Ruminations on the Digital Realm

Jan Stedehouder

Joomlarized

One down, three to go. Upgrading and updating various domains is fun to do but time consuming. When the old Visionplateau went down I ended up with a backup of my Open Source eLearning site, but without a lot of knowledge to restore it at the new hosting location. And, maybe that was good as well. I started building the site in Mambo, only to realize that about a month after I did that, the developers team of Mambo moved away from that project to start Joomla. Aaaarggghh!

This is one of the things I do dislike about open source development. The open source developers say that projects can always continue because the source code is there to use for everyone. That is considered better because with closed source a company can always decide to stop and you end up with nothing. Uhm, wake up call…… For people like me and tons more: when the developers stop supporting the open source project it’s the same thing, because we can’t code. We use software.

Another troublesome trend has been developing in the open source community, namely the lack of continued support for the not-so-sexy-but-vitally-important applications. With tens of thousands of packages that need to be developed and maintained (and with thousands of developers wanting to scratch their own itch instead of helping the other) there are always some projects that get more attention and are considered more important like, let’s say GCC or drivers. I still remember the discussion in the Firefox team where one developer stated he was basically the only one doing the work. Firefox? The love baby in the fight against Internet Explorer Domination? Only one developer? Come on.

Okay, let me be clear: I reallly, really, really appreciate the open source community. All those guys and girls coding their behinds of to create and improve software. It’s a social movement in the digital realm without precedent. But can’t we just prune a large proportion of the development and start helping out to improve what is already there? Less ego, more cooperation.

Back to Joomla. I got it up and running. And, what is more, I am impressed with the ecosystem. There are tons of free extensions available. Again I see duplicate projects, differing the one extension only slightly from the other, but the rating system does help people like me out. Only one week later I receive the notification of a critical security update. Noooooo, not again. Luckily the upgrade went smoothly yesterday. It looks like Joomla is here to stay. I am Joomlarizing all my websites in the coming weeks.

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