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Should forums.gentoo.org move to a commercial forums package?
Yes -- keeping older posts searchable is more important than sticking with GPL-only products
53%
 53%  [ 84 ]
No -- lose some of the older posts and stay on the GPL'd phpBB
46%
 46%  [ 73 ]
Total Votes : 157

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kraylus
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2003 6:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

viperlin wrote:
if phpBB has a 'crap' method of database handling then why don't the developers just change it to something better :wink: sadly i cannot help do this yet but IMHO phpBB is the best forum and all others are just horrible by comparison in looks and features phpBB is superior guess the database just needs fixing :-|


phpBB is certainly not the best. especially among the free forums. the reason we don't use the other free forums is because they lack many features that we rely upon.

the idea here is to find a good balance.

and didn't yo' momma ever teach you to not judge a book by it's cover? have you actually seen the server stats for a phpbb powered forum? terrible!

ryan
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2003 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This not exactly an easy choice. How many post/how far back would you need to delete to keep the current (GPL'ed) solution? Would it be possible to only delete among the less serious threads (e.g. off-the-wall), while keeping all the threads in forums like hardware?

On a side note, I have sometimes wondered if it would be possible to delete old, unanswered questions, or perhaps threads with no views in a long time.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2003 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My few eurocents:
Is it possible to identify the point of failure? Is it really phpBB itself (overloaded apache) or is it more the db (overloaded mysql).
Have you contacted phpBB about scaling issuses?
Have you considered moving to another db? postgresql has the reputation of being faster, but I don't know wether it makes a difference here.

Hope this helps
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2003 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The largest forum I know has a forum system written especially for them (forum : http://gathering.tweakers.net system : http://www.parse.nl/ ) but even they had problems with their search capability (for comparison: it has 70k users and over 10 million posts), so they now use a special search engine, called omega-search. It is open source, and developed by Xapian

http://www.xapian.org/index.php

http://freshmeat.net/releases/132928/

Though it is far from perfect, it allows them to manage a 9.5+ GB keyword table.

As for the original subject, GPL forum vs. non-GPL forum, I think no existing forum will scale much beyond this in search functionality. http://gathering.tweakers.net has problems, they are moving to a dual opteron system, with 6 GB of RAM for their database server.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2003 11:44 am    Post subject: Re: Invision Reply with quote

shdwrnnr wrote:
It looks like Invison Board does not cost any money unless you want technical support from them or want to remove their copyright notice. I'm not at all suggesting that Invision is Free with a capital F, but I thought this worthy of mention.
...
Invision Power Board License Agreement

That's free enough for me.

Stroller.
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ian!
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2003 12:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Financial Co$t! Reply with quote

klieber wrote:
We don't have the luxury of time -- we need to do something with a timeframe measured in days or weeks, not one measured in months.

--kurt


I agree with klieber. We do need a replacement now. I do not want to lose posts or threads.
We can go back to phpBB if it fits our needs.

ian!
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Braempje
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2003 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

klieber wrote:
Just as a follow-up, another commercial package we would look at would be Invision, which has also received good marks on speed. However, it's still a commercial package, so the questions/decisions above remain the same.


This one seems pretty good, the license is free enough to me, but please test it before making decisions. Can this one scale to what we want?
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2003 2:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Migrating to a commercial PHP-based forums package Reply with quote

klieber wrote:
Without going into the gory details, most of these issues have to do with the inefficient way phpBB 2.0.x interacts with the database.

The fact that you have the gory details and have identified the problem is good enough, the first step towards finding a solution.

  • We have identified the problem.
  • We have the talent and skills to find a solution.
  • We clearly have funds available, which could be used to sponsor the development if nescessary.
  • We have the opportunity to give back to the community by improving the scalability of software we have been using.
  • We also have a real-world installation of the phpBB software that could give the developers a chance to analyse and profile their code in a production environment.
This is absolutely a positive thing, the fact that we can do something to help the developers and community who gave us this software that we use everyday.
klieber wrote:
It's certainly a gray area, and it's one of the reasons I posted my original question

Its certainly not a grey area, its black and white.

Quote:
"We will give back to the Free Software Community"
"We will establish relationships with Free Software authors and collaborate when possible"

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2003 2:43 pm    Post subject: Xapian search Reply with quote

fca wrote:
so they now use a special search engine, called omega-search. It is open source, and developed by Xapian

http://www.xapian.org/index.php


I've used this recently, handling a 28G+ web search database, and it just returns results instantly, everytime! It's stonkingly fast. I was working with one of it's developers, and now work with his brother (small world).
It can return simple HTML, or more usefully XML, all done via HTTP.

Mike
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2003 2:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Migrating to a commercial PHP-based forums package Reply with quote

taviso wrote:
but branding those of us who do believe in freedom in software, speech, ideas, etc. zealots is unfair, imho.


not sure on that one, sport. you sure sound like a zealot to me. in any case, you seem to be someone with a whole lot of answers. why don't you go ahead and get cracking on fixing the forum software for us. get your buddies together, grab a keg of beer (i'll pay for it) and get hacking on that code.

think you can meet the time constraints? would you be able to optimise the code within a one week period? kurt did mention that time is of the essence and we can't be dilly-dallying around.

so get crackin'.

ryan

p.s. send me the bill for the keg if you get done on time.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2003 3:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Migrating to a commercial PHP-based forums package Reply with quote

kraylus wrote:
not sure on that one, sport. you sure sound like a zealot to me. in any case, you seem to be someone with a whole lot of answers.

Well slick, thankyou for your opinion, which is clearly well informed and reasoned.
kraylus wrote:
Someone mentioned that we could avoid the whole moral idea by having the kind folks at vbulletin donate their software to Gentoo.

Good luck with that one, why would they donate the code that puts food on their tables to us?
Kaylus wrote:
So technically, it's being donated by me for an indefinite amount of time. Would that count?

No, technically the code is the property of Jelsoft corporation, and you have no right to donate it to anyone, you can transfer the license to use it and thats about it.

My `answers` are merely opinions as a Gentoo developer, user and community member.

Kaylus wrote:
why don't you go ahead and get cracking on fixing the forum software for us. get your buddies together, grab a keg of beer (i'll pay for it) and get hacking on that code. think you can meet the time constraints? would you be able to optimise the code within a one week period? kurt did mention that time is of the essence and we can't be dilly-dallying around.


Calm down there slick, a community doesnt consist of one person, I stated that we, the gentoo and free software community, have the skills and talent to overcome this challenge. I DO believe the community can work together to get this working, im sorry that you dont think that we're up to the challenge and a sell-out is the only option. I sincerely hope we get the opportunity to prove you wrong.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2003 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would like to support taviso on this one. The gentoo community can do a lot. I think if helping the phpBB community improving their product is what open source is all about. Let's put it this way: if Linus didn't open source his kernel, would there be linux 2.6pre by now? I don't think so, because he wouldn't have enough time.
I'm sure that a lot of people will be willing to help improve their forums, let's not forget that gentoo users are very happy about their forums. And this is a speed issue, a gentooer's favourite subject :)
My suggestion is therefor to call for help on phpBB, and see what you get. Imho there will be enough support to improve phpBB, specifically the db part, and we will have the forums run smooth again.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2003 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would also appreciate it if the forum stayed on open-source software. The scalability improvements which could result from adapting software to this forum would then be able to be used by the community.

As for the omega search I mentioned above, I asked about it at the other forum, and it seems to scale very good, but it needs a custom (not yet written for phpBB) interface with the forum software in order to work. Maybe that is a simpler option?
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2003 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I must say that I am also against using non-GPL software and abandoning the open-source alternatives because they don't meet our needs at this time.

Possible solution:

1. Backup the current db in full.
2. Prune the db of old posts or whatever else is necessary to allow the forums to run at an acceptable speed for the interum.
3. Use the monitary and technical prowess of the Gentoo Community to contribute back to the Open Source Community by helping improve phpBB2 to a level that is sufficient to handle the load of the Gentoo Forums.
4. Once the latest release of phpBB2 becomes available, upgrade to it and use the backuped db to restore the old posts.

Note - I am not a db programmer. I don't know how difficult it would be to amalgamate 2 databases, but I'm sure that there are people on this board who would think it a trivial task.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2003 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Braempje wrote:
Let's put it this way: if Linus didn't open source his kernel, would there be linux 2.6pre by now?

Let's put it this way: Linus uses BitKeeper to manage his kernel sources. Why? Because there was no open source solution that met his requirements.
Braempje wrote:
My suggestion is therefor to call for help on phpBB, and see what you get. Imho there will be enough support to improve phpBB, specifically the db part, and we will have the forums run smooth again.

Fine -- no problem. Have the software fixed and ready to go by Friday of this week and we'll be able to stay on phpBB2 without pruning anything.

Unfortunately, some folks appear not to be hearing or grasping the fact that we do not have the luxury of time. I've already stated that phpBB 2.2 is being worked on and is supposed to address these performance problems. However, let me say it one more time, in big, bold letters:
  • phpBB 2.2 has no set release date
  • We have no way of knowing (now) whether or not it will fix the performance problems
  • we have an immediate, immutable requirement to do something to improve performance.

So, while it's all noble and such to say "rally the troops, let's make phpBB2 better!" that does not help us here and now.

Again, I reiterate, we have two choices. Stay on phpBB2 and prune posts or move to something that scales better.

--kurt
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2003 4:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Migrating to a commercial PHP-based forums package Reply with quote

taviso wrote:
Its certainly not a grey area, its black and white.

I really have nothing to say about this. Your message was offensive and completely missed the mark.

If you want to be pissed off at me because I don't share your viewpoints, feel free to do so in some other forum. However, if you're going to participate in this discussion, please offer helpful, realistic solutions that fix the problem at hand.

--kurt
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2003 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Folks -- I just want to clear one thing up. I am not pushing for one solution over the other. I have my own preferences and beliefs, yes, but it's actually less work for us to stick with phpBB and start pruning posts. That's something I can do right now and if the consensus is that that is what we want to do, then I'm happy to do it.

That is something of a drastic solution, however, which is why I am soliciting your feedback and offering you an option. If you (as a community) decide you would rather keep those older posts, then we are willing to put in the extra work necessary to convert us over to a more scalable system.

So, to be clear, I am not making the decision -- you are.

--kurt
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2003 4:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Migrating to a commercial PHP-based forums package Reply with quote

klieber wrote:
I really have nothing to say about this. Your message was offensive and completely missed the mark.

Apologies, it wasnt intended that way. Re-reading it, i should have rephrased it completely.
klieber wrote:
If you want to be pissed off at me because I don't share your viewpoints, feel free to do so in some other forum. However, if you're going to participate in this discussion, please offer helpful, realistic solutions that fix the problem at hand.

I'm not pissed off at you at all, I was trying to participate in the discussion and offer my opinion (i dont agree with your viewpoint, but i wasnt trying to offend you).
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2003 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

klieber wrote:
So, to be clear, I am not making the decision -- you are.


Ok! :wink: Would it help if moderators delete threads that are no longer of any interest of the community? E.g. Problems with "Gentoo 1.2" or general "chat" in other forums then "Chat" or "Off the wall"?

Regards,
ian!
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2003 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

klieber wrote:
Braempje wrote:
Let's put it this way: if Linus didn't open source his kernel, would there be linux 2.6pre by now?

Let's put it this way: Linus uses BitKeeper to manage his kernel sources. Why? Because there was no open source solution that met his requirements.

Not when it was a small kernel, but you do have a point.

klieber wrote:
Braempje wrote:
My suggestion is therefor to call for help on phpBB, and see what you get. Imho there will be enough support to improve phpBB, specifically the db part, and we will have the forums run smooth again.

Fine -- no problem. Have the software fixed and ready to go by Friday of this week and we'll be able to stay on phpBB2 without pruning anything.

So, while it's all noble and such to say "rally the troops, let's make phpBB2 better!" that does not help us here and now


My mistake, I hadn't seen the other post with the other problems. Just trying to help here :oops:
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2003 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A bit of input on vB forums...

Another forum I frequent, www.chiefdelphi.com, the unofficial-official FIRST Robotics Forum, runs on vB 2. We've been told for about a year now, vB 3 was around the corner, and it'd be kind of dumb to go to vB 2 this Friday, and then vB 3 next Friday, although I doubt that'd happen.

Another problem, the chiefdelphi forums were running on a VPS (Virtual Private Server) I think, and we didn't have enough memory, so the forums basically died on "Kickoff" when everyone in the FIRST Robotics program went to the forums at the same time. Granted, Gentoo has much better hardware, but that's my biggest concern.

As for using vB (or other solution) compared to phpBB, who cares? I have to use Windows for some things, school, some games I like to play on occasion, probably for the programming of the robot for the aforemention FIRST Robotics Competition, etc. Why? There is no open source program that can even come close to my needs in those areas. Do I like that? Not really. Do I suck it up and use something I don't like? Yes, cause I don't have a choice.

Bottom line, suck it up, and use something that you have to pay for, if it means that we'll be able to keep the wealth of information on the forums.

As a immediate help, as ian! (not me, ian) mentioned, the moderators should start actively searching out posts that are old/pointless, possibly stuff in the Duplicate Threads forum, things that don't need to be saved. It might not help, but it certainly doesn't hurt.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2003 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would someone care to comment on my original post on this topic?

Quote:

Possible solution:

1. Backup the current db in full.
2. Prune the db of old posts or whatever else is necessary to allow the forums to run at an acceptable speed for the interum.
3. Use the monitary and technical prowess of the Gentoo Community to contribute back to the Open Source Community by helping improve phpBB2 to a level that is sufficient to handle the load of the Gentoo Forums.
4. Once the latest release of phpBB2 becomes available, upgrade to it and use the backuped db to restore the old posts.

Note - I am not a db programmer. I don't know how difficult it would be to amalgamate 2 databases, but I'm sure that there are people on this board who would think it a trivial task.


At the very least, it will buy the forums some time so that this is not an emergency situation.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2003 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

really bad idea but maybe:

for now a seperate server per section (offtopic, hardware, )

just throwing out ideas to try and help :-) i thought the point of a forum wa to get bloated with info, i didn't know the limit would be like 1.6GB....hmm
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2003 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

klieber wrote:
Folks -- I just want to clear one thing up. I am not pushing for one solution over the other. I have my own preferences and beliefs, yes, but it's actually less work for us to stick with phpBB and start pruning posts. That's something I can do right now and if the consensus is that that is what we want to do, then I'm happy to do it.

That is something of a drastic solution, however, which is why I am soliciting your feedback and offering you an option. If you (as a community) decide you would rather keep those older posts, then we are willing to put in the extra work necessary to convert us over to a more scalable system.

So, to be clear, I am not making the decision -- you are.

--kurt

My question is what about people who have certain posts bookmarked? Will I loose all of the posts that I bookmark (to read later, to look over, help with future installs/projects) if we decide to start "pruning posts". Thats would seriously suck! And if you "prune" old posts, what about Documentation, Tips and Tricks? Thats a forum that I think should definatly not be pruned (where most of my bookmarks are :D). Just my thoughts/opinions.

--sonik
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2003 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think this thread is a very important one, so I linked it as "announce" in the italian forum.
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