[CentOS-devel] Website Version 2, next steps

Thu Feb 17 22:16:56 UTC 2011
Ralph Angenendt <ralph.angenendt at gmail.com>

First thing: I am sorry that this mail comes this late, it should have
been there a week earlier.

Second: At Fosdem we sat together with a round of people, trying to
identify which parts CentOS has that are facing to the community, which
parts need renewing and which contents should go / has to go where.

We identified 5 parts, some of which can and will stay as they are
(mostly), some which need to change. And we discussed some architectural

What we did not discuss was which software should be used where,
although for many pieces this already has been chosen.

At the end of the mail I will talk about some pros and cons to this

- Bug reporting against the CentOS components

We will continue to use mantis as our bug tracker, so there will be no
change in software there, maybe an update to the newest version, if that
can be done without too many issues.

- Wiki

The wiki will find it's role as being about the distribution side of
things (read on for an explanation). All documentation about the project
which is generated by the project and community members will go on the
wiki. This means FAQs, all help material for users, Howtos and Tipps,
but also QA content (see the QaTeam section) and the main Release Notes
and translations. MoinMoin will be used there for the time coming.

Planning of events where CentOS will be shown will still happen on the wiki.

- Website

The website will be about the project side of things. Firstly it should
be a starting point for all users - a role which it does not really play
at the moment. Where to download the distribution, what is current,
where to get help if you need it, pointers to things people can help
with - all that should be easily found on the website.

Also on the website will be generated content for CentOS. This means the
hosting of upstream documentation, automated content via RSS (so
planet.centos.org shouldn't be it's own page anymore, those Feeds should
be on the website), Twitter feeds and so on. No decision on whose feeds
should be found on there have been made yet.

If you are looking for events, where you can talk to people who are
around CentOS should also be found on the website.

Mirrors, mirror status and general infrastructure content will also be
on the website.

Downloads for projects within CentOS should also be found here (like
Artwork, special CD isos, or whatever you can think of a project within
the CentOS eco system)

Aim is to have something which can be automatically filled in parts, and
be easy to access and update in the other parts.

The website is for finished things.

- Forums

Forums at the moment are an integral part of the website. They will need
to move, as we sure are moving away from the current content management
system. We already know how to migrate those forums into php-bb, so we
will go with that.

- Projects

People wanting to run projects or Special Interest Groups (SIGs) within
CentOS need a place to develop. We have projects.centos.org for that,
which has it's own wiki, bug tracker and version control system for
those projects. Once things are in a releasable state, those releases
should go to a part of the main web site.

projects.centos.org is for developing things.

- Glue

At the moment we have different user databases for everything except
website and forums. This has to change. As far as we've found out, every
piece of software we use at the moment can be coaxed to authenticate
against an LDAP database. We want to order those accounts by email (make
that the primary key, as it has to be unique) and try to merge them into
one large database. Logging in will still be done on username / password
or on the wiki with WikiName / password, where your WikiName will be one
of the attributes your account has in the LDAP backend.

This has some issues: We will invariably have lots of doubled accounts,
as people might have subscribed to the website with a different mail
address than to the wiki. We will need to weed out spammer acocunts,
something which probably will not be easy.

This is something which will still need discussion on how to do it, and
especially on how to do the transition correctly, so that it does not
have a large impact on users.

- Mailing lists

Last issue, as there won't be any changes there.

Pros and Cons:

- Pros

Clear division of which content will go where. This also means that a
clearer presentation of content can be done on all parts, not the muddle
we have there at the moment.

One user database allows all users to access parts of the CentOS
infrastructure with only one account, although representations of those
accounts may differ among applications, like the wiki, where the
FirstnameLastname account naming still is wanted. This doesn't mean that
you can automatically write on the wiki once you have an account, the
procedure will mostly stay as it is at the moment.

With one user database, only one place is needed to distinguish users
from bots: The place where you register your account. Another plus: the
schema is extendable, should the need arise.

- Cons

Some software might need to be convinced to play well with LDAP

Links between forum posts might go away, I am not sure if there is a
possibility to find out the new target of a link.

As already mentioned above: Merging the user accounts will probably be a
rather largish task: Find out which accounts haven't been used for a
certain time, weed out spammer's accounts out of those which have been
actively used, find out which accounts belong together, retaining
editing rights on the wiki, maybe moving the forum status (rookie,
newbie, pro and whatever they are called) to the new forums.

We don't have a central account management solution at the moment, this
also needs to be written or snarfed from somewhere, and then adapted to
our needs.


With the content division in mind, there now is a clearer view of what
needs to go where. With a central user database, we make many things
easier for users and for the people maintaining the different parts of
"the CentOS web".

Now please discuss if you can live with what is written above, if you
see things differently, if you have other ideas and so on. Please try to
not extend what is above too much, as that already looks like a rather
largish move.

Ah yes, we'd like to stay with the layout we have on wiki.centos.org
throughout the whole eco system if possible. No idea if it is needed on
bugs.centos.org or lists.centos.org, though.

For actual execution we will use Atrium for planning, more on how to set
up your account there will come after this discussion.

Thanks for reading this far (and please trim your mails when replying
only to parts of this mail!).