well at

    I updated the AOLserver 4.x nsv commands to use Tcl objects, have fixed bugs in the core, and have contributed to the managing of SourceForge, importing modules into AOLserver's SourceForge area and help ing maintain some of them, including nsexpat, nsxml, and nsldap.

    I have been vocal about AOLserver from the beginning, have worked both quietly and on the discussion list to bring about an AOL / Community relationship that is positive, focused and beneficial. I am committed to the AOLserver project and the community. I have a long-term vision of what AOLserver with modules can become, and all of it is good :)

    Simon Millward

    I feel that the core team definitely needs an OpenACS oriented member. The two projects have a lot in common and can be of great benefit to each other. I'm not aware of a larger community outside of AOLServer itself that makes such extensive use of AOLServer. As OpenACS is also inherently intertwined with AOLServer (it just couldn't work with anything else) that means the OpenACS community is in for the long term. I don't think the relationship has been close enough in the past, and I personally want to see that change.

    So why me? Well, I have extensive experience with TCL. My entire career has been based around it (>10 years). AOLServer is my companies prime product-of-choice and therefore again we have the relevant experience. And I *want* to do it ;o)

    But I think the most salient reason is commitment and demonstrable effort. I currently head up the Quality Assurance and Testing effort for the OpenACS community (all previous 4.x releases) and I will also soon be taking on the dotLRN QA effort as well (dotLRN is the first vertical application/project built on OpenACS4).

    As you will see if you visit the community, or ask any of the other gatekeepers, if I commit to something it gets my full attention. We have achieved a *huge* amount in terms of QA for OpenACS. We have taken this effort from nothing, with a code base littered with untested and unproved code, to a point where we have proper plans, teams, regression exercises and acceptance test servers for collaborative testing, evaluation and result recording. And its growing... I'm not finished yet!

    I have a great deal of commercial experience with both AOLServer and OpenACS and also have some very significant contacts in major corporations in the UK. This means I'm also an excellent channel to the industry and can act in a fairly evangelical way when it comes to AOLServer.

    My company has even turned AOLServer to new pastures. It now functions a a fully fledged GSM content server and our SMSBroker extensions allow it to handle high volume SMS/Text Message applications. We have even won an award in the UK for innovation, for a mobile application built on AOLServer. (have you used out SMS Broker yet??)

    I'd love to be involved. You'd get *real* commitment, you'd get the backing and support of my company, to whatever degree I am able to allocate such resources and funds but most importantly you'd get a team member who is absolutely dedicated to the continued success of AOLServer as an open source effort.

    I'm sure, if you wanted validation from the OpenACS community, you'd get it. I have cc'ed in some dignitaries from there who (I think) would back my case. (But please feel free to disagree if you do folks ;).. I may not be the most popular member of that community, but I'd defy anyone to question my commitment :o)

    I also have two colleagues who would support my efforts here, Jon Pike and Peter Harper, both of whom can bring a great deal of experience and commitment to the table.

    Plus, being in the UK would help give the project more European exposure, which I personally think it needs.

    Zoran Vasiljevic

    I'm 41 years old and have about 25 years exp. in SW-development. I currently work for Archiware, which is a company building backup and archive system using AOLserver as the general purpose application server (not necessarily only as web server). I have about 10 years experience in Tcl internals.

    Have been working with NaviServer at those pre-apache days (cern and ncsa, if you remember) and am actively working with the AOLserver as from the 3.0 version. I'm currently involved in several Tcl projects (tdom, a fast dom/xslt processor for Tcl, Tcl threading extension, which I'm maintaining, and XOTcl, where I'm looking after the AOLserver compatibility). I have good C and Tcl/AOLserver internals knowledge and been lately involved in solving some MT-stability and memory-related issues in the AOLserver code.

    Oh, yes, I'm from Munich, Germany; Oktoberfest and so...

    Tom Jackson

    Using AOLserver since before 2.3.3.

    Using ACS and OpenACS since those projects began.

    Active member of web/db forum until OpenACS took over as the community voice.

    Active member of OpenACS community since March 13, 2000, with 360 postings, not all literate.

    Developed AOLserver Tcl modules:
    tclvhr -- tcl based proxy
    VAT -- virtual host abstract url templating module, predating the ACS request processor. Still works great.

    Developed AOLserver C modules:
    ns_ldap -- wrapper for ldap client library.
    ns_jabber and ns_xode --> modules which turn AOLserver into threaded jabber client with full access to the AOLserver Tcl API.

    Developed ACS modules: -- one of the largest user communities of ACS (300,000 users).
    PkBuilder -- given data model builds Oracle pl/sql packages for create/delete/update/reset/object_p functions. -- also creates similar plpgsql functions.
    typing -- fun module that allows you to teach/learn typing skills.

    Developed OpenACS modules:
    cronjob -- runs every minute and checks a schedule similar to a cron facility
    query-writer -- handles conversion of simple db access calls to postgresql pl/sql and dml statements. -- provides secure generic form processing page. PkBuilder functionality included.
    merchant-system -- distributor ecommerce platform supporting customer accounts, multiple suppliers

    In development: -- integrated tool for unicyclists to log progress in skill development, learn, teach, plan routines, etc.
    Rmadilo -- "binary XML" data format and tools.

    Actually familiar with 3.x and 4.0 source code.

    Time to devote to AOLserver Core issues.

    Not great or fast at anything, just stick to it until it gets done.

    Big dumb idea for AOLserver: ns_tcp and ns_udp as generic ns_conn. Should be easy in 4.0.

  • So make your choices and vote today!

    6: Re: Vote for the Goat! (response to 1)
    Posted by Janine Ohmer on
    As of yesterday they hadn't received very many votes - IMHO it's important for the community to be involved, now that we're being given the chance.  So get out there and vote!
    7: Re: Vote for the Goat! (response to 1)
    Posted by carl garland on
    Just a reminder that the vote for AOLserver core team closes
    by tommorrow noonish. All candidates would bring a lot so don't feel bad voting for anyone. Simon brings much more
    than just OpenACS representation so I heartily endorse him and it is a way to get closer integration between the 2
    communities. They're all good but voting also will show
    involvement to the mktg folks how many interested parties
    there are in AOLserver's future. So vote, not just for the
    position but for the perception.
    8: Re: Vote for the Goat! (response to 1)
    Posted by Sean Keener on
    Ok - this may be stupid...but where (url please) do we vote.


    9: Re: Vote for the Goat! (response to 1)
    Posted by Jun Yamog on
    Email to Nathan Folkman (  Check Tom Jackson's post above.
    10: Re: Vote for the Goat! (response to 1)
    Posted by Sean Keener on
    ooops - I am so used to glancing at code/stuff that I don't understand  -  I missed it. Cheers - sean
    Posted by Tom Jackson on

    For those not subscribed to the AOLserver list, the ACT vote ended in a tie for the fourth position. The tie is between myself and Dossy Shiobara. That means a re-vote for that position. Here it the email from Nathan:

    Sorry for missing the chat this afternoon. Shaz said everyone decided the best way to break the tie would be to have another quick vote to determine the winner. That said, please send me ( a quick email with your vote for either Dossy Shiobara or Tom Jackson. I've reposted their info below. Thanks!

    - Nathan

    Note: I didn't include the bios again. If you want to read them they are further up this thread.

    Send a single name this time: "Tom Jackson" or "Dossy Shiobara" to Nathan Folkman

    Posted by Tom Jackson on

    Nathan has made his last call for votes. The choices are "Tom Jackson" or "Dossy Shiobara". Here is his email to the AOLserver list:

    I'll be collecting votes up and until this coming Thursday, after which time I'll send out an email with the winner. Also, being that it's Thanksgiving this Thursday, the AOLserver chat is canceled for this week. Hope everyone has a great holiday!

    - Nathan

    As before, send your vote to Nathan Folkman

    13: Re: Vote for the Goat! (response to 1)
    Posted by Janine Ohmer on
    Was the final AOLserver core team ever announced?  I don't recall seeing it on the mailing list, and I never seem to have time to attend the chats.
    14: Re: Vote for the Goat! (response to 13)
    Posted by Jamie Rasmussen on
    It was announced at the last chat but I don't remember seeing it on the mailing list.  From AOL: Nathan Folkman, Jim Davidson, and Shahzad Chaudhri.  From the community: Scott Goodwin, Jeff Hobbs, Zoran Vasiljevic, and Tom Jackson.
    15: Re: Vote for the Goat! (response to 1)
    Posted by Janine Ohmer on
    Yay Tom!!!!  :)