[fpc-devel] Offer to repair and maintain the FPC community website (repeat msg, no HTML)

Cephas Atheos cephasatheos at gmail.com
Tue Sep 25 10:01:03 CEST 2012

G'day Daniël,

On 25/09/12 5:35 PM, "Daniël Mantione" <daniel.mantione at freepascal.org>

>I'm fully aware of limitations, and happy to take take help, but please
>understand I am skeptical to plans like "let's install PhpBB" and those
>are not fundamental plans.
I agree, change for changes' sake is just frustrating to people and
time-consuming. Whatever happens has to minimally impact the core of the
fpc community, that's critically important. That's one reason why I've
offered to help out in that area.

>The FPC community predates most forums on the internet and if I'm right
>the first messages date from 1999. It maintains full backward
>compatibility (even old URL's of the previous generation software) still
>work, scales well and is resonably hacker proof.
Security is paramount, of course. However, while hackers are prevented
from easily attacking the infrastructure you have, so are new users
prevented from easily finding the right resources (at the moment, anyway).

That's where I hope some changes will help the current admins AND the user
base, and hopefully keep as much of this critical archive intact as
possible. Preferably 100%, although that's unlikely no matter what
happens. But I'm prepared to put the work in to make sure everything
possible is kept intact and accessible. (I used to do this for a living,
and I do understand the importance of protecting and maintaining
historical data, believe me).

>So work has to be either on improving the current system, or a
>proper thought out plan to replace it with another well working system
>that can last again for well over a decade.

That's exactly what I'm after! There needs to be a controlled, careful
migration to any new process or software, no matter what that is. And
rather than coming in and stomping around like a dictator, I would much
rather find out what ideas other people have to do the same thing.
Eventually, there should be an agreed process, step 1, step 2Š Step 500
(or however much it takes, hopefully not 500!), and most, if not all, of
the most important members here are happy and comfortable with the process.

I mentioned PHPBB because it's incredibly robust, widely used, has good
security, is minimally invasive to manage, can be scaled reasonably well,
people are familiar with it, and it works. But I'm sure there may be
other, better options I'm completely unaware of! What I want to avoid *at
all costs* is any pretty, shiny technology that seems fantastic but is
largely untested.

There is a lot "under the hood" that needs to be discussed too - archive
formats, what kind of database will be used, how will that affect hosting,
access, and costs, and so on. I would rather cover the a..z and take a few
weeks longer to estimate the traps and so on, than jump in with a
preconfigured gee-whiz solution that chokes in 5 years' time.

I'm even thinking about what human resources on the lists might want to
get involved - make it a community effort, with db backend and frontend
specialists, scripting gurus, UI designers, anyone with true passion for
fpc and a wish to contribute their specialty. I can do all of those
things, but none of them brilliantly, so it makes sense to find out who
would like to be part of a migration, and who can help the most.

I hope this helps to show that I'm not trying to be a cowboy riding into
FPC-town telling everyone what has to happenŠ I'm not that kind of person,
and it wouldn't be a good thing anyway, except get people nervous and
doubtful. But then it's not easy coming in to such an old community and
proving I can do what I say I can - that's going to be fun.

I'm thinking eventually of just setting up a "dummy" kind of site, where
some data could be placed and some users can have a look to see what sort
of things work, whether it gives people any better ideas, etc. I'll be
happy to host as much as I can (I'm semi-retired, and my business site
uses less than 5% of the hosting resources available to me, so that's one

But by far the most critical thing right now is fixing up the dead wood on
the fpc main page, contacting external site admins to see if stuff's been
saved or redirected, clean up some of the lists, fix up the global search
engine (really important, and I might be able to do that fairly gently),
that kind of thing. As long as people who go to that page can see that
most everything works, that's a great step forward, I'm sure you'll agree!

OK enough for now. I really appreciate your comments and concerns, and I
really don't want to stand on anyone's toesŠ it's too important to the
community, I know. And I appreciate anything and everything you can do to
help guide me!

Thanks again, and if anyone else has comments or suggestions, I'd be happy
to hear. I think there's a great benefit to everyone if it's done right.


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