[SciPy-dev] Some Feedback

Robert Kern rkern at ucsd.edu
Wed Nov 9 23:05:13 CST 2005

Joe Harrington wrote:
> What's wrong with the zwiki that's already on the site?  Perhaps it
> needs to be made the top-level page, though it seems a little
> dangerous for *any* wiki to be the top-level page on the site. 

Okay, I'd be just as happy with a staticy front page and the majority of
the content in the Trac instance. I think it may even be possible to
restrict editing of the Trac Wiki Welcome page.

> Given
> that we hope the site to be the major portal for the software package
> of choice in scientific computing, I should think we would *want*
> Plone's capability for doing review-before-commit and the like.
> The problem is not Plone, it is the lack of interest.  Even the
> non-wiki Plone stuff is very straightforward (in under an hour with
> Meloni's book, I was out of normal-user usage and into installing and
> configuring extension modules).  Why do we believe that switching to
> Trac or anything else will make volunteers appear and do work?  Why
> not just start *doing* the work?  This isn't a technical problem.

As Travis pointed out there is a real technical problem with
Plone/Zope/Zwiki as it is deployed at www.scipy.org. It is usually
unusably slow. The Zope process grows monotonically and, IIRC, needs to
be restarted every week or so in order to avoid bringing down the server.

The evidence suggests that Plone just isn't suited to the kind and
amount of content that our community is producing. Plone is a great CMS,
but it's not so great when you don't have a lot of content to manage.
Plone was selected for the website years ago on the assumption that
people were going to register and stake out little homepages of their
own to post their stuff. Years later, we don't have many members doing
that but a fair amount of people posting to the Wiki. The review-by-Wiki
process is, I think, tenable. Or at least as tenable as the Plone review
process which we've never used to any real extent.

I don't think that switching to Trac is going to make volunteers appear
and work. I do know for a fact that switching to Trac is going to allow
me to volunteer my time to work on the website without feeling like I'm
pulling my teeth out. Verrrry sloooowly. I'm fairly confident that Joe
Cooper, who has to maintain the website, would be happier dealing with a
Trac instance than Plone.

Robert Kern
rkern at ucsd.edu

"In the fields of hell where the grass grows high
 Are the graves of dreams allowed to die."
  -- Richard Harter

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