Including other wiki projects in Appropedia

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Danyl Strype

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Aug 24, 2012, 1:50:54 AM8/24/12
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Kia ora koutou

Note: The following is a stream-of-consciousness brainstorm, shared
with the purpose of starting a discussion. Feel free to ignore it ;)

Patrick's email about the LifeTrac got me thinking about how we manage
the relationship between the Appro wiki and the wikiwebs of other
projects whose content comes within the Appro brief. Sure, we can just
link to their from Appro index pages, but there are obvious resilience
benefits to having multiple copies of a website, hosted on multiple
servers, in multiple physical locations. I can only think of one
argument against mirroring the entire Open Source Ecology (OSE) wiki
on Appro, which is the risk of inadvertently "forking" their projects.
Let me explain what I mean (I'm using OSE as an example, there are
other wiki which would be relevant content on Appro).

Let's say there's a hack that allows us to copy the whole OSE wiki to
Appro without having to laboriously cut'n'paste every page (which
should be possible). Now, every time a change is made on the OSE
version, someone needs to import that change to the Appro version, and
vice versa. If that doesn't happen regularly, there's a chance that
the contents of the two versions will drift apart, and the Appro
version will become a "fork" of the OSE version. This could create
version hell for someone looking for the latest version of an OSE
project, particularly as they add more designs to the Global Village
Constructor Kit, and their wiki grows to sustain the development work
on them.

Theoretically, I can think of a number of ways to keep the two
versions matching:
a) have changes to one version auto-synched on the other
b) make the Appro version a static mirror of the OSE version, which
gets updated every time a change is made to the OSE version

The problem with a) is that OSE would have to agree to their wiki
being edited by another site's users. Or users would have to have an
OSE account to edit the page from Appro, which means effectively the
same thing as b). One solution could be a system like OpenID or
BrowserID, which allows users to associate their accounts on multiple
services (in this case Appro and OSE) with one set of login
credentials.

The problem with b) is that it breaks the wiki-ness of the Appro pages
that are mirrors of another wiki. One solution could be that while the
main wiki page is static (the edit tab is disabled, or just replaced
with a link to edit the OSE version of the page), the discussion page
is still able to be edited by Appro users, with a note at the top
explaining who hosts the main page, and gives them a link to sign up
with that site if they want to edit it.

Thoughts?
Strypey

BTW Just curious about why the Appropedia Foundation aren't hosting
their own email list(s), or hosting them on an activist server like
RiseUp.net, or CoActivate.org? I'm not convinced that GoogleGroups
fits the definition of "appropriate technology" ;)




--
Danyl Strype
Community Developer
Disintermedia.net.nz/strype

"Geeks are those who partake in our culture."
- .ISOcrates

"Uncomfortable alliances are not just necessary; they reflect and
speak to the tremendous possibility of our political moment."
- Harmony Goldberg and Joshua Kahn Russell
http://www.nationofchange.org/new-radical-alliances-new-era-1337004193

"Both Marxists and Chicago-school libertarian economists can agree
that free software is the best model."
- Keith C Curtis
http://keithcu.com/wordpress/?page_id=407

Chris Watkins

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Aug 24, 2012, 3:50:20 AM8/24/12
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On 24 August 2012 15:50, Danyl Strype <str...@disintermedia.net.nz> wrote:
Kia ora koutou

Note: The following is a stream-of-consciousness brainstorm, shared
with the purpose of starting a discussion. Feel free to ignore it ;)

Patrick's email about the LifeTrac got me thinking about how we manage
the relationship between the Appro wiki and the wikiwebs of other
projects whose content comes within the Appro brief. Sure, we can just
link to their from Appro index pages, but there are obvious resilience
benefits to having multiple copies of a website, hosted on multiple
servers, in multiple physical locations.  I can only think of one
argument against mirroring the entire Open Source Ecology (OSE) wiki
on Appro, which is the risk of inadvertently "forking" their projects.
Let me explain what I mean (I'm using OSE as an example, there are
other wiki which would be relevant content on Appro).

Lonny will know more than me about image backups, but... on the question of the wiki's resilience, feel free to backup the latest text version of the wiki here (link can be found at Appropedia:Current dump).


Let's say there's a hack that allows us to copy the whole OSE wiki to
Appro without having to laboriously cut'n'paste every page (which
should be possible). Now, every time a change is made on the OSE
version, someone needs to import that change to the Appro version, and
vice versa. If that doesn't happen regularly, there's a chance that
the contents of the two versions will drift apart, and the Appro
version will become a "fork" of the OSE version. This could create
version hell for someone looking for the latest version of an OSE
project, particularly as they add more designs to the Global Village
Constructor Kit, and their wiki grows to sustain the development work
on them.

Theoretically, I can think of a number of ways to keep the two
versions matching:
a) have changes to one version auto-synched on the other

This isn't possible... *yet*. Ward Cunningham (inventor of the first wiki) has recently come up with a "federated wiki" which lets forked wikis selectively sync with each other. I suspect that someone will write extensions to do this for MediaWiki (the most widely used platform, which we also use) before long.

b) make the Appro version a static mirror of the OSE version, which
gets updated every time a change is made to the OSE version

That sounds like "ScaryTranscluding" which is an option we could turn on at any time. I think there are security questions about it, hence the "scary" part of the name, so we've never turned it on. This could be valuable if used carefully, with the right settings, and I might have suggested this in the past. If someone has the tech skills to explore this, please let us know more.


The problem with a) is that OSE would have to agree to their wiki
being edited by another site's users. Or users would have to have an
OSE account to edit the page from Appro, which means effectively the
same thing as b). One solution could be a system like OpenID or
BrowserID, which allows users to associate their accounts on multiple
services (in this case Appro and OSE) with one set of login
credentials.

It is possible to let someone edit our wiki's pages on another site, e.g. by someone else embedding pages on their site and using our API to connect. Their site doesn't even need to be a wiki. This is also something I've suggested for a couple of potential partnerships that we're working on at the moment. The problem is, it's a big job to do it securely and do it well, and I don't have the tech skills to actually do it. I can't demand that someone else drops their projects or roles (like keeping Appropedia from falling over) to do what I've suggested. So it comes down to needing more resources. (Anyone interested in taking on a role in our coming fundraiser?)


The problem with b) is that it breaks the wiki-ness of the Appro pages
that are mirrors of another wiki. One solution could be that while the
main wiki page is static (the edit tab is disabled, or just replaced
with a link to edit the OSE version of the page), the discussion page
is still able to be edited by Appro users, with a note at the top
explaining who hosts the main page, and gives them a link to sign up
with that site if they want to edit it.

Yep - there are a bunch of these issues to resolve. 

So, bottom line is that I think we can do things to better integrate with other sites, and some of that we could do soon, but we'll need more hands on deck, willing to take on specific tasks. Join up on the tech discussion list if you're interested in helping! Or even better, the brand new Appropedia Funding list!

Anything there grab you?


Thoughts?
Strypey

BTW Just curious about why the Appropedia Foundation aren't hosting
their own email list(s), or hosting them on an activist server like
RiseUp.net, or CoActivate.org? I'm not convinced that GoogleGroups
fits the definition of "appropriate technology" ;)




--
Danyl Strype
Community Developer
Disintermedia.net.nz/strype

"Geeks are those who partake in our culture."
- .ISOcrates

"Uncomfortable alliances are not just necessary; they reflect and
speak to the tremendous possibility of our political moment."
- Harmony Goldberg and Joshua Kahn Russell
http://www.nationofchange.org/new-radical-alliances-new-era-1337004193

"Both Marxists and Chicago-school libertarian economists can agree
that free software is the best model."
- Keith C Curtis
http://keithcu.com/wordpress/?page_id=407

--
For the public archive and subscription options, visit this group at
http://groups.google.com/group/appropedia-community?hl=en
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to
appropedia-commu...@googlegroups.com



--
Chris Watkins

Appropedia.org - Sharing knowledge to build rich, sustainable lives.

Chris Watkins

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Aug 24, 2012, 4:10:05 AM8/24/12
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On 24 August 2012 15:50, Danyl Strype <str...@disintermedia.net.nz> wrote:

BTW Just curious about why the Appropedia Foundation aren't hosting
their own email list(s), or hosting them on an activist server like
RiseUp.net, or CoActivate.org? I'm not convinced that GoogleGroups
fits the definition of "appropriate technology" ;)

We did have a MailMan list on our own server... but much as I love open source software, Google Groups are just much more user friendly.

" or hosting them on an activist server like RiseUp.net, or CoActivate.org " - is there one in particular that you recommend, and an example of such a list that we could look at? 

Thanks

Danyl Strype

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Aug 24, 2012, 9:18:01 AM8/24/12
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Kia ora koutou

Yeah, Mailman bites if your users want a pretty online GUI with full
user account privileges. It's great for organisations like Indymedia,
who need to host hundreds of lists, and whose users are happy to
mainly subscribe and unsubscribe by sending blank emails bla bla bla.

If you only need a handful of organisational lists, the best option is
to go to another organisation with compatible goals which is already
running a listserver.

I've been using RiseUp for years as an email host, although I don't
use that address so much these days, due to the small inbox allowance.
I used to use them more to host email lists. They run Sympa as their
listserver, they are super reliable, and very concerned with user
freedom and privacy. Our rainbow gathering email list is still hosted
there. Check out:
https://lists.riseup.net/www/info/rainbow-aotearoa

The reason I stopped using them for email lists is that each list you
set up has to go through a vetting process, which can take some time,
although it's usually pretty fast. It's no hassle if you only set up
an email list once in a blue moon, but when you are constantly setting
up lists for new groups, like I do, it gets frustrating.

These days I mostly use CoActivate.org, who develop their own free
code ("open source") software in Python (currently called OpenCore,
but a rename is in the works). No vetting required, you just have to
pass an anti- spammer test when you sign up, and instead of just an
email list, I can set up a group with a whole suite of groupware
tools, including a blog, wiki, multiple email lists, and task tracker.
You can choose which of these tools you want to use, and turn the
other ones off. For example, you could set up an Appropedia project,
turn off the wiki, and blogs, and just use it for email lists.

The other service I have used is OnlineGroups.net, which also runs on
an in-house free code package (GroupServer; also Python-based). They
are cool folks, but they are a business, and a bit impatient with
not-for-profit/ volunteer projects.Unless your techies want to put the
time into figuring out how to install and configure your own instance
of GroupServer, I would suggest you go with CoActivate.org.

Ma te wā
Strypey

On 24 August 2012 20:10, Chris Watkins <chrisw...@appropedia.org> wrote:

> We did have a MailMan list on our own server... but much as I love open
> source software, Google Groups are just much more user friendly.
>
> " or hosting them on an activist server like RiseUp.net, or CoActivate.org "
> - is there one in particular that you recommend, and an example of such a
> list that we could look at?

nikki caputo

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Aug 24, 2012, 12:13:38 PM8/24/12
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Love this line of thinking/doing!

Patrick Gibbs

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Aug 24, 2012, 5:28:06 PM8/24/12
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On 08/24/2012 05:10 AM, Chris Watkins wrote:
> is there one in particular that you recommend, and an example of
> such a list that we could look at?

On 08/24/2012 10:18 AM, Danyl Strype wrote:
> These days I mostly use CoActivate.org, who develop their own free
> code ("open source") software in Python

I use CoActivate because it allows people to subscribe to the email
list without making a CoActivate account (and is the only libre
software, gratis-hosted tool I've found that does that). For moments
when one wants to interact via forum instead of email, the forum
offers a mirror of the list, and adjustment of settings, and
moderation, with a nice GUI.

> (currently called OpenCore, but a rename is in the works).

That there's a rename in the works suggests the project is still alive
in terms of development, which I'm glad to hear, since it seemed
dormant from what I'd seen.
> No vetting required, you just have to pass an anti- spammer test
> when you sign up, and instead of just an email list, I can set up a
> group with a whole suite of groupware tools, including a blog,
> wiki, multiple email lists, and task tracker. You can choose which
> of these tools you want to use, and turn the other ones off. For
> example, you could set up an Appropedia project, turn off the wiki,
> and blogs, and just use it for email lists.

For an example of a project I started on CoActivate, that includes
email lists, see:
http://www.coactivate.org/projects/tractor-ecovilla-gaia

~ Patrick

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nikki caputo

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Aug 29, 2012, 5:46:50 PM8/29/12
to Chris Watkins, Appropedia, Chelsea Anan, appropedia...@googlegroups.com
Is it possible to add Chelsea Anan to this group (she is the education director at HSU CCAT)?

Prosper,
Nikki

He Waka Eke Noa

We are all in this boat together

~Maori Wisdom



Chris Watkins

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Aug 29, 2012, 9:59:57 PM8/29/12
to appropedia...@googlegroups.com, Chelsea Anan
On 30 August 2012 07:46, nikki caputo <nikk...@gmail.com> wrote:
Is it possible to add Chelsea Anan to this group (she is the education director at HSU CCAT)?

Done. Welcome, Chelsea!

It should also be possible for anyone to join themselves up directly at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/appropedia-community
 
Thanks
Chris

nikki caputo

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Aug 29, 2012, 10:04:12 PM8/29/12
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Perfect! Thank you, Chris; very much so appreciate your work(ings)!

Danyl Strype

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Aug 29, 2012, 10:21:01 PM8/29/12
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Tena koutou

While we are talking about who is on this list, are Sophie and Evan
from Open Source Permaculture getting these emails? If not, is there
another list or group specifically addressing the new permaculture
section of Appro?

Kia ora
Strypey

Chris Watkins

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Aug 29, 2012, 10:49:42 PM8/29/12
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On 30 August 2012 12:21, Danyl Strype <str...@disintermedia.net.nz> wrote:
Tena koutou

While we are talking about who is on this list, are Sophie and Evan
from Open Source Permaculture getting these emails?

Doesn't look like it. I'll forward this to them.
 
If not, is there
another list or group specifically addressing the new permaculture
section of Appro?

Is there interest? We can set one up.

Chelsea Anan

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Aug 30, 2012, 1:58:07 PM8/30/12
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Thank you kindly!

Danyl Strype

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Sep 7, 2012, 6:58:09 AM9/7/12
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Tēnā koutou

On 25 August 2012 09:28, Patrick Gibbs <patr...@riseup.net> wrote:

>> I use CoActivate because it allows people to subscribe to the email list without making a CoActivate account (and is the only libre software, gratis-hosted tool I've found that does that). For moments when one wants to interact via forum instead of email, the forum offers a mirror of the list, and adjustment of settings, and moderation, with a nice GUI. <<

Ae, these are two of the reasons I like to use CoA. Great to hear
you're getting good use out of it. Are you on the CoActivate Users
Group list? It's a really good place to ask for help with using the
system, request features or fixes, and keep up with developments.
http://www.coactivate.org/projects/openplans-users-group/lists/openplans-users-group-discussion

>> That there's a rename in the works suggests the project is still alive in terms of development, which I'm glad to hear, since it seemed dormant from what I'd seen. <<

Actually I had a Hangout recently with Ethan Jucovy, who saved CoA and
OpenCore from the implosion of the The Open Planning Project/
OpenPlans, and has been the lead developer and CoA webmaster ever
since. He has been working on various background improvements,
including a total rewrite of the core codebase, which will make it
more stable, improve performance, and make it easier to fix bugs, and
add new tools for end-users.

We'd love to host Appropedia lists on CoA, either as part of the
Aotearoa Permaculture Network project (just renamed), or as their own
project.

Hei kōnei rā
Strypey

Chris Watkins

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Sep 7, 2012, 10:00:18 AM9/7/12
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On 7 September 2012 20:58, Danyl Strype <str...@disintermedia.net.nz> wrote:

Actually I had a Hangout recently with Ethan Jucovy, who saved CoA and
OpenCore from the implosion of the The Open Planning Project/
OpenPlans, and has been the lead developer and CoA webmaster ever
since. He has been working on various background improvements,
including a total rewrite of the core codebase, which will make it
more stable, improve performance, and make it easier to fix bugs, and
add new tools for end-users.

Thanks for that update - I saw "OpenPlans" written on the CoActivate site and tried to work out what the connection was. I know another very cool project that was spun out of The Open Planning Project (the StreetsWiki) and is now inactive and in need of love. It probably needs to be imported into an active wiki project where it will get the love it deserves (I wonder who that might be...?)

We'd love to host Appropedia lists on CoA, either as part of the
Aotearoa Permaculture Network project (just renamed), or as their own
project.

I'd like to hear from other Appropedians on this - I'll try the idea out on other people, but I want to move slowly. I've tried getting us using various platforms for different things (such as the BetterMeans task tracker) with little luck - there's often resistance (esp from non-geeks) to using additional platforms unless they offer something quite unique. We do use Google services within the Appropedia Foundation (esp docs, email, chat...) and their reliability is excellent, so I think Google's likely to come out ahead, for us.

That's not to deny the awesomeness of CoActivate. I'd love to see a free (libre) software project like this really make a splash - the way Firefox did when it first came out and was so much better than Explorer. I think CoActivate needs a bit more work before it's there... but it's a platform I'll definitely think about using and recommending for other projects.

Btw, are you familiar with Riseup.net? How does that compare? (I can't get their site to load at the moment - hopefully it's nothing serious.)

Patrick Gibbs

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Sep 7, 2012, 8:00:35 PM9/7/12
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On 09/07/2012 11:00 AM, Chris Watkins wrote:
> Btw, are you familiar with Riseup.net? How does that compare?

The Riseup Collective offers a handful of services, among them email
lists and the functional-and-still-in-development
social-network-for-groups-and-movements https://we.riseup.net . The
notice about creating a riseup.net email list goes like this:

*** from https://www.riseup.net/en/creating-lists ***
Anyone can create a list! The only requirement is that the list must
be used for radical social change. If your list is not of a
progressive, radical, or revolutionary nature, we will not enable it.
Lists which are primarily for hobbies, general education, sports, or
spiritual practice will not be approved. Again, the list must be
political.

When you create a list, you are taking on the responsibility of
maintaining it. If your list is open, you may quickly find that you
will have to moderate it to prevent spam (of both the corporate and
activist variety).
*** ***
Other relevant pages:
Social Contract:
https://we.riseup.net/riseuphelp/social-contract
Usage Agreement:
https://we.riseup.net/riseuphelp/usage-agreement

~ Patrick



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Danyl Strype

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Sep 9, 2012, 9:19:25 AM9/9/12
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Kia ora koutou

Chris, I know how hard it is to get people to set up yet another login
and password (and remember them ;). Hopefully Mozilla Persona might
change that. I met one of the developers at Kiwi PyCon last weekend.
He told me that Persona (formerly BrowserID) is like OpenID, but it
uses a certificate system (like a signature) instead of sending a
message to your OpenID provider to ask for your credentials. That
means that is can't be used to track users in the way OpenID can.
https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/persona/

As Patrick said, you don't need a CoActivate account to join email
lists hosted there. That's one of the things I like about it too. This
is also true of Mailman, but the CoA user interface is much nicer for
the admins, and anyone who can be bothered setting up an account to
manage their subscriptions.

On 8 September 2012 02:00, Chris Watkins <chrisw...@appropedia.org> wrote:
>> I know another very cool project that was spun out of The Open Planning Project (the StreetsWiki) and is now inactive and in need of love. It probably needs to be imported into an active wiki project where it will get the love it deserves (I wonder who that might be...?) <<

My impression is that TOPP were ahead of their time, and like a lot of
visionaries in the internet age, struggled to fit their vision into
tech that wasn't really right for the job. The job that StreetsWiki
was intended to do is being taken up now by tools like FixMyStreet,
FallenFruit, and BikeMap:
http://fixmystreet.org.nz/
http://www.fallenfruit.org/
http://www.bikemap.net

Thanks for the reference to BetterMeans. You don't happen to know what
language it's programmed in? We have been looking for a user-friendly
bug fix/ feature request tracker for CoActivate recently. We prefer to
use things programmed in Python (like the OpenCore engine of CoA), so
Ethan and our other devs can tinker with them if need be.

>> That's not to deny the awesomeness of CoActivate. I'd love to see a free (libre) software project like this really make a splash - the way Firefox
did when it first came out and was so much better than Explorer. I think
CoActivate needs a bit more work before it's there... <<

Ethan would agree with you on this. What we're really working toward
is a situation where groups can use CoActivate to trial the software,
and if it really works for them, download and run their own version of
the software on their own server. At the moment this is kind of
possible, and there is another site run by Social Forum folks using
OpenCore, called OpenFSM.net. Hopefully when the current refactoring
process is finished, and we have a new name for OpenCore, we can make
the Firefox-sized splash you are talking about :)

>> but it's a platform I'll definitely think about using and recommending for other projects. <<

Thanks, that's great.

>> Btw, are you familiar with Riseup.net? How does that compare? <<

Patrick pretty much summed it up. For email lists they uses Sympa.
http://www.sympa.org/

RiseUp ares good for groups who are within RiseUps definition of
"political", only need one or two email lists, and don't have the
resources to run any servers of their own. I haven't used their hosted
version of Crabgrass (we.riseup.net) for a while. Must check it out
again.

Me te wa

Chris Watkins

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Sep 9, 2012, 10:19:28 AM9/9/12
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On 9 September 2012 23:19, Danyl Strype <str...@disintermedia.net.nz> wrote:
Thanks for the reference to BetterMeans. You don't happen to know what
language it's programmed in? We have been looking for a user-friendly
bug fix/ feature request tracker for CoActivate recently. We prefer to
use things programmed in Python (like the OpenCore engine of CoA), so
Ethan and our other devs can tinker with them if need be.

BetterMeans is built on Redmine. It's open source, but no longer actively developed AFAIK, since the developers (good people) figured out it wasn't going to be an effective business proposition for them. It's more user friendly than Redmine, but it's still not for average web users.
 
 
RiseUp ares good for groups who are within RiseUps definition of
"political", only need one or two email lists, and don't have the
resources to run any servers of their own. I haven't used their hosted
version of Crabgrass (we.riseup.net) for a while. Must check it out
again.

Crabtree another one that seems interesting, but a long way from being ready, last I looked. There are a few networking platforms being developed as open source - Diaspora and Friendica being the leaders, plus Crabtree, Appleseed, can't recall the others - it would be good to see some consolidation, and more effort being put into one awesome platform. But that's easy for me to say - I'm not a developer.

I'd better crash now, to be awake for the chat!

Patrick Gibbs

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Sep 10, 2012, 12:54:51 AM9/10/12
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Does this conversation belong on the tech email list instead of this
general community email list?

On 09/09/2012 10:19 AM, Danyl Strype wrote:
> Hopefully Mozilla Persona might change that. I met one of the
> developers at Kiwi PyCon last weekend. He told me that Persona
> (formerly BrowserID) is like OpenID, but it uses a certificate
> system (like a signature) instead of sending a message to your
> OpenID provider to ask for your credentials. That means that is
> can't be used to track users in the way OpenID can.
> https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/persona/

seems to depend on Mozilla servers to function, which I don't quite
understand... I guess Mozilla now provides web services, not just
desktop software and an operating system ("boot to Gecko").
>
> Thanks for the reference to BetterMeans. You don't happen to know
> what language it's programmed in?

Ruby
reference https://www.ohloh.net/p/bettermeans
source https://github.com/Bettermeans/bettermeans
>
> What we're really working toward is a situation where groups can
> use CoActivate to trial the software, and if it really works for
> them, download and run their own version of the software on their
> own server.

Pondering the chat a few hours ago, I wonder about interaction between
Friendica and CoActivate/OpenCore... Friendica offers fluidity of
communication, and OpenCore offers a differently structured
situation... hmmm. Maybe interaction would be redundant.


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