Please see, consider, and respond to CMS proposal -- BenTremblay - 30 Sep 2006

Opinions and Experiences

This page is a place to post your opinions and experiences with the various code bases.

Obviously this will tend to be a contentious issue, but please dont hold back. If you disagree, write your disagreement. If you want to post anonymously, go ahead.

TikiWiki, the codebase for IMCMexico will not be longer avaible, only as read-only archive. Particullary after the third etape of IMCMexico we think it is a powerful tool, but technically very difficult to understand in its edition and administration. We had to see back to our readers/writers and think that people, specially from farmer and indigenous communities want their information to be known, but strong php applications that don't have a good performance in security such as tecnically difficult don't help in this communitary work. So, we are going to migrate into Spip.

PromRguez 05/07/2008

I think that MiR has features which should be considered basic or fundamental for a widely distributed IMC codebase. In particular StaticPublishing allows websites to be mirrored and backed up with ease, important for dealing both with limited resources, and political/technical attacks. While Internationalization (MirInternationalization) is fundamental, and its a testament to the difficulties of working in PHP, and particularily on StandardActive, that none of the other IMC codebases do it.

kellan, 5/22/2002

I have not been able to do any meaningful work on the New York city site because of Standard Active. Each change is a herculean task, no matter how simple it may seem. I cannot find a reasonable chart of what pages are generated by what and most of my time spent is plowing through directories tracing global variables back and forth. Usually when i finally locate the file I need to change, hours have gone by and I never seem to get to any real coding. I hope it isn't because i am dumb.

lee AT eds DOT org

I've setup StandardActive twice now. I chose it because I thought it would be simplest to setup and because many people have experience with it.

It was more difficult to setup than I expected because there were a number of steps that were not documented. The documentation I could find was conflicting and sometimes outdated. Every time I got stuck, though, there were plenty of people who were able to help. Now that it is installed, it's working fine. Neither of the sites yet has enough traffic to draw any conclusions about performance.

I have some concerns about the security implications of Active (and the others, if I were running them). I think we should add a section on security to each codebase page.

I just setup DadaIMC and it was quick and easy. There is an installer and everything worked out the box. I was posting within 15 minutes.

I am trying to install SF Active from CVS (may 29). There is no installer but there are explicit instructions. It took me about 45 minutes the first time to install. Unfortunately, every page has errors. I haven't yet had time to resolve the problem.

Update: I've resolved all the problems I had with sf-active. I got excellent, quick help by posting to the mailing list and on the IRC server. dadaIMC was easier to install on my own, but it seems like there are more people working on sf-active.


"Personally, and I am just speaking from the idea of someone who thinks community is more important than absolute perfection, I would choose to stay with standard active. It's always bothered me that there are all these different forks in the project; they seem to keep people from working together and even to encourage competition rather than cooperation.

The impression I've had from reading the lists is that the people who started the first standard active codebase have always been very open to contributions from anyone, and yet people keep sneaking off and working on their own versions on the sly.

I could be completely wrong about how things have been and how they ought to be. I don't know much about software development. Maybe someone who does will speak up. But it sure looks like an ego thing to me."

--from a recent post to imc-women

My response to people who complain that there are too many different projects out there is this: think of Indymedia as a forest. Which do you think is more resistant to problems in the long term -- a rich and varied ecosystem or a monoculture?

-- humble (5/'03)

I've been reluctant to really commit to learning the Standard Active codebase, but from what I have done with it, it is very difficult to understand - in particular, using two different languages and having a mix of dynamic and generated pages has been confusing. I feel like that can only be the tip of the iceburg, because I haven't tried to do anything beyond the trivial yet.

I don't agree with people who put too much emphasis on conservative changes, and cooperating in the production of code. I think people overestimate the difficulty of (re)creating the basic Indymedia functionality. If Active had been aggressively refactored through its life, it could have grown into something good even from the most humble of beginnings. But because of the pragmatic fixes, it has gotten out of control - too many people fixing or adding something that works Right Now, even though it is a flawed way to implement something. That doesn't mean Active was a failure, just that it's time to move on. This time around we know the scope of what we are trying to do - something unavailable to the original coders - and we can design to the actual system we want to implement. Thought I fear Active2 has second-system syndrome, where it is designing a new system that we don't know we need or want, but that's another (somewhat related) issue.

-- Ian Bicking,, Chicago IMC

I agree that original Active could've done with more heavy refactoring as it went, however, to be fair many IMC's don't actually run a 'pure' version of StandardActive, rather something resembling standard active but encrufted with myriad hacks. And often the complaints about 'Active' really reflect the complications and difficulties of following local-imc hacks. In my experience a clean install of StandardActive from CVS is a lot easier to follow than what you see 'in the real world' so to speak. Nevertheless, that in itself is still a problem, and code bases like ActiveSf, MiR, DadaIMC are each (in my humble opinion) an improvement over StandardActive - each in their own way, and ready to go now. My last point is that I don't agree that "second system syndrome" is such a terrible thing. I think its great to see that people are thinking about the future and about what might be. Personally I'm extremely excited about what might come of projects like ActiVe2, once they are ready for primetime (which they are not, yet). Diversity is a great thing,and if you are working on any of the code bases, make sure you learn from the others.

-- MilesThompson - 07 Nov 2003

There has been a fair bit of debate all over on this, it would be good to draw it togeather here. For now point you to ImcUk tech list where Active to MIR conversion going on. See UkMovingToMir

ImcScotland choosing DadaIMC .

Also this may be of interest but it contains out of date info on freeness of DadaIMC . It is now GPLed.

-- SpaceBunny - 27 Apr 2003

-- MicahA - 16 Apr 2003

My two cents: the biggest drawbacks with Dada seem to be database performance and security, although Spud is working on some of them. It is released under the GPL now, but it still has a closed development model which slows down development. As of now, it is unusable during big convergences, which is why NYC is moving to MiR. MiR is still one of the most advanced CMSs, but it is hampered by usability issues and the difficulty in running a Tomcat server. It is also relatively slow, but the completely static publishing means that it's fast for the readers.

ActiveSf is being heavily developed, but the stable release is difficult to setup and admin. On the plus side, ActiveSf has an active community around it, and setup is not a major issue since its design makes it perfect for a shared server setup, and there are multiple shared sf-active servers. The next release will offer completely static publishing (a la MiR) and a much better administrative interface, among other things.

-- QuintenSteenhuis - 29 Mar 2005
Topic revision: r11 - 06 Jul 2008, PromRguez
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