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Re: [Debconf-team] DebConf - Next Conference Management Software

Joerg Jaspert dijo [Tue, Mar 21, 2006 at 11:20:32AM +0100]:
> As some of you may already know, we think about switching the next
> DebConf (not DebConf6 :) ), to another conference management system. As
> this is absolutely not intended as "Comas is shit, we change, no matter
> what" but more a "Look for other options we may have" we started a wiki
> page to list all our requirements we have.

Ok, I think you expect an answer from me here ;-)

I agree with your denied appreciation ;-) Comas is currently in a flux
state, which does not help its reliability, but as I am using the
beast for each time more conferences, it is evolving. Those of you who
took part of the DC5 organization will remember (IIRC) Comas was more
solid - This is because it was way more rigid. I think that Comas'
main feature now is its flexibility... In the back end. The transition
to the flexibilized back end was a bit painful, as too many things
changed in the assumptions I could do in the database, so we had
stupid problems (such as the logins not being forced to unique
values). The problems seem to be over, fortunately.

The front end is crufty, and I would not dare to say it's
maintainable. You all know I have been bragging about rewriting it
since last July, but the first months I had no pressing need to do so,
and the last ones, I've been busy as hell. Now, Comas is becoming an
official project of my institute (they were delighted at the amount of
data I was able to promptly give and at the organizative facilities it
provided for the conference we had last week, yay! :) ), so I
hope/trust I will be able to work more on it.

The system's main shortcoming is its lead developer. I suck. My lack
of time sucks. My management of the little time I do have in my hands
sucks. But Comas rules ;-)

When we started the project, we found no other usable system powerful
enough to handle a medium/complex conference. Today, after a quick
search, I found at least 8 projects (plus at least another one I know
of that didn't appear in the search) - I cannot right now devote to
installing and using each of them, but I can try to compare them to
what I know. I'll go to the wiki :)

Now, something we didn't originally think of, but has gradually become
obvious: Comas is not simply a conference management system - it is a
conference management framework. Why? On one side, because it was
meant to be heavily hacked on (i.e. the templates are supplied in
examples/templates/consol for Spanish and examples/templates/icgtmp
for English - Yes, the names of the two conferences we first managed
in each of those languages ;-) ). It is meant for whoever installs it
to be able to understand my and my co-developer's idiosincracies -
even worse, our idiosincracies in 2003. That might be the main reason
we have had few installs. I plan this to change, and I plan to provide
a framework _and_ a system that uses it _correctly_.

Of course, this all takes time. I perfectly understand Debconf cannot
hold for me to play with my code - and if we have to install a new
system because it is better for the organization, I won't feel bitter
about it. Or at least, I'll try to hide it ;-)


Gunnar Wolf - gwolf@gwolf.org - (+52-55)5623-0154 / 1451-2244
PGP key 1024D/8BB527AF 2001-10-23
Fingerprint: 0C79 D2D1 2C4E 9CE4 5973  F800 D80E F35A 8BB5 27AF

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