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Re: [phpGroupWare-users] Re: Various issues

From: Dave Hall
Subject: Re: [phpGroupWare-users] Re: Various issues
Date: Sat, 07 Jul 2007 21:06:16 +1000

Hi James,

On Sat, 2007-07-07 at 02:32 -0700, James Mohr wrote:
> Quote:
> > find a flaw, someone will probably fix it. want better docs, write
> them.
> As I said in the first line of my original post "I working on an
> article which will be a review of various web-based groupware tools."
> While I would hate to see a project of this scope disappear from the
> opensource map, I don't have a strong motivation to code or write
> documentation for a product I do not use. 

Currently phpGW is a large project in terms of lines of code, but we
have very few active developers.  I understand where Chris is coming
from, there is so much to be done but very few people to do the work.  I
too get frustrated (and at times annoyed) with people who say "hey its
all busted - fix it for me!".  I also wish I had more time to contribute
to the project than I do at the moment.

> People tend to migrate towards useful and successful projects. If
> there is essentially no documentation for a project, the ROI is very
> low, so companies are not going to implement it, so you are not going
> to get any "corporate backing". 

I tend to agree here, except for the corporate backing.  Corporate
backing can be a double edged sword.

> The first GW tool I used was PHPGW. It was and is too frustrating to
> use. On the other hand, I have donated real money to open source
> projects. Why? Because they are useful, which also means I can figure
> out out how to use them. Ask yourself why people are not donating real
> money to PHPGW.

I have given money to FLOSS projects too.  I have also given 1000s of
hours to FLOSS projects - not just phpgw.  Currently phpgw doesn't need
money, we need people who will put some work in - hence Chris' (poorly
phrased) point.

> Have you approached any company for support? I trade advertisement on
> my site for a number of things. HP and Brother (to name two) have
> donated hardware to my project. One company donated a server which I
> gave to one of the project admins. Needless to say he works a lot on
> the project. Don't whine because you are not getting the help. Go look
> for it! 

Sun gave me a 20kAUD+ server last week, I plan to sell it and use the
cash towards a deposit for a house.  Yes I could use it for testing
phpGW on, but I have a laptop and 2 others servers that I can use for
that.  When we ran our conference in Paris last year, I spent a lot of
time asking companies for donations and got a total of about 700USD.  I
think all up people were out of pocket to the tune of about 5kUSD.
These days I will be spending my (limited) available coding and
organising the project, not begging for donations.

> As a journalist, I have an obligation to tell my readers the truth
> about the product. I dropped one product already from this article
> because it was trash. PHPGW has some major issues, but is worth
> mentioning. However, I would not recommend to a company looking for an
> opensource groupware product.

I am happy to admit that we have a long way to go.  I am also a big
supporter of honest independent journalism.  I have no interest in
telling you what to write.

> My two cents: Stop managing 3986 different modules. If the user wants
> to read comics at work, let them download the module from somewhere.
> Fix the bugs and usability problems and only afterwards work on adding
> any "cool" features. Make PHPGW stand out from the others. Write
> decent documentation so that everyone and anyone can use. Stop giving
> RTFM answers when the FM is non-existant. Don't piss off journalists.

Sounds similar to what I have been advocating

> You said "The manual is done in a odd way that makes it difficult for
> developers to update and so they don't update it." FIX IT!

I am sure other people think other bugs are more important.  At the end
of the day phpGW is a volunteer effort.  People work on what they have
an interest in when they have time.

James, I don't really care if you are a journo, a user, a developer or a
millionaire,  I have little time for phpGW, these days, between paying
work and family commitments, but being told "FIX IT!" hardly encourages
me (or other developers) to invest time.  



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