Author Topic: [Fork you, SMF!] The birth of Wedge.  (Read 293564 times)

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Offline Arantor

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Yup, RC5 was mostly security fixes, though the licence stuff is still hanging over everyone's head - the sole reason RC5 happened was because there was a security issue found (reported by me!) and it was sufficient that it needed to be fixed now rather than wait for the licence/legal stuff to be sorted.

I honestly don't know if there will be an RC6, but I know I reported another security-related matter in the last day or so in combating the bots out there that were trying to hijack accounts, which may or may not be fixed in a patch and may or may not trigger RC6. That said, I personally consider the issue I reported this time more serious than the one I reported last time; the issue that prompted RC5 was not, IMO, serious enough to warrant the patch release - this one would be. But I'm not the dev team, I don't have any sway on what they do/don't do.
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Offline Nao/Gilles

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I don't speak Czech. What does it say?
Ps: I love Czech movies from the 70s :P
« Everyone knows rock attained perfection in 1974. It's a scientific fact. »

Offline Arantor

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I don't speak Czech. What does it say?
Neither do I but Google Translate made what looked like reasonable sense of it.
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Offline maxipes

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I don't speak Czech. What does it say?
Neither do I but Google Translate made what looked like reasonable sense of it.
Yes :-)
http://translate.google.cz/tra...machines-vydava-smf-2-0-rc5%2F

Offline live627

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Nao, if I may ask, what will happen to AeMe on the SMF side? Is it going to dissolve into the shadowy mists of time or will you pass the reigns on to someone else? (Am I an annoying twit for asking such?)

Offline Nao/Gilles

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If you're going to stick with smf it means you don't care about innovation, so why would you update aeme anyway ;)
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Offline snoopy-virtual

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If you're going to stick with smf it means you don't care about innovation, so why would you update aeme anyway ;)
Nice answer.  :mdr:

Do you mind if I use it when somebody else ask about my SMF mods?  :gnehe:

Offline live627

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Who said SMF isn't innovative with mods? :classe:

More people would convert to SAVE when Aeva gets dropped (Yes, some people are sheep, and sheep just use what they're told)

Offline Arantor

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Even though SAVE provides an inferior service, too. It really isn't as flexible with the different kinds of URL out there. But sheep will be sheep - which is fine since it means less hassle for us in the long run, since we're not trying to support multiple disparate things.

And for the record, I totally agree with Nao on the subject of innovation where SMF is concerned; nothing I have heard leads me to believe 2.1 will be that exciting a release, I really hope I'm wrong - for their sake.
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Offline Nao/Gilles

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Do you mind if I use it when somebody else ask about my SMF mods?  :gnehe:
Why would I.

@John> Well, technically Aeva Lite supports 200+ websites and Save has only a fraction of that, and it looks like vblamer stopped updating it at all. So Aeva and Save users are basically in the same boat! It all comes down to whether the mod will be updated if YouTube suddenly breaks. (Of course I will. It would defeat the entire purpose of the mod otherwise... And it's only a matter of updating a single file in the mod page, and everyone would have their stuff fixed in less than a day without action on their part.)
I don't think Save has THAT kind of flexibility. :P
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Offline Garou

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I can't believe how long it took me to stumble upon this. Well since I took a long break from SMF myself, its not too surprising. The main reason I went back there was because I picked up a new client that really wanted a forum and unfortunately I haven't found an alternative I like. I was doing some research for something when I found Nao's signature linking to this.

I never liked the politics (especially what is seen publicly) at SMF. When the excrement hit the fan over a year I was all excited about the project the "SMF Friends" (I prefer ex-patriots) had in the works. The concept of it being a core code to which everything else would plug into seemed perfect to me. Unfortunately that project seems to have died almost as quickly as it started. The project site was down more then it was up which led to me losing my interest in it and last I knew over half the people that were initially committed to it did as well.

It is my belief the mods, plug-ins, extentions, etc should rarely and preferably never have to modify the core code to work. It just opens the door to extra bugs and incompatibility. It looks like this project seems to hold that philosophy too. I like that a lot.

After reading this thread beginning to end I really like what I'm seeing. After all the changes you two have made can it truly be called a fork at this point. [Unknown] may have had Yabb in mind when he was working on his "secret code" but by the time SMF was released it was truly something different. Without seeing your code, what I'm hearing/reading seems to be well on its way to being something very different from SMF.

As far as those concerned about mods, they are in the end simply mods. If the original authors of those mods dont get behind this project, there are plenty of other people that would be willing to recreate the functionality of those mods. I can already think of several that I use on a regular basis that I will be interested in porting over, if I like the finished product.

I can't wait to see the project once you guys make it public. I have spent enough time looking at the work you two have done over at SMF to know that this will find acceptance way beyond just the two of you.

Good luck and thank you, from all of us who have been disenchanted with SMF for the last few years.

Offline Nao/Gilles

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I was all excited about the project the "SMF Friends" (I prefer ex-patriots) had in the works.
We all were, yeah... But it was interesting to 'build', if only as a confirmation that democracy is great on paper, but in any serious real-life project it can kill it very quickly.
That's why our fork is really just Arantor and I. Just the two of us as bosses, just the two of us as developers. Because we know the game. We've played it before -- sometimes we won, sometimes we lost. Put one and one together and you get a project that has now been under active development for the last six months and a half, with 652 commits so far, making for an average of 3+ per day. The SMF svn often remains silent for weeks, in comparison...

Also note that ever since I stopped all communication with SMF, there has been no single flamewar on my side. Interesting... And they said I was too unstable to join a team, eh. It was definitely not a problem on my side. *They* were too scared of seeing me join them, then end up leading them after a while. People with a vision scare them. Why do you think they've been stuck for the last 3 years on betas and RCs? Even SMF 2.1... They've started work on it. One would think that they would use the opportunity to put in all of the features they were prevented from adding to the SMF2 codebase in all these years, wouldn't they..? Well, sure. They did absolutely nothing. SMF 2.1 is already dead before it was even born...

Now, all we're waiting for is for them to release SMF2 with the BSD license and then we can officially take over. Problem is, they know how much work we've put into our project... The same way they were scared of taking me in, they're probably now scared of allowing our fork to go public. Because it will only show the incredible gap between the SMF team's work and ours.
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The concept of it being a core code to which everything else would plug into seemed perfect to me. Unfortunately that project seems to have died almost as quickly as it started. The project site was down more then it was up which led to me losing my interest in it and last I knew over half the people that were initially committed to it did as well.
Yeah... It was born in January, 'democracy' was brought in around early February, and by late February the project was dead. By the end of March, everyone had left -- either to rejoin SMF (ah ah), or to completely leave these kinds of projects.
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It is my belief the mods, plug-ins, extentions, etc should rarely and preferably never have to modify the core code to work.
My feeling, too.
Actually, I'd really like for our fork to completely prevent the ability of modifying core code... But it's hard than it sounds. There are some changes that can't be done differently. Still, I'm set on changing the terminology to call these edits "hacks", hopefully inviting mod developers to use hooks and external files as much as possible.
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It just opens the door to extra bugs and incompatibility.
Hooks are not the be all and end all of plugin programming, though. Just look at WordPress... Everytime they release a new version, some older versions of plugins become incompatible. It's not something you can 'fix' in any way. The only 'fix' is to no longer update the master software...
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It looks like this project seems to hold that philosophy too. I like that a lot.
Arantor is the philosopher, the one with a vision (and what a vision!). I'm just the one who hacks into the files, and either throws the hacks away or decides they're cool and keeps it. My vision is to write the software I always wanted to use ;)
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After reading this thread beginning to end I really like what I'm seeing. After all the changes you two have made can it truly be called a fork at this point. [Unknown] may have had Yabb in mind when he was working on his "secret code" but by the time SMF was released it was truly something different. Without seeing your code, what I'm hearing/reading seems to be well on its way to being something very different from SMF.
Well, I suppose it depends on how you view it...
Technically, you could say that some themes are even further away from the SMF philosophy than our fork is at all.
So, it depends on what you're looking at. If you use our fork for a while, you'll end up noticing that some things are different -- for the better. But overall, it's still based on the SMF engine. We did rewrite at least 25% of the codebase so far, but that still leaves us with 75% of the SMF codebase... Most of which is very good and doesn't really warrant a rewrite at all ;)
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As far as those concerned about mods, they are in the end simply mods. If the original authors of those mods dont get behind this project, there are plenty of other people that would be willing to recreate the functionality of those mods.
(Or even us...)
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I can already think of several that I use on a regular basis that I will be interested in porting over, if I like the finished product.
You can't port anything without the original author's approval, of course.
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I can't wait to see the project once you guys make it public. I have spent enough time looking at the work you two have done over at SMF to know that this will find acceptance way beyond just the two of you.
Google may help you here... Eheh.
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Good luck and thank you, from all of us who have been disenchanted with SMF for the last few years.
Wait until we go public and then you can decide for yourself whether it was worth the wait... (Hint: yes it will have been, eheh.)
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Offline Arantor

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They've started work on it.
Yes, I can confirm there is a branch in SVN for 2.1. Given where it is, the fact it's not in the trunk but is a branch and so far contains a variety of untested micro-optimisations... (I know they're untested because at least one has broken functionality) it strikes me as not being worth the effort so far. I haven't backported anything from there that I hadn't seen off the tracker (which to me seems fair game if it's in public) but most of it is full on micro optimisation rather than anything actually interesting.
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Now, all we're waiting for is for them to release SMF2 with the BSD license and then we can officially take over. Problem is, they know how much work we've put into our project... The same way they were scared of taking me in, they're probably now scared of allowing our fork to go public. Because it will only show the incredible gap between the SMF team's work and ours.
The official line on this is that it's still being tossed back and forth between the lawyers - yes, they had to bring in lawyers to negotiate the contract of sale of assets between the LLC and NPO. I'm not against that, given how much distrust and dissent there was, but it certainly doesn't make it any easier.

One of the comments was that it seemed like every time they got somewhere, it would be the weekend again, which is the real issue at stake here - it's not fear of us, because they'll do what they'll do regardless of us, but I suspect that once 2.0 final happens and we can start being more open, the real fur will fly once it becomes clear what might have been.

They're not worried about us right now, but I suspect it's going to be like Luke and Yoda - "I'm not afraid." / "You will be. You WILL BE."
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But overall, it's still based on the SMF engine.
It is for the moment. As time goes on it's morphing further and further away. When I get round to getting something committable for the ACP overhaul, then probably the single biggest element of SMF's codebase will have a fire lit under its ass - since the ACP accounts for a scary percentage of the code, and once it's gone (bearing in mind how much other stuff changes to accommodate it), I see the figures skewing much more towards 75/25 the other way.
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Hooks are not the be all and end all of plugin programming, though. Just look at WordPress... Everytime they release a new version, some older versions of plugins become incompatible.
Sure, hooks aren't everything - but it's a massive step up from where we are right now. I've seen a few mods appear using hooks, which are interesting, but the implementation of some of the hooks basically knee-capped anything seriously awesome with them.
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Actually, I'd really like for our fork to completely prevent the ability of modifying core code...
I'm not planning to remove that functionality, but I am going to make it harder to use; perhaps a prompt in the ACP if someone wants to do that ("This add-on modifies your forum's core files, are you sure you want to proceed?"), but I'll be looking at submitted mods to see what people are doing that warrants a raw code hack. Some ultimately will need it, it'll be unavoidable for some, but the vast majority case shouldn't.
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(Or even us...)
I fully expect to get into writing mods, I'm actually looking forward to the prospect to a point since I'll be able to get mods out there to fulfill the typical functions that don't need hacks (I have been trying to figure out how to engineer points in so that hooks or similar can be used, without having to use the joys of raw edits)
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You can't port anything without the original author's approval, of course.
This is a matter of no little debate on sm.org, so here's the full legal position:

* If you are the owner of the mod, go nuts.
* If you have permission of the author to do so, go nuts.
* If the mod is under a licence that expressly permits code remixing and forks (e.g. BSD, CC-BY-SA, LGPL) without any nasty side effects (e.g. GPL), go nuts.

Anything other than a fresh rebuild is off the table, though. It should be noted that I've been thinking about how to make mod data compatible; I've already said I wanted to make getting data from SMF+others to be an import process, rather than a conversion (you go into the ACP, press a button and say "I want data from <here>" and it gets it and pulls it into the forum that's already installed). What I'm aiming for with that is the ability to make it so modular that it can support pulling in boards and posts and stuff, but also that it can be used to inherit from mods - for example, if the user is coming from SMF+AeMe, that it can support importing the SMF core stuff and then AeMe. Or SMF Gallery Lite. Or any relevant content from SimplePortal or TinyPortal. I think you get the idea ;)


In closing, I'll leave you with a few thoughts.
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People with a vision scare them. Why do you think they've been stuck for the last 3 years on betas and RCs?
I don't think it's that people with a vision scare them. I think it's people who 1) have a vision that doesn't see exactly the same way as theirs and 2) have the ability to take that vision and make it real. Which certainly includes both of us.

As for SMF's vision and future, two things come to mind. Firstly, who remembers the "I'm a PC" / "I'm a Mac" ad campaigns? SMF is in that, holding a placard, "I'm a forum." Which is great, it knows what it is. But that's all it is. It's a capable, extensible forum. But there's no place in the vision for half of the features we're doing because they're not strictly forum features and so don't fall into their vision of what SMF's future should look like.

Daft as it sounds, I worry about SMF's future, because they don't HAVE a vision. The most solidly agreed points for 2.1 are: IPv6 support, maybe draft posting and decluttering the core to avoid IE6 support. Everything else is maybe and don't know. I don't know about you, but that doesn't exactly bode well for much happening in 2.1 or beyond.
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Offline YogiBear

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The question has been raised somewhere else on Noisen as to whether Project X (can't use its real name here) can any longer be considered a fork of SMF or whether it now exists in its own right? If something is 'based on' or 'inspired by' does that make it a fork along with all the legal hoo-hah in having to wait until SMF 2.0 Gold is finally released?


Offline Garou

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The question has been raised somewhere else on Noisen as to whether Project X (can't use its real name here) can any longer be considered a fork of SMF or whether it now exists in its own right? If something is 'based on' or 'inspired by' does that make it a fork along with all the legal hoo-hah in having to wait until SMF 2.0 Gold is finally released?
It really depends on how much code SMF can come in and say that's the same code we have. The closer it is to theirs the worse it is for this project at least under the current license.

Then if it were to go to court its a also a matter of how the judge feels about similarities. "This is almost the same as our code" or "you can see this is a direct derivative of our code". Granted its php and a lot of the code will end up looking similar to someone that doesn't really know what they are doing.

Even the friends project was worried about that and they were going to be more like a CMS with a forum included. With all of them having worked on SMF at various points its bound that some of the code could be questionable and questionable is enough to land you in court. Even if you win it can easily become expensive enough to bankrupt you even if you win.

Bottom line is that the US legal system is really fickle and it potentially becomes a big nightmare under the current SMF license. Once its changed its a totally different story.

For the future of this project its probably best to be private till the license change.