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[leafnode-list] Re: leafnode-2 local news to web forum (or FUDforum)

On 4/1/2014 2:43 AM, Matthias Andree wrote:
Am 31.03.2014 22:27, schrieb Bulgrien, Kevin:

I'd like to pick out a few items, and use the opportunity to pick a bit
at FUDforum - if it cannot handle holes in the message number sequence
FUDforum is broken and must be repaired.  Any NNTP/Usenet-like client
must be able to deal with holes in message sequences and -- while at it
-- must not ever replace existing Message-Ids (which some other NNTP
packages used to do in older versions).

Certainly one must agree that FUDforum 3.05 is broken with respect to holes in message sequence, and that if this is broken, that does seem to raise the idea that perhaps other aspects of nntp support might be broken too. This is now fixed in version control (probably the next release). I reported the bug and it was fixed (within 2 hours of the report).


Apparently FUDforum was only handling 423 error responses and did not treat 430 as a recoverable missing message indicator also.

Your report serves to support my prejudice that most PHP-based software
is written by people who only know where they want to get, but not how
to properly get there, making unwarranted assumptions to reach a certain
goal quickly -- but not robustly.
   This is a prejudice and there are certainly decent PHP packages, but
personally I have only ever permitted one installation of PHP + Pear on
a locally-restricted server, and that's for FreeBSD's Tinderbox package

I will refrain from tossing all PHP-based software and all PHP developers into the same bin. A purist viewpoint is often commendable, especially in terms of developing a server like leafnode-2, however, at times the purist viewpoint can sometimes be overly constraining. I have seen PHP put to good use even if one might be advised to consider quality of implementation, standards compliance, and whatnot. To each his own, I guess.

3) Where groups exist like: site.group and site.group.subgroup exist
where both have messages, I had some trouble getting FUDforum to
render the forums sanely.  Again, I did not push really hard to
resolve this, as using a "general" forum for site.group.subgroup
seemed adequate for our usage.

Adding newsgroups where one group name is the prefix of another, longer
name, has always been frowned upon in Usenet because it caused issues to
no end through all the software, and is expressly forbidden in many of
the major established hierarchies, but frequent in anarchistic
hierarchies like alt.*.

Arguably leafnode-2 could check for and reject such mispractice for its
own local groups, but it's infeasible for external groups unless you
want to hide externally available groups.

We had only one instance of this, and it was born out of a failure to
anticipate the success of a product that would ultimately branch out
into various generations such that a single group became a bit unwieldy.

All in all, FUDforum looks commendable, and I probably will
transition to using it on a home server as well.  In short, with
appreciation for leafnode-2, I find myself bidding farewell to
something I've been using since about '01 and can't help but wish
it well even though it seems to have entered its sunset years.

Given the amount of work that has gone into it in the past few years,
the feedback that is coming in, and my spare time competing with other
open source projects, I find that the facts how much work has gone into
leafnode-2 have refuted my plans, and more importantly that the user
base of Usenet-based technology appears to be diminishing and moving to
mailing lists, and - what I personally find worse - web forums.

While the latter usually ship with reasonable full-text search, I find
them extremely inconcise and I frequently watch web forums haunted with
slapping people for posting duplicate information, not reading, and
everything -- which was much less in Usenet.

This mention and recommendation of FUDforum is meant to be constrained to possible use as a way of "archiving" leafnode-2's local groups and making the content more readily accessible under certain circumstances. It was not meant to constitute a general recommendation - though I did not necessarily communicate the whole set of circumstances and thought processes that led to a decision to use FUDforum. I am profoundly sad to abandon use of leafnode-2. Before I set it up on the server, all we had was e-mail. In the end, though, the information is more important that taking a position on the medium that no one in the organization uses.

I imagine I largely feel that the usenet mechanism seems better than the mailing list or web forum paradigm except for one signficant detractor for leafnode-2 : the inability (I think I remember right) to cancel messages from the local groups. This made for a mess when using the local groups as a sort of note board. Mistakes or changes could not be "disappeared" without meddling with the message spool in rather nefarious ways. When wiki came about, this lack in leafnode-2's local newsgroup really made it hard to appreciate the newsgroup as much as we did before wiki. I guess one could counter that traceability is important, but I don't think its hard to come up with scenarios where it is not needed, or is even distracting.

Still, in my case, a lot of points are largely irrelevant. This server was down to one user - namely me. For all practical purposes, the data in the news server was lost to everyone else. This is where a black/white view falls somewhat short. I would be hard pressed to agree that I should stay away from a web forum as a way of helping the organization retain a better chance of finding old information gone stale in the news server. A lot of discussions take place in e-mail these days - worse than all of the above in my opinion. If I can get people to use it, I'll take a web forum over e-mail.

The Lua contributor, Clemens Fischer, has disappeared, without my having
any means of contact and even checking whether he's doing fine and has
just lost interest (which would be fine).

It is kind of sad to see lights go out like that. Funny how you get used to seeing people's names on lists even when you don't really interact with them, then just stop seeing them around. I'm sure I've done that at times.

Not having a client does not count, however.  Perhaps your corporate
policy does not permit Thunderbird nor a purchased Outlook, I never felt
that leafnode-2 was predominantly used in corporations, and was never
advertised for such purposes.

Well, I guess I see your point, but it sort of ignores the aspect of browser ubiquity and the propensity for information about processes to get lost or obscured over time. What system these days does not have a browser? For sure our standard roll-out from IT does not include a reader. While one could argue for all sorts of ways to mitigate this, it is remarkably simple to give someone a web link without having to explain they will have to get thus and so software to read the information they are seeking.

Unless I have been blind to it for over a decade, Outlook does not contain a reader (unless you are talking about something other than what comes with Office by default). Outlook Express does, and for 7, Windows Live Mail does if you have to stay with a Microsoft product, but that's a separate download/install that the computer police would get involved in.

Sure, the client issue isn't really much of an issue in many cases, but it's hardly a non-issue if one considers a variety of factors relating to standard loads, user knowledge, etc., in an environment where use of software not sanctioned by an organization is somewhat difficult to pull off. We are a group of less than 10 guys in an organization with thousands of employees. We don't have a lot of pull. I hope most people aren't similarly constrained, but I'd hope I wasn't judged too harshly on finding a compromise in a difficult IT environment. (We have gotten cease and desist letters on use a number of tools. Sometimes we push back. Other times we go with the flow. All hills aren't worth dying on.)

I'm not sure what to make of the "use in corporations" comment. Who cares? If it works use it. I'm not sure why it should matter if a corporate user finds such software useful enough to incorporate into their processes. If things or people change - change. Our tiny engineering group, while in a corporation, did not follow what the rest of the organization did because we had special needs and IT preferred us to do help ourselves while they helped the herds with common needs. IT changed over the years, and it is now MUCH harder to do what we used to be able to do 15 years ago. I imagine other people find themselves in similar situations that are equally unfortunate.

Well, again, the point of this thread wasn't to convince anyone to move to FUDforum or to abandon usenet or leafnode-2. People have different needs, and this tool seems to have made it easier for me to assure the organization is more likely to find the ancient writings that were locked away in leafnode-2's message store in the off chance that a need arises when I'm not there to sing the praises of an NNTP server.


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