Is GForge really GForge ? clarification needed

Gforge 4.5 is the FLOSS version of GForge, that most of us can download, install, for instance as Debian packages.

But for some users looking for “the” latest, most up-to-date GForge, there’s a risk to go test (and buy) a non-free version of GForge AS, the “proprietary” version made by the main initial author of GForge, Tim Perdue (through his company GForge Group). While having a new product developed by a company which contributed to the liberation of GForge is not necessarily bad, the problem is that this confusion hinders the momentum for contributions to the free code base.

There seem to be some movement in the GForge community these days, towards more dynamics on the development of this leading FLOSS project, which hosts so many interesting libre projects.

Update 2009/01/25 :Expect some announcement in the forthcoming days on this front. Roland Mas has just announced what I was more or less announcing in this teaser : FusionForge has forked been announced.

Adding GForge bugtracker support in bts-link

Part of our work in the Helios project will be on bugtrackers synchronisation.

I happened to notice that bts-link‘s maintainer called for help, which triggered more interest in that tool.

I’ve started working on bts-link to see how it works (cool, it’s Python 😉 and if it can be useful for Helios, and started implementing GForge tracker support in bts-link. That should help keep track of Debian bugs wrt upstream bugs for projects hosted in GForge forges (like Sympa, for instance, whose bugtracker is hosted in SourceSup).

You may find my git repo at which hopefull contains my proposed changes (I’m new to git, so I hope I did everything right…).

Report from LSM/RMLL 2008 on communautary development track

There’s probably much more to say than I’ll remember, but here’s an attempt at reporting from the excellent edition of RMLL/LSM which was held in Mont-de-Marsan (France) early july.

I’ve been chairing one of the tracks, on Communautary development, where I’ve had the pleasure to chair and attend excellent presentations. The rest of the LSM/RMLL was very good too, but being stuck in a room, I couldn’t attend much of it 😉

To summ-up, there have been very interesting talks and discussions on the following subjects (links to descriptions of talks and their slides included) :

  • translations : Claude Paroz has presented the classical process of translation in libre software (gettext, etc.) and organized a practical workshop to help get contributors started. But just before his talk, Marc Laporte (aka the man paying free beers at night) presented a system which was implemented in a wiki to handle multilingual content, which seems very smart, in helping synchronize multilingual content in wikis (where individual translations may change in a non-coordinated way). I think that both talks were very complementary : great to have had both speakers there… and by the way, they proved the international nature of the RMLL (Switzerland and Quebec/Canada) 😉
  • forges : another topic was the forges, or the development environments in (potentially) large projects, with the presentation of the forges genealogy and the GForge project made by Roland Mas. It was interesting to get feedback from the audiance where people reported from their switch to GForge AS, for instance. Also a presentation by Quang-Vu Dang about the use of semantic web standards to monitor activity in forges. We also discussed the semantic web standards and interoperability after other presentations about bug-tracking or packages (more bellow). Lucas Nussbaum also presented the infrastructure of the Debian project which loosely integrates different tools which are used to monitor the activity and do the QA work in the project. Lucas’ presentation was too short unfortunately, for such a complex project in-depth review (and trolls popped-up also ;).
  • packaging : Lucas also presented interesting starting elements for attracting volunteers contributions to Debian, by describing the packaging of applications in Debian (and Ubuntu, sort of ;-). Complementary were the presentations by Vincent Untz and Bruno Cornec, resp. on the OpenSUSE build service, and Project Builder, which both more or less manage the generation of packages for various distributions. Their philosophical approch seem different, which lead to interesting discussions : is upstream supposed to get interested in specifics of package contruction in various distributions, or should it be handled independently ? Great debate. There were also intersting talks about convergence in package description formats, which would need more detailed discussions (I welcome any links).
  • Release process : we had three talks which addressed this topic : first the excellent (and crowded, although very early in the morning : 9:00 😉 ) presentation by Thomas Petazzoni on the Linux project process. Next Lucas’ presentations on Debian (comparing release strategies between Debian and Ubuntu, for instance). And finally Vincent Untz’s other presentation on the 6 month paced release process in Gnome. Very complementary and interesting talks, IMHO.
  • Bug tracking : Of course this was the topic addressed by Emmanuel Seyman in his very interesting talk about Bugzilla. But we also discussed the subject of bug trackers in Lucas’ presentation, for instance (with the Debian BTS), or when we discussed the problem of synchronisation of the bugs lists between upstream and distributions (which will be one of the topics of our forecoming HELIOS project : more blogging ahead). Definitely something where the contacts were very valuable amond people attending and presenting.
  • Other topics : well, that wasn’t all with this track at LSM/RMLL, but I wasn’t as much interested in these others I guess. You’ll find more details on the conference’s site.

I hope the content was enjoyable to the audiance too (although I disturbed the presentations with my silly jokes or my facist approach to schedules ;).

See you in next edition.

Codex liberated: here comes Codendi

Codex was the name of the forge developped by Xerox on the code base of SourceForge. Although Xerox once contributed parts as free software which ended-up in libre versions of the sourceforge codebase (in Savane or GForge, if I remember well ?), it seems there were still parts that were proprietary (I’m not a user myself, just talked to people who know better).

Although it was used by numerous projects at clients of Xerox (and internally), I’m not sure the strategy was clear for Xerox, mainly considering the cost of maintenance of these complex platforms. Xerox made a business of service around Codex, but wasn’t so sure about the licensing strategy, I think, and wether being an editor for Codex was something really interesting. There were some trolls around when the subject was mentioned, together with the interesting features in Codex that lacked in GForge, for instance, when would they contribute to the free world, etc.

They have apparently make up their minds and liberated the parts of the code that weren’t free, and also renamed the software which is now called Codendi (it had passed under my radar, but I got the news at the workshop of french forgerons).

This opens new opportunities for collaboration for Xerox and the users of Codex/Codendi, and may help achieve some convergence between GForge and Codendi, on parts which keep quite similar in both software which initially started out of the last free versions of SourceForge (through plugin infrastructure unification ?).

After the liberation of Scilab, yet another new libre software !

Let’s hope that this is a very good news for the future of the forges in general.

Congratulations Xerox !

Forges et plus si affinités aux RMLL à Mont-de-Marsan en juillet

Du 1er au 5 juillet 2008, je coordonnerai un thème sur le “développement communautaire”, dans lequel j’escompte bien qu’on parle de forges, entre autres choses.

Merci d’avance pour vos propositions d’interventions.

Voir déjà : un aperçu des thèmes pressentis.

Plus de détail sur les Rencontres Mondiales des Logiciels Libres (9ème édition) :

Update 2008/05/07 : j’ai ajouté quelques liens vers plus d’infos sur le site des RMLL.