Xubuntu Website Software (was: Re: UDS Karmic Goals)

Pasi Lallinaho open at knome.fi
Wed May 27 21:02:12 UTC 2009

Hello again xubuntu-devels (CC: newZ :),

My comments are inline. I hope it isn't *too* complicated to read the thread

2009/5/27 Matthew Nuzum <matthew.nuzum at canonical.com>

> On Wed, May 27, 2009 at 1:43 PM, Cody A.W. Somerville
> <cody-somerville at ubuntu.com> wrote:
> > Hello,
> >
> >  I've CCed Matthew Nuzum who is Canonical's webmaster. Being responsible
> for
> > both the Canonical and Ubuntu website, I'm hoping he'll be able to share
> his
> > insight and opinion on your proposal on switching to wordpress from
> drupal
> > for the Xubuntu website. My personal commentary can be found below
> inline.
> Hello, looks like quite a conversation here. Let me give a little
> praise for each of the OSS cms projects you've mentioned. I've spent
> quite a bit of time with each.
> Wordpress is a great blogging platform. There are few tools as easy to
> use for publishing blog or news related information. If your content
> largely falls into this format it's an excellent choice. You can use
> wordpress to create standard web pages (i.e. not blog pages) but once
> you start getting too much away from a blog-like site you quickly
> outgrow WP.

I see your point here, but being watched the Xubuntu website in the last,
what, 9 months, I definitely feel that it's not going to overgrow WP with
this amount of activity.

> Drupal is not as much a CMS as it is a web development framework with
> a simplistic CMS application built in. If you want to describe and
> publish all kinds of information or build simple dynamic content
> applications Drupal is an excellent option. Another thing it excels at
> is themeing. It has a very simple to use themeing system and doesn't
> in the least sacrifice flexibility. It is unfortunately much more
> challenging to configure and use.

I have to say that my personal opinion somewhat differs here. I've also
developed on Drupal (and WP), and I must say that the theming system of WP
is way more logical in my hands than Drupals. I see that Drupal (theming)
doesn't sacrifice flexibility at all, but the question to be asked is that
do we really need that much *complexity*?

> As you know, I've banked on Drupal for ubuntu.com. I've spent several
> years now creating a base environment and core set of modules so that
> I can do what I want to with minimal fuss. This lets me deploy
> blog-like sites, including the ability to aggregate content from
> multiple sources, or advanced multi-user content rich websites with
> complex manager-sign-off workflows. Drupal has plenty of warts but if
> you want flexibility it is hard to beat. To illustrate this further,
> I'll soon be migrating the Ubuntu Jobs page from a custom django app I
> built to Drupal using the views and cck modules. I'll be able to do
> this without writing any code at all (except for theme code). I didn't
> think I'd ever be bragging about building web apps by simply pointing
> and clicking but here I am. :-)

Yes, the point where you are now is built over several years. Even if I
think that's wonderful for you, I don't think that is something *we* should
try to achieve by all means. Xubuntu barely needs the basic elements of
Drupal (and not even all of that) so we definitely don't need complex

> > On Wed, May 27, 2009 at 2:43 AM, Pasi Lallinaho <open at knome.fi> wrote:
> >>
> >> Jim Campbell wrote:
> >> >
> >> >
> >> > On Tue, May 26, 2009 at 2:08 PM, Pasi Lallinaho <open at knome.fi>
> >> > <mailto:open at knome.fi>> wrote:
> >> >
> >> >     Cody A.W. Somerville wrote:
> >> >     >
> >> >     >
> >> >     > On Tue, May 26, 2009 at 3:58 PM, Pasi Lallinaho <open at knome.fi>
> >> >     <mailto:open at knome.fi> wrote:
> >> >     >
> >> >
> >> >     There is no need to start a flamewar about the subject. Again I
> feel
> >> >     that this is one of the situations where I think having experts
> from
> >> >     different areas matter - the experts in web should be listened
> >> >     more when
> >> >     we are talking about things concerning web.
> >> >
> >> >
> >> > FWIW, the Ubuntu server team just has a team blog up at
> >> > ubuntuserver.wordpress.com <http://ubuntuserver.wordpress.com>. Not
> >> > very fancy!  The launchpad team has a blog up at blog.launchpad.net
> >> > <http://blog.launchpad.net>.  The Kubuntu team does not have a team
> >> > blog.
> >> >
> >> > I do like the idea of having a team blog, though. A team blog is
> >> > different than a planet in that the team blog belongs to the project,
> >> > and the authorship does not belong to one person.  Also, the content
> >> > seems more polished than one might find on a regular developer blog.
> >> > (No offense to regular developer blogs . . . ).  I'm comfortable with
> >> > individual developer blogs just being on planet.ubuntu.com
> >> > <http://planet.ubuntu.com>, but if others feel otherwise - that's ok,
> >> > too.
> >> My point in "Planet Xubuntu" was to gather all the Xubuntu posts in one
> >> place, like Planet Ubuntu does for everything *buntu*. Xubuntu is a way
> >> smaller subject and I doubt that the PX would have a different audience
> >> than PU. I know it sounds like doubling things, but this is what I
> >> perceive. We also could aggregate something that is not aggregated into
> >> PU and point to related sites.
> >
> > I'm not sure if you misspoke here. You say that you doubt that Planet
> > Xubuntu would have a different audience than Planet Ubuntu. I agree which
> is
> > why I don't see the need for Planet Xubuntu. Furthermore,  I think its
> > important to clarify that the Planet is not about aggregating posts about
> > Ubuntu but instead the aggregation of blog posts by Ubuntu Members.
> Although
> > posts that appear on the planet are frequently about Ubuntu and/or its
> > derivatives, this is not mandatory nor expected. As stated on
> > http://planet.ubuntu.com,  "Planet Ubuntu is a window into the world,
> work
> > and lives of Ubuntu developers and contributors".

Yes, sorry, I misspoke. I mean that PX *would* have different target
audience than PU.

> >
> >>
> >> If we decide to set up a team blog which has no aggregated posts from
> >> the authors own blogs, we are growing our workload quite a lot. We have
> >> been very lazy in updating our website, the wiki etc. etc., but most of
> >> us have written our personal blogs quite conscientious. Gathering a
> >> Xubuntu Planet would in this light make some sense. The content would be
> >> quite easily updated, even if the post quality and appropriateness would
> >> not be as great as it would be with blog with no aggregated posts.
> >
> > I don't buy this. A team blog would be a communication vehicle to share
> news
> > and stories about Xubuntu in a professional yet informal matter. Content
> > would be planned and intentional, be peer reviewed before publication,
> and
> > have a clear objective/purpose. Aggregating personal personal blog
> content
> > would be counter-intuitive to achieving that.

What ever the goal was, we are in the situation that *we need a blog*.
That's what WP is good at.

> >
> >> >
> >> > With regards to our current site are the RSS Feeds for Xubuntu.org
> >> > broken?  Is Drupal limited in how well it can configure RSS feeds, or
> >> > are we just not using it right?  Pasi, it sounds like you are
> >> > suggesting that we move Xubuntu.org to Worpress MU, correct?
> >> If you are in any other page than home page, the RSS link in the left is
> >> not working. It seems like a bug in the HTML creating code, not sure if
> >> it is my fault.
> >>
> >> Yes, I suggest and stand for WPMU.
> >
> > This is a bug in the website, yes. I imagine that it does not matter what
> > software we use, we will run into these. I also imagine that this bug is
> > entirely resolvable.

I imagine it is just some minutes of hacking with Drupal and the bug is
fixed by me.

The problem is that it is really hard to test the commits made to the
website branch as we don't even have a testing server and pushing to
production needs your absence. And even if you were available, the code
might still be flawed (this has happened many times - I admit that I'm a
terrible coder!) and we need to work on the BZR ring again - together. That
eats your time quite a lot and I don't think it's worth it in many cases.
However, this is a completely different problem and we might have to think
for solutions to it.

> >
> > I looked on launchpad but it does not appear that anyone has filed a bug
> > about this. As we should all be aware by now, filing a bug report is the
> > first step to getting bugs fixed.

See previous paragraphs.

> >
> >>
> >> >
> >> > All things being equal, I would like to stay with Drupal to stay
> >> > consistent with the other Ubuntu flavors, if possible.  If an upgrade
> >> > to Drupal, or adding in additional modules, would give us more
> >> > features (or fix existing features), I think we should look at that
> >> > before considering moving everything over to Wordpress.
> >> I don't know how much consistency really matters in this situation.
> >> There is no place where the sites should be working together or
> >> exchanging content. And Xubuntu is a community-driven project after all.
> >
> > Jim didn't mention exchanging content. What he did mention though are
> > excellent points and very much do matter. The fact that Xubuntu is a
> > community-driver project makes them even more so.

Unfortunately I don't see the very excellent points (could you repeat
them?). I'm not saying that updates to Drupal or adding modules to Drupal
wouldn't give us more features and fixing the existing. Every software has
to be updated to be in shape. And as we are talking about Drupal and WP,
they both have modules/extensions, which can give more features.

What I've personally percieved is that even if Drupals community is quite
large, there is lots of "bad" modules that don't really work with any decent
version or they are so narrowly built that if you want any simple thing to
be different than what the module author thought, you have to tweak the

Also as we are in the situation where only you can do the updates, fixing
important bugs will take more time than with a personal site of an active
developer, for example, or a community site, where the admin really *has*
the time to work on things all the time. This would of course be the case
with WP also, but my picture is that Drupal has had more security related
bugs than WP (also because it has so much bigger codebase) and I've partly
lost my faith in Drupal not having those bad found-yet-another-security-bug
weeks. This is my personal opinion, though.

> >
> >>
> >> I'm not really fond of Drupal personally, and that of course guides my
> >> opinions about it in a community also. I think we can get to the same
> >> outcome with both Drupal and WP(MU), though.
> >>
> >> Migrating to WP (or any CMS/whatever) would not be really hard, because
> >> we have that little content. I've just migrated my personal blogs worth
> >> of ~150 articles, ~100 comments and lots of other things to WP, and it
> >> wasn't that exhaustive, even if I had to do most of it manually.
> >
> > Migrating to WP provides us no immediate benefit and would require a lot
> > more work than you're willing to admit.  Besides, what problem would it
> > solve?

With the current amount of content on our site, I really feel that migrating
would *not* require much work. I want to refresh the website layout anyway,
so in any case I would have to create a new theme, whether it was for Drupal
or WP.

It would solve none problems, except the one that I want to migrate to WP.
You are totally correct there. Sorry for being an ass.

> >
> > I appreciate that you're more familiar with wordpress than drupal but I
> > don't think thats strong enough motivation to migrate our website to that
> > software.

I think it is, as I'm the one doing the core maintenance. We might also need
to ask the opinion of Vincent as he's the web team leader, but if I
understood correctly, he's more responsible for the content.

The motivation to migrate to WP is locked inside me. It wants to be free! ;)

> >
> >> >
> >> > A bit offtopic, but I think the Oxford Archaeology blog is a good
> >> > example of a "team blog done well."  In fact, generally speaking the
> >> > other team blogs (Q.A., Launchpad, Server Team) are done pretty well,
> >> > too . . . It's just that the O.A. blog stands out to me as one that is
> >> > particularly well-done. For example, it has content you don't find
> >> > elsewhere, the posts are well-organized, it includes grahics where
> >> > relevant, and they break-up sections of text with different headings
> >> > to make it easier to read.  That would be the kind of professionalism
> >> > that I would expect from Xubuntu team blog entries.
> >> For what it comes to "doing a blog well", I think WP is far superior to
> >> Drupal in this matter. It is really easy to template to work as a blog
> >> and to show different kind of content lists, page layouts and whatever.
> >> >
> >> > Jim
> >> A note I would like to make that it is *totally* overkill to have Drupal
> >> for the website *AND* WordPress for the blog(s). As I've said earlier,
> >> we can achieve the same results in both. I'd still suggest going for
> >> WPMU due to its superior features and templating blogs.
> >
> > The blog would be intentionally separate from the website regardless if
> our
> > primary website was using WP or not.

The point was that even we were using WP for both sites, they could be
intentionally separate and look as so. Without needing to have multiple

> >
> >>
> >> --
> >> Pasi Lallinaho
> >> Xubuntu Marketing Lead
> >> Web-designer, graphic artist
> >> IRC: knome @ freenode
> >
> > Cheers,
> >
> > --
> > Cody A.W. Somerville
> > Software Systems Release Engineer
> > Foundations Team
> > Custom Engineering Solutions Group
> > Canonical OEM Services
> > Phone: +1-781-850-2087
> > Cell: +1-506-471-8402
> > Email: cody.somerville at canonical.com
> >
> --
> Matthew Nuzum
> newz2000 on freenode, skype, linkedin, identi.ca and twitter
> --
> xubuntu-devel mailing list
> xubuntu-devel at lists.ubuntu.com
> https://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/xubuntu-devel


Pasi Lallinaho
Xubuntu Marketing Lead
Web designer, graphic artist
IRC: knome @ freenode
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