[WF-General] SourceForge (was Re: [WF-Infra] File hosting)

Tim Ansell mithro at senet.com.au
Sun Oct 15 11:25:00 PDT 2000

Bryce Harrington wrote:
> On Tue, 10 Oct 2000, Jack Cummings wrote:
> > Take a look at the sourceforge pages and tell us what you think is
> > cool.
> >
> > --Jack
> I have just completed a bit over a week's worth of thorough
> investigation of SourceForge as a technology.  I have played with almost
> all of its features, dug around in the source code, and ran it through
> its paces, and I'm ready for a short report on my experiences.
> I'm going to try to separate out the technology from the service, for
> reasons which will be clarified at the end.
> 1.  Sourceforge is flaky
> First off, Sourceforge.net is very unreliable.  The server crashes,
> pages fail to load, and other assorted problems arise.  Now, I know that
> we sometimes have problems here, too, but it's different.  Here at
> WorldForge I have a sense that infra is accessable, and will work to fix
> problems - and keep us informed as to how things are going and when
> we'll be back up.


> 2.  Sourceforge is slowww...
> We knew SF was going to be slow, which is one of the reasons we wisely
> decided to steer clear of it.  It's extremely slow.  And for good
> reason:  it is very database-intensive, and often must make several
> queries on the db to build a general page.  While I know some people are
> hosting our services off of modest bandwidth connections, I rarely can
> ever make such a complaint as this.  I don't know whether it is due to
> our modest requirements or due to the skillful bandwidth management of
> the infrastructure crew, but we do a better job here.

It took me way to long to upload all the release files, took about 4-5
hours instead of 1 or 2. Uploading to FTP is also restricted to
approximently 6k/sec

> 3.  Sourceforge gives just one chance!
> In a number of places there is the limitation that one can add but not
> delete.  While this is understandable, it is as unrealistic for a
> project as large as our as if we couldn't delete files from CVS.  For me
> this is probably the biggest misfeature, because I make mistakes or
> change my mind a lot, and I *really* am dependent on how easily
> accessable the infra staff are for stepping in and helping when things
> have gone awry.
> 4.  Sourceforge has a static featureset
> As far as I can tell, what you get with SF is pretty much all you get.
> If I had need of some other tool integrated with the rest of the SF
> software, I think maybe I'd just be out of luck (or maybe not; I never
> tried this).  On the other hand, WorldForge's infra team is always
> testing out new services, exposing them to the rest of the community for
> feedback, and seeking to integrate everything nicely.  In fact, over the
> few week's I was looking at SourceForge, the WorldForge team deployed
> new mailing list software, LDAP, and developed and deployed an animation
> viewer.
> ---
> Anyway, the mission I undertook was not to determine if the sourceforge
> service was up to our needs or not - we had already decided months ago
> that we wouldn't/couldn't use it.  But it was nice to validate our
> decision.  Rather, it was to analyze the features and see what could be
> of use to us.  And here goes:
> A)  Usability & Integration
> I really like how sourceforge is set up to give me what I need, when I
> need it.  Rather than having to send a newbie on a scavenger hunt to get
> all of his accounts, I can sign them up and hand out permissions all at
> once.  Rather than have to log into one machine to submit bugs, and
> another to write an announce note, and so forth, I can do it all in one
> place.  We have long talked about having an integrated solution like
> this, and we've made some good steps, but we still are fairly
> fragmented.

The portal idea... I'm installing the Zope Portal Toolkit to see how we
can make our own WF portal. Zope will allow a huge amount of easy

> B)  Dependability
> I panned SourceForge above for its reliabilty and static services, but
> on the other hand, I have a reasonable degree of confidence that if I
> use their bug tool, I'm going to be able to view and modify my bugs for
> months or years to come.  I like that.
> Because of their high profile, SourceForge probably has a good
> test/release process to help avoid letting things get really dodgy.
> C)  Project Subdivision
> SourceForge allows creating sub-tasks and sub-projects within the
> project.  This is a very good way to organize things.
> D)  Project Metrics, Ranking, and Visibility
> This is probably the #1 thing I like most about SourceForge.  It is
> important to be able to view your progress, and numbers are the most
> scientific way to achieve that.  'Statistics' is a greek word for
> 'misleading pack of lies', true, but it's nice to know that people are
> looking at your work, that we're doing better now than earlier, and that
> even small efforts contribute to the larger whole.
> Plus I like graphs.  A LOT.  Throw some graphs at me and I'll oink quite
> happily.
> As well, even though there are a lot of projects hosted there, it is
> feasible for a large project like ours to get up into the top 10.
> Now, to finally get around to the actual features...
> Bug Database
> ------------
> We _definitely_ need a bug database like the one SourceForge provides.
> For the time being, we should continue using this one on SF.
> Eventually, though, we're going to want someone to run a dependable
> Gnats server for WorldForge.

Bugzilla anyone? Other bug databases? Give us one and will install it :)

> File Releases
> -------------
> Take a gander at the way SourceForge allows grouping files together
> under packages.  Also note how the latest file releases show up on the
> main summary page for the project automatically.  I really like this
> capability.

This is a bit tougher and most proberly a custom tool will need to be
written, it wouldn't be to hard to do though and 5-6 hours worth of code
would produce a very usable solution.

> Task Manager
> ------------
> The task manager is okay, but I've seen (and written) better ones.  It's
> nice to be able to track the tasks, and this tool is a good sight better
> than having to track them manually.

I'm sure there are a hundred and one of these around, find us a good one
and we'll install it :)

> Forums
> ------
> Mailing lists take care of most Forum-like needs, however it is true
> that sometimes people want more topical, threaded lists to browse for
> help or to get a feel for the project.  Some simple short web bulletin
> board areas (perhaps implemented using Wiki or Eidetic?) might be useful
> for newbies.

Pato was looking into this and there are actual a test forum on
www.worldforge.net, my biggest problem with forums is how does one
intergrate it with the mailing lists?

> Usage Statistics
> ----------------
> SourceForge plots number of page views and number of downloads.  It also
> tracks numbers of commits, patches, etc. over the past 2 weeks or other
> user specified period.  I most **definitely** like this.  I really love
> having statistics like this.  So much so that it has driven me to write
> metrics scripts like the wiki tally and the cvs report programs and
> collect mailing list subscription numbers in the past (both of which no
> longer function due to changes in the way things are organized; I'd fix
> them but I sense I'm alone in my wanting to count progress.)
> I just wish I could choose which parameters to be plotted!  ;-)

There are a hundred log parsers out there, choose one or create your own
and i'm sure Peregrine and i will run it to produce graphs and stats
about where evertything it going :)

> Centralized Admin
> -----------------
> It is very cool to be able to manage accounts all from a single place,
> as well as having the admin tools for all the other functions available
> in one place.  And it's nice as a developer to know that once I'm signed
> up, I'm signed up across the board for all functions, and don't need to
> remember different usernames or passwords for different features.

With LDAP we will have a central place for users information, CVS
access, Webpage access and everything under the sun will eventually be
intergrated into the LDAP servers.

> I know that in the past people (including myself) have looked at things
> like this and said, "Why, it can't be that difficult to write something
> like that, but even better!  Let's postpone a decision until I've had a
> chance to try my hand at implementing it."  But a bird in the hand is
> worth two in the bush.  The time spent developing this tool could have
> been spent ensuring the stability of several apps.  Since sourceforge
> code is available for download, it sure would be nice if someone would
> create a sourceforge for us to use, striving to keep it robust and
> reliable.  SourceForge *clearly* falls within the domain of the infra
> team, so it needs to be their baby to maintain and promote.  I know they
> are presently very busy with the website reorg, so it would be ideal if
> someone not yet involved in the project would join the infra team and
> then take on custodianship of this tool for WF.

Luckly with Zope we most things are already written its just some time
to put it together. The Zope Portal Tool kit and products just plug
right in.

> It may be that all of the above capabilities are available in Zope, and
> that the new website will provide them all.  If that is the case, then
> great; let's get the website software up and going NOW, so that we can
> move into integrating these other features.
> We're soon going to have a number of other needs from the infra people.
> Acorn test and player servers are going to need to be set up.  STAGE
> will need to have a server for it to be routinely tested on.  And many
> other things.  We definitely need more people working in the infra team
> on projects like this.
> Please reply to this and send me your thoughts on SourceForge and
> whether it fits into our project.
> --
> Bryce Harrington
> bryce @ neptune.net
> _______________________________________________
> General mailing list
> General at mail.worldforge.org
> http://mail.worldforge.org/lists/listinfo/general
> >

mithro at plug.cx              Join worldforge! www.worldforge.org
(Please use the above email address as i might change ISP soon)

More information about the General mailing list