[Server-devel] Does XSCE need a new Home?

James Cameron quozl at laptop.org
Sat Nov 30 01:41:17 EST 2013

On Fri, Nov 29, 2013 at 06:44:47PM -0500, Samuel Greenfeld wrote:
> The following are my personal views, and not that of my previous or
> current employers.

Same.  Disclosure statement: OLPC pays me for work, and OLPC may
benefit from XSCE, directly or indirectly.  It is in my interest.

>  1. At least for the near-term, all laptop.org hosting seems to be
>     in stasis.   It is not likely to go away, but without additional
>     help it is not likely to be kept up-to-date and/or improved.
>     My personal stance is that the items on paid hosting are at a
>     higher risk of suddenly disappearing than the items hosted by
>     MIT (dev.laptop.org, mailing lists, git, etc.).  Should OLPC-A
>     decide to go to a new primary webhost then the Wiki, RT, and a
>     few other things could disappear quickly and possibly without
>     notice.


>  2. Given the lack of publicly known resources being provided by
>     OLPC to maintain Linux software development (besides low-level
>     bugfixing), all XSCE may be currently getting by using
>     laptop.org is free hosting and a spot under the domain name.

Agreed.  And this may benefit both OLPC and XSCE.

>     It may be worthwhile to have someone contact the business team
>     at OLPC to see what their long-term plans are for Sugar, XS, and
>     open source software in general.

I disagree.  It would be more efficient to let them make the contact
when they are needing assistance.

>     From the outside it looks like almost all of their resources
>     have been shifted to the proprietary tablet product line.

While resources have reduced with the completion of the XO-4 work, I
disagree that all resources have shifted.  We retain the production

I also disagree with the implication that the tablet is any more
proprietary than the laptop.  The mix of intellectual property is
certainly different, but the opportunity for use is also different.
Therefore the products shouldn't be compared at an intellectual
property licensing level.

What is very different is that the laptop was ground-breaking
original technology, and the tablet is buy-in technology.  This
cascades into completely different community involvement models.

(I don't yet see how XSCE can benefit a tablet deployment, nobody
appears to have enumerated that.)

>     XSCE may still wish to associate with OLPC.  But as best as I
>     can tell the corporate side of OLPC has already given XSCE and
>     Sugar the cold shoulder.

I disagree.  Sugar is still an important part of the laptop, and is
a driver for orders and production.

>  3. Personally I would prefer to see all non-commercial hosting
>     consolidated with Sugar Labs.  They already have a multi-site
>     primary infrastructure, download mirrors, and a group of system
>     administrators who regularly keep things up to date and monitor
>     things.
>     Most importantly, almost all of their hosting is done by third
>     parties who do not have a financial interest in Sugar or XSCE. 
>     I do not mind if OLPC and/or Activity Central want to help host,
>     but the community as a whole should not be dependent on either
>     being present.

I agree.  If XSCE wants to shift hosting, Sugar Labs is the best place
to go, because XSCE is effectively a Sugar server.  If you ever remove
the support for Sugar clients, that would be a reason for not hosting
with Sugar Labs.

Organisations and individuals that benefit from Sugar Labs hosting
should disclose this where they are mentioned.

>  4. We are never going to find hosting that is guaranteed never to
>     go away.   Witness Google's regular discontinuation of products,
>     and SourceForge's apparent decline in favor of GitHub.
>     It therefore may be prudent not to rely on any single host to be
>     able to provide a role for XSCE, and take an approach similar to
>     Sugar Labs' dual primary sites.

I agree.  Keep good backups.

Meanwhile, I have no trouble with XSCE using wiki.laptop.org; my
earlier mail had to do with fixing user perceptions, especially new
users who are unfamiliar with the OLPC and Sugar ecosystem.

Communicating with new users is mostly orthogonal to hosting
decisions.  The content and layout is critical for new users, the
ownership of the HTTP IP address is not.

In my opinion, it was the content and layout of wiki.laptop.org that
the original poster was having trouble with.

James Cameron

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