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[#] Sat Apr 02 2022 17:34:40 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar

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You're right, of course, which is why you could totally follow the development of WebCit-NG.   When you look at the current Webcit it's useful but it's quirky, and people can't quite figure out what it wants to be.  WebCit-NG is being organized as a set of applications that sit on a common framework, instead of a connected series of rooms that all do different things.

For example, "Forums" is one of those applications.  When you are in that part of the system, you are going to get a very traditional looking set of web forums.  This will be familiar to people who are used to phpBB or vBulletin or whatever.

If you move to the "Mail" application it will look more like a webmail system.    Likewise for Calendars, Wikis, Blogs, etc.

This is a pretty big change, but I'm coming to the conclusion that "Rooms" only makes sense in text mode, which is where the old Citadel afficionados are hanging out anyway.  There's also the possibility of a lightweight WebCit alternative that follows the text client's layout more closely, and doesn't use JavaScript or DHTML5.

Obviously we would love to have more people participating in the development effort.  Anyone who is decent with web development, JavaScript, and ideally the W3.CSS framework is welcome.



[#] Sun Apr 03 2022 02:12:59 EDT from smashbot64

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Sat Apr 02 2022 17:34:40 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar

You're right, of course, which is why you could totally follow the development of WebCit-NG.   When you look at the current Webcit it's useful but it's quirky, and people can't quite figure out what it wants to be.  WebCit-NG is being organized as a set of applications that sit on a common framework, instead of a connected series of rooms that all do different things.

For example, "Forums" is one of those applications.  When you are in that part of the system, you are going to get a very traditional looking set of web forums.  This will be familiar to people who are used to phpBB or vBulletin or whatever.

If you move to the "Mail" application it will look more like a webmail system.    Likewise for Calendars, Wikis, Blogs, etc.

This is a pretty big change, but I'm coming to the conclusion that "Rooms" only makes sense in text mode, which is where the old Citadel afficionados are hanging out anyway.  There's also the possibility of a lightweight WebCit alternative that follows the text client's layout more closely, and doesn't use JavaScript or DHTML5.

Obviously we would love to have more people participating in the development effort.  Anyone who is decent with web development, JavaScript, and ideally the W3.CSS framework is welcome.



I have all the aforementioned skills, most of them clunky and wonky. I was the head of development that everyone one the software side hated because I came back with human elements that the dumb public wanted. Software must be "useful". Lemme tell you lil about that.  The problem I see is our (I am on your side) team is faced with is that we have now come full circle. What once we did as a hobby with parents yelling at us is now an industry, and we are the leaders of such. That's an accidental incidental.

If I havent aged out, I can report this: the human input buffer is so much smaller, it is probably at record lows. I have a teenage daughter that passed the tcp/ip test at age 10. Thanks to the "net" being in her hands 24/7 her attention span is that of a gnat.  Fast forward, The content that is in their face is engineered and dynamic.  The game is instant gratification. So, in short, citadel needs to be mutillingual, USA ada compliant and like most distro installs Everything to Everyone, but the features need to be idiot proof. Pretend you are, for the first time, showing a monkey how to use tools for nose picking.

To give you a real world idea of how in my opinion devel should be designed for the current world audience, go to any McDonalds and order a whole bunch of stuff. When it comes to the total what you have to pay part, change everything you asked for. CHAOS. Humanity folds.

I could have just given you a java hint on code I found to be redundant, however I felt that directing focus to children are our future (intentional) was in order.

 



[#] Tue Apr 12 2022 17:12:52 EDT from ParanoidDelusions

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Linux... running a BBS that is public faced - running an email server that is public faced - is too dangerous to be a hit install.exe and click yes kind of option for casual users of "evil empire" OSes. 

Running on Linux is a great barrier to entry. The support nightmares of making it easily accessible to those kind of platforms would be HUGE. 

I mean, as Linux becomes more accessible, the Citadel Support group kind of illustrates that this is a growing problem even with Linux in the way playing interference. I see some questions in that room that indicate the people who are finding the easy install and getting it done actually don't know *anything* about Linux itself. I'm barely fluent - and I can see that.  If Citadel supported other platforms - the volume of that kind of thing would increase exponentially - all of them upset because they don't understand how to open ports, secure public IPs, handle DHCP, configure DNS - things that are pre-requisites to running a home server that is accessible on the public net. They would hold Ig responsible for "not making Citadel work right," when Citadel simply works within the parameters of how the larger TCP/IP network works in this regard. 

I mean - you would have to be a billion dollar company like Synology and basically have the Citadel check in and publish through THEIR server front ends, and all traffic directed to them - to do it that way. That is how Synology handles making their NAS devices "consumer public network accessible". The NAS checks in with their datacenter - their datacenter handles incoming requests and redirects via its database to the device. If you know what you're doing, you can avoid this and go direct - but most consumers that have their NAS publicly accessible are simply registering with Synology - and the Synology has agents that take care of most aspects of making that work. You might have to do some basic configuration of your firewall or router - but they've got dead simple instructions on that - and STILL people can't get that much right. 

 




Sat Apr 02 2022 01:39:03 EDT from smashbot64

 

I guess a fork is reasonable? One limitation I see is the software is not easily integrated with the ways of the evil empires.

 

 



 



[#] Tue Apr 12 2022 18:03:32 EDT from Nurb432

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Doesn't docker run on windows now? I thought it did....

If so, its a simple pull.  No Linux knowledge needed ( well you SHOULD ) but not really needed to get it running.



[#] Tue Apr 12 2022 18:45:42 EDT from ParanoidDelusions

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I don't know. Does Docker run SIMPLY on Windows? 

A lot of times, things that migrate from *nix to Windows don't really catch on with Windows - for whatever reason. I think often because install, setup and configuration tends to still be too "Linux-ey" for Windows users. 

I mean, a few years back there was a lot of FOSS buzz about LAMP and WAMP... 

Linux, Apache... um... M... and Python, right... LAMP... 
And WAMP was the Windows, Apache, MySQL and Python... 

But among Windows circles - I don't think WAMP ever had much impact. LAMP users don't want WAMP... and Windows users tend to stick to the corporate alternatives that are closed source. 

I can see Docker facing similar obstacles in the Windows space. In that case, Citadel wouldn't be the challenge, Linux wouldn't be the challenge... DOCKER itself becomes the challenge. It is this extra step that may be difficult for Windows users to gronk, even though it seems simple and obvious to those used to the concept in Linux spaces. 

 



[#] Tue Apr 12 2022 18:59:06 EDT from Nurb432

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You are going to make me try aren't you?  Ill try it this weekend if i get a chance, and try to think as an 'above average' windows user. Not a newbie, not a advanced user, but understanding a little more than the basics. 



[#] Wed Apr 13 2022 08:45:58 EDT from Harry G. Coin <hcoin@quietfountain.com> to room_CitaNews@uncensored.citadel.org

Subject: Re: [CitaNews] (null)

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Windows users accept virtual machines, and that's the place to run
anything Linux.  What happens, over time, is Windows is put in the
virtual machine on a Linux host. Mostly because people get tired of
'please wait' and 'reboot' so often.

On 4/12/22 17:45, ParanoidDelusions wrote:

I don't know. Does Docker run SIMPLY on Windows?

A lot of times, things that migrate from *nix to Windows don't really
catch on with Windows - for whatever reason. I think often because
install, setup and configuration tends to still be too "Linux-ey" for
Windows users.

I mean, a few years back there was a lot of FOSS buzz about LAMP and
WAMP...

Linux, Apache... um... M... and Python, right... LAMP...
And WAMP was the Windows, Apache, MySQL and Python...

But among Windows circles - I don't think WAMP ever had much impact.
LAMP users don't want WAMP... and Windows users tend to stick to the
corporate alternatives that are closed source.

I can see Docker facing similar obstacles in the Windows space. In
that case, Citadel wouldn't be the challenge, Linux wouldn't be the
challenge... DOCKER itself becomes the challenge. It is this extra
step that may be difficult for Windows users to gronk, even though it
seems simple and obvious to those used to the concept in Linux spaces.

[#] Thu Apr 14 2022 18:25:22 EDT from Nurb432

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Well both success and failure.

  • Docker for windows requires WSL. I didnt expect that and honestly thought perhaps they ported docker to windows native... but i guess i should have known better.
  • Installing WSL is a single command and not a lot of parameters to type.. so an above basic windows person could do that. ( all they need to do is know how to get to an admin powershell prompt, and type..)
  • Installing docker, traditional windows download/installer.  No big deal there.
  • run the commands to pull/start the citadel image.. still within reason. Just following direction "get a powershell prompt like you did before, and type this" no real understanding needed, yet. 
  • The citadel image started ok. Services appear to start from the messages in the console.

Then comes the problem

  • Cant access web-cit. I suspect a network configuration or some sort of WSL firewall issue of some sort. i'm sure fixable but that defeats the purpose of the test so i didnt bother looking at it. It needed to be "click install, type a couple of simple things listed in the instructions, and poof its running".  Almost got there.
 
Tue Apr 12 2022 06:59:06 PM EDT from Nurb432

You are going to make me try aren't you?  Ill try it this weekend if i get a chance, and try to think as an 'above average' windows user. Not a newbie, not a advanced user, but understanding a little more than the basics. 



 



[#] Sat Apr 23 2022 15:15:26 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar

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I could have saved you the trouble. I am running Docker on my windows desktop at work, and although it has a couple of different operating modes, at the end of the day it requires a Linux kerenel. Even though there is such a thing as Windows containers, nobody is using them. My point of reference is a large number of enterprise shops who run stuff in our data centers. When they transition their applications to "cloud native" they are also porting them to Linux, because 99% of the time, running containers means running Linux containers.

(Shout out to the folks who have been running FreeBSD Jails for decades and wondering why no one noticed.)

I don't want to get too much into the weeds here because this forum is really for Citadel-related announcements, but most of the time when you see something announced as a "Docker container" it's really an OCI container; you can run it on Docker or Kubernetes or OpenShift or any of the other container runtimes.
And if the runtime's host operating system is not Linux, there's going to be an emulated or paravirtualized Linux kernel in there somewhere. Uncoincidentaly, that's why Kubernetes runs faster on AWS and GCS than it does on Azure.

[#] Fri Jun 10 2022 10:37:57 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar

Subject: Thoughts from the build world

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Thoughts for the build world -- or, perhaps, a not-so-fond farewell to GNU Autotools (please do let the door hit you on the way out)

For the last 20 years or so, most parts of the Citadel System have used GNU Autotools as the build system (autoconf, automake, etc.) to obscure the differences between various Unix-like operating systems and create a single build process that works across all of them without significantly modifying the code.  As many of you know, actually using autotools is not exactly the carefree world they claim it to be.  There is a lot of ugliness you have to add into your code, lots of indirection and turning half of your headers into templates that get fed into autoconf, and of course lots and lots of complexity.

For the last few years, the build system for the text client has abandoned autotools and is using a much simpler build system, something I affectionately call "conf-IG-ure".  It is based on the idea that we no longer have to support Sequent OSF/Solaris running on a 36-bit AS/500 sideframe.  There are no longer hundreds of hardware and software combinations we need to support.  Today, it is only Linux and BSD that matter, and the existing body of open source software is so valuable that anything else that comes along is going to be source and build level compatible with what we have now.  In other words, open source has accomplished what the commercial Unix industry failed to do.

Conf-IG-ure does in just a few lines of code what Autotools does in thousands of lines.  The famous "./configure && make && make install" incantation is still what the user sees.  "configure" generates "config.mk" which is fed into "Makefile".  But the Makefile can also detect if config.mk is missing, and it runs configure if it needs to.  Very cool!   We run just a few short tests to check a couple of dependencies (such as -liconv being needed on FreeBSD but not Linux), and we parse just a few command line arguments to handle things like installing the software to a non-default location.  It all works very well and -- more importantly -- it is far easier to maintain.

The text client has been using this build system (if you can even call it a build system) for several years now.  ctdlsh has always used it, and the not-yet-finished WebCit-NG is using it.  I've been saying for a while that we will someday move Citadel Server to this build system as well.  "Someday" turned into "right now" last week when I hit a build problem on Autotools that I just couldn't figure out how to fix.  Builds that were succeeding on some systems were failing on others (including my own!).  So as much as I didn't want to set off on another side quest, the current effort is to move Citadel Server to the new build system.  So far it's working pretty well.  I also ended up removing the over-complex script that scans the tree for server modules, and replaced it with a single source file where the developer makes a location to activate the module.   Everything else is just scanned in.

The next release of Citadel will be using this.  We will be working hard to make sure it builds cleanly on the most common systems -- various distributions of Linux running on x86-64 and ARM (including Raspberry Pi, which is staggeringly popular).  We're going to need some help on FreeBSD (kitty?) but it should be pretty clean there too.  As always, thanks for being part of the Citadel family and I hope these changes make all of your lives easier.

 



[#] Mon Jun 13 2022 09:23:15 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar

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Citadel 956 has been released and is available for download via all channels (Docker container, Easy Install, and of course source code). This is good news for users with low-spec systems such as Raspberry Pi, because we finally found and fixed the bug that made attachments sometime fail to work on some of these systems. So if you were impacted by this bug, now is the time to upgrade!

Citadel Server is no longer using the GNU Autotools and has been changed over to our own build system, which is far less complex and should save a lot of trouble for people working with it at the source code level. We've also smoothed out the changes that will make it build with less trouble on both Linux and BSD, again thanks to reduced complexity.

There are no feature changes in this release, only bugfixes. So if Citadel is already working fine for you, feel free to let this version pass you by.
Otherwise ... Share And Enjoy!

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