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From Dave Fisher <>
Subject Re: Java download link on AOO site
Date Mon, 16 Jul 2012 00:50:32 GMT

On Jul 15, 2012, at 4:06 PM, Kay Schenk wrote:

> On Sun, Jul 15, 2012 at 3:03 PM, Joe Schaefer <>wrote:
>> The beauty of it is that you are only exposed to a level of complexity
>> consummate with the task at hand.  Making modest changes to a webpage
>> with the CMS is quick and largely painless.  The most difficult aspect
>> of the entire exercise is figuring out how and where to put the bookmarklet
>> in your collection of bookmarks.
>> The only thing unique tothe site is that given the
>> size of the tree it takesnearly a minute or so for svn to update itself
>> when pulling in changesto build, which can be confusing for new people
>> anxious to see the effects of their changes.  The builds themselves are
>> very
>> fast;it's the svn ops that are relatively time consuming.
>> Making site-wide changes requires a much deeper understanding of how
>> the system as a whole works.  But for a task like this, as Dave said
>> it can be accomplished in a handful of minutes.  Everything is reversible
>> since it's all version controlled, so it's not possible to make a
>> catastrophic fuck-up.
>> With basic website management technologies at the ASF, you don't have
>> a wide range of choices.  If the CMS is unappealing the other options
>> will be less so, which is why most projects who have adopted the CMS
>> are satisfied with it.  It's not pretty, and is very simple and basic
>> technology-wise without reams of code behind it, but it gets the job done.
>> Let me not go without saying that yes, all contributions are welcome,
>> and yes Hagar made a valuable contribution to the project by raising
>> the issue and getting someone to apply the right fix.  I'm trying to
>> raise a higher-level issue here about how things "could have gone",
>> had Hagar figured out how to use the CMS well enough to accomplish
>> this himself.  The upshot is that one more person has a core skill
>> that can work to the project's benefit, which is a good thing for all
>> concerned.
>> No one can force someone to do something they don't want to do for
>> whatever reason, but at the same time don't expect that sort of
>> activity to hold up to scrutiny as model behavior.  Sysadmins are
>> known for calling out people on that sort of thing, not to demean
>> them, but to discuss it with an aim towards improvement.  That's all
>> I've tried to do here.
> Well I will throw my .02 in here. At first, I was quite leary of the CMS
> bookmarklet but have now learned to truly appreciate it.  It does eliminate
> a rather painful svn checkout and all that goes with that.
> For the websites, it is truly wonderful! So, thanks from me.

I examined my local checkout via svn up.

At least 20 different people committed changes to the ooo-site since 3.4 was released. I think
that is a very good sign.

> My biggest challenges seem to be dealing with mdtext if you want to know
> the truth.

The main limitations have more to do with less flexibility with style and layout vs. html.

We've had a few people make changes in templates but those were simple cases.

> OK, onward. I do fully understand the "fear" factor in much of this though.

Dive in the bookmarklet gives just enough feedback with html so that you can't goof it up
too much!


>> ----- Original Message -----
>>> From: Dennis E. Hamilton <>
>>> To:; 'Joe Schaefer' <
>>> Cc:
>>> Sent: Sunday, July 15, 2012 5:40 PM
>>> Subject: RE: Java download link on AOO site
>>> I think the situation would have been different if the web site were
>> being
>>> created from scratch at this time.  Instead it was a heavy migration job
>>> accomplished by a few people.  That means there are very few people with
>>> hands-on experience maintaining the web pages.  There are many folks who
>> know
>>> how to handle static sites, but they then get to learn that this isn't
>> one
>>> of those.
>>> Also, when the migration was happening, I don't think there was much of a
>>> CMS meme.  The challenge was more about how the deployment mechanism
>> worked from
>>> SVN through the robots to pending and then published pages. Probably the
>> folks
>>> such as Dave Fisher who dealt with the templates a great deal learned
>> more of
>>> it, and I know a few people understand how to use the bookmarklet
>> properly and
>>> understand what the effect will be.
>>> I think this reveals some of the difficulties of toolcraft promulgation
>> in a
>>> headless structure.  Not many folks even know what the tools are and
>> what the
>>> connection is between the ASF CMS and what effect they want to have on
>> pages.
>>> So, there is self-interest, and there is scratching-an-itch, and there is
>>> overcoming whatever friction/inertia that makes a diversion into
>> learning a
>>> custom system appealing. ... Or not.
>>> I know I don't get to decide for them.  I can only appreciate what comes
>> up
>>> based on my own experience.
>>> - Dennis
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: Joe Schaefer []
>>> Sent: Sunday, July 15, 2012 13:18
>>> To:;
>>> Subject: Re: Java download link on AOO site
>>> There is an interesting dialectic here between acting with "enlightened
>>> self-interest" and being entirely selfish.  All I have suggested
>> throughout
>>> this episode is that the project be egalitarian towards its website
>> assets
>>> and expect all committers to abide by the same set of expectations
>> (which means
>>> everyone is expected to at least TRY to follow the documentation others
>> have
>>> generously provided).  Remember, the prerequisite skills here are an
>> ability
>>> to follow instructions combined with a familiarity of how links are
>> created in
>>> html pages.  Nothing more is required, and as Hagar has figured out how
>> to use
>>> Roller, I'm guessing he has the requisite knowledge about html.
>>> Only those who expect special treatment beyond the expected normsof the
>> project
>>> should be offended by what I'm saying.   Yeswe all have a DUTYto act in
>> ways
>>> that aligned with community expectations-no peeing in the communitypool
>> please.
>>> After all Apache operates these assets in the model of an intellectual
>> commons
>>> that everyone should treat with an appropriate amount of respect towards
>> each
>>> other
>>> and the org.
>>> I haveoften described my role in this org as akin to being a park
>> ranger, and we
>>> all know how well the average citizen pays attention to the rules of the
>> park.
>>> I haverefrained from using any labels here other than to say that the
>> behavior I
>>> amquestioning is less than model behavior.  Yet I have received a lot of
>> flak
>>> and not a lot of rationale behind the defense of that behavior.  That
>> people
>>> unfamiliar with the documentation see nothing wrong with what Hagar
>> offers here
>>> is not surprising, those people aren't going to read and apply it
>> either.
>>> Oh
>>> well, it's your community folks.
>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>>> From: Dennis E. Hamilton <>
>>>> To: 'Joe Schaefer' <>;
>>>> Cc:
>>>> Sent: Sunday, July 15, 2012 4:00 PM
>>>> Subject: RE: Java download link on AOO site
>>>> <orcnote comment="below" />
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: Joe Schaefer []
>>>> Sent: Sunday, July 15, 2012 12:00
>>>> To:;
>>>> Subject: Re: Java download link on AOO site
>>>> The thing is Dennis, it is self-defeating for the org to fund my work
>>>> on the CMS to make it a more effective collaboration tool for Apache
>>>> communities if projects don't start expecting committers and end users
>>>> alike to take advantage of it.  If this is the new norm, where
>> application
>>>> of project documentation is no longer expected for Apachedev-list
>>> participation,
>>>> then I'll adjust my plans accordingly.  I do know that Infra would
>>> never
>>>> survive with only 3-4 staffers if we didn't expect committers to
>>>> read/apply/critique/fixour documentation.
>>>> Whether it is difficultto use the CMSor super easy makes no difference
>>>> to anyoneif only a select few areexpectedto even try.
>>>> [ ... ]
>>>> <orcnote>
>>>> I find this very strange in an open-source context.  The expectation
>> that
>>> there
>>>> is an eager or required group of users seems odd.  How was that
>> arrived at?
>>>> I also find it strange to project a duty onto volunteers.  Most
>> volunteers
>>> get
>>>> to choose what their duties are.
>>>> - Dennis
>>>> Notes from my personal, narrow perspective on how I deal with finding
>>>> low-friction, high-payoff places to put my attention and energy:
>>>> I am not adverse to "build-it-and-they-might-come" development
>>>> (because if I don't they definitely won't), but not with any
>>> expectation
>>>> that there are any people anxiously waiting to dog-food my efforts.
>> That
>>> means
>>>> I seek satisfaction in the effort itself, without much expectation
>> beyond
>>> that
>>>> beyond a hope of being of some use to others.  I also don't expect
>>> anyone to
>>>> pay me for such self-indulgence on my part.
>>>> With regard to the ASF CMS, the only thing I know about it is the
>> on-list
>>>> encouragement of folks to use a bookmark that makes editing the web
>> site
>>>> easier.  I know nothing more than that.  I don't even know what browser
>>> the
>>>> bookmark may be limited to (nor am I in a hurry to find out).
>>>> There are many more things that I know how to do that are where I will
>> put
>>> my
>>>> attention more readily.
>>>> I've not learned MarkDown, for example, because I never needed to
>>> before,
>>>> although I can fake wikiText well enough, and learn little bits more as
>>> needed
>>>> in dealing with a particular wiki format.  Meanwhile, I have many ways
>> to
>>> edit
>>>> (web) pages in an SVN Working Copy.  But the ASF site-publishing
>> process
>>> and the
>>>> way pages are merged on the site is still something I haven't picked-up
>>> on.
>>>> I will eventually learn MarkDown more systematically because I want to
>> pay
>>>> closer attention to Ward Cunningham's Smallest-Federated-Wiki, not
>>> because
>>>> it is used underneath anything at the ASF.  I may end up supporting
>> SFW it
>>> on a
>>>> site of my own.  For that, MarkDown gets more of my attention.
>>>> I only managed to write Apache OO(i) blog posts by finding out how to
>> use
>>>> Windows LiveWriter to compose them off-line and publish them
>>> automatically.
>>>> Although I got the required use of drafts wrong, I have succeeded in
>> making
>>>> posts the way I know best and that serve some personal requirements
>> that I
>>> have
>>>> around blog authoring.
>>>> I also refused to give up maintaining an AOO(i) roster and
>> committer-intake
>>>> tracker in OpenOffice Calc when folks complained that there are no
>> diffs
>>> for
>>>> commits to that binary-format document.  Instead, I make sure that the
>>> commit
>>>> messages describe what was changed or added for those who want to
>> follow
>>> along
>>>> via reading commit messages.
>>>> In all cases, it is about finding ways to get the work done that I have
>>> taken
>>>> on, not on diversions into toolcraft.  It's different when
>>> everything's
>>>> new.  That's not where I find myself these days.
>>>> </orcnote>
> -- 
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> MzK
> "I would rather have a donkey that takes me there
> than a horse that will not fare."
>                                          -- Portuguese proverb

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