[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.
> 

Agreed...

> 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
intergration.

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




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