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Update on alioth

Alioth has been in service for about two weeks now, so it is time for an
update on what has happened to it, and what is going to happen.

After our initial announcement we received a few comments on our choice
to base the service on SourceForge. The reason we chose SourceForge is
that it is a pretty stable code-base that is easy to install using the
Debian packages made by the Debian-SF folks, while GForge is still very
much in active development and preparing for a 1.0 release. We were
already planning on migrating to GForge at a later date once their 1.0
release would be finished and tested.

However VA Software contacted us as well; they were worried our use of
the SourceForge name and logo in various places on Alioth could cause
confusion or dilute their trademark and requested that we remove those.
Since it was easier to switch to GForge where those changes were already
made, we decided to do the transition immediately.

As with any non-trivial change, this switch has not been without
problems. We have been working hard to fix those as we encounter them
but there are a few difficult ones that will take longer, and most
likely a few that have not been discovered yet. A quick overview of
the most noticeable problems found:

* http access does not work.

  This is a bug in PHP4: version 4.1.2 as present in woody does not
  support ia64 very well it seems and causes various strange problems.
  We are planning to migrate to a back-port of a more recent PHP4 version
  which will hopefully fix this.

* file uploading has changed

  The current version of GForge only supports HTTP uploads, which are
  limited to small files. This is a problem for projects such as
  miniwoody which produce large files. Fixing this involves rewriting
  the file release system in GForge which will take some time.

* registration of new accounts and projects broke

  The transition to GForge broke the registration for new accounts and
  projects. The problem has been fixed and new registrations should work
  properly. We are working on cleaning up problems with previous
  registration. If you registered an account but did not receive a
  confirmation email, please try using the lost password link with your
  account-name (do not forget to use the "-guest" postfix!). 

* Logging in on quantz (the machine running Alioth) is slow. Very slow.

  It seems that OpenLDAP as running on quantz is not very fast. We are
  already using all the useful indices on the LDAP database and using
  nscd, but especially initial logins will still take a while. At this
  moment we do not know if we can improve this.

* Broken themes

  A few of the available themes were broken; selecting those broke
  Alioth for people using them and made it impossible to switch to
  another theme. This has been temporarily fixed by copying in default
  settings from the Debian theme, a proper fix will be made later.

* Permission problems on CVS

  After the migration the permissions and ownership for the CVS trees
  was not set correctly, making it impossible to do checkouts.

If you discover any other problems, please do not hesitate to file a
support request using the support request tracker for the siteadmin
project. Please do not use the Debian BTS, it is much easier for us to
have everything in a single system. At some point once Alioth has
stabilised we might switch to the Debian BTS, no decision on that has
been made as of yet.

I would like to thank Christian Bayle and Roland Mas for their work on
getting all the problems we discovered fixed quickly and properly, and
Terena for hosting it and providing us with more bandwidth that we will
ever need.

Some people have asked for the CA certificate that was used for Alioth:
this is the CA from Software in the Public Interest, You can get more
information on that at http://www.spi-inc.org/secretary/ .

The account and project registrations that came after Alioth's
announcement forced us to update the project approval slightly: projects
whose aim it is to (co-)maintain must now use a "pkg-" prefix in the
project name. This is required to be able to differentiate projects
dedicated to Debian packaging from projects where alioth is the main
repository of "upstream" code.

On behalve of the Alioth team (Raphael Hertzog, Roland Mas, and myself),


Wichert Akkerman <wichert@wiggy.net>           http://www.wiggy.net/
A random hacker

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