[volunteers] [svlug] Linux to Politics ratio

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Sat Dec 1 22:19:30 PST 2007

Quoting Lisa Corsetti (svlug at flygirl.com):

> > The MoinMoin will SOMEDAY come about... and we'll host it
> > somewhere, as wiki.svlug.org maybe, and hook it up to the
> > "main website" after it's up and working.
> In that case, as Rick has mentioned many times, they don't even
> NEED to be on the same machine.  And, as Mark has mentioned
> several times (a while ago), it'd be nice if the main site were
> on a very reliable machine and then we could do wiki-type stuff
> on an experimental machine -- such as the VM host that you seem
> to love the thought of so much.  I always liked that idea, but
> it was always rejected.

You know, just on a hunch, while talking with Mark to Paul Reiber during
a recent installfest, I repeated _again_ (the latest of many times) to Paul 
the fact that the entire rationale for moving the existing Web pages to
a wiki was pure bullshit, that the only reason the project existed was
J.  Paul Reed having insisted on it for utterly nonsensical reasons,
and that I'd been hoping and suggesting for over a year that he and Mark
would decide to scrap it because the underlying justification made no
sense.  (As webmaster, I had felt I could not override Reed's decision.)

And you know what?  He looked startled!  

This is only about the fourth time I detailed the extremely bad reason
SVLUG started that project, but somehow the earlier explanations had
_never sunk in_.  

The history goes like this:

Early in Reed's presidency, he wanted to edit SVLUG Web pages.  I
mentioned it involved simple RCS checkout, that the Web Team page had
details if he needed them.  (RCS is about the world's simplest
version-control software.)  He attempted the task, had some sort of
problem, and immediately announced that obviously mere mortals could not
edit our Web site, and therefore it needed to be wikified.  (Which is

Just to be really clear about this, the exact steps are:

$ co -l [filename]  # check out file, set a lock
$ [edit the file using whatever editor you want]
$ ci -u [filename]  # check in file, unset the lock

That's it.  Nothing more complex than that.

Reed announced that he would adopt the first wiki proposal that had a
working prototype, and VP Micah Dowty said he wanted to use MediaWiki.
I objected, while Heather and I were talking to them at a Hacking
Society meeting, that MediaWiki's dependency on a database back-end
would needlessly complicate backup, and its reliance on PHP features was
an avoidable security risk.  Reed said, if I want SVLUG to use something
different, Heather and I needed to create a prototype. 

So, we did, using MoinMoin, whose only minimal system requirement is
just Python, and nothing else.  This did _not_ mean we thought MoinMoin
was a good idea for hosting the existing SVLUG site contents, just that
it was a _less bad_ idea than Micah's.

All of these details seemed to _utterly confound_ Paul Reiber at the
recent installfest, though I was about the fourth time he'd heard them
since taking office.

That was a bit of an eye-opener, one of many I've had lately.

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