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From Rob Weir <>
Subject Extensions and templates
Date Tue, 29 Nov 2011 16:06:39 GMT
On Tue, Nov 29, 2011 at 8:51 AM, Gavin McDonald <> wrote:
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Rob Weir []
>> Sent: Tuesday, 29 November 2011 10:15 PM
>> To:
>> Subject: Re: Business models that will not work [was: Re: Can we update our
>> migration status table?]
>> On Mon, Nov 28, 2011 at 10:09 PM, Pedro Giffuni <> wrote:
>> > FWIW;
>> >
>> > I think a central site for hosting AOO extensions would be welcome. It
>> > would be fine to have such a site sponsored by donations and web
>> > publicity, and offering a share of technical support and commercial
>> > extensions would be fine too.
>> >
>> Compare, for example, Apache Maven with Sonatype's Maven Central.
>> This is similar to AOO and Extensions.
> I haven’t really read this thread, but I have a server here in AU if there really is
> nowhere else to host this stuff. Are there any specs on what's required?
> Or, shoot me if I got the wrong end of the stick.

Yes, that is the wrong end of the stick.  But it is an interesting
side of the stick as well, so I'll move it to its own thread, so we
can explore the options.

We currently have an extensions repository and a template repository,
kindly hosted by OSUOSL ( on our subdomains:

These repositories carry 3rd extensions and templates under a wide
variety of licenses, including a mix of open source licenses, copyleft
and non-copyleft, as well as non-open source licensed "freeware" and
"trial-ware" packages.  Because of these various licenses, I think it
is unlikely to be something that we could host at Apache, even in just
binary form.

So what are our options?

==Option 1: Remain at OSUOSL==

We could remain with OSUOSL hosting.  However, the existing site is
very unstable.  For this approach to be practical we'd need a
volunteer with Drupal skills to work with OSUOSL to diagnose what is
wrong and to restore stability to these services.  Maybe some sight
maintenance, upgrades or tuning is sufficient?

I think this would be the ideal short-term solution at the very least.

==Option 2: Move Critical extensions to stable host==

This is more a back up plan if nothing else works in the AOO 3.4
timeframe.  There are a handful of critical extensions that many users
will want access to, such as spell checking dictionaries.  If OSUOSL
is not stable when 3.4 is released, then we will have many thousands
of very frustrated users.  So with this option we copy the critical
extensions to Apache-Extras and point 3.4 users to that.

==Option 3: Clone OSUOSL repositories to another host==

In this option we rehost the existing repositories at another host.
So similar to Option 1, we would need a volunteer with Drupal

==Option 4: Host repositories elsewhere, using new UI==

SourceForge, etc.  There are ways, for example, to create
meta-communities ("Neighborhoods") at SourceForge across projects.
Similar things can be done at Google Code or elsewhere.  Take
advantage of these forges rather than maintaining our own customized

==Option 5: Re-architect the Repositories==

This is the option I personally favor for long term.  The downside of
what we have today is we have a single repository with a single host.
This is non-optimal for several reasons.  There are different needs
out there if we look at downstream consumers and/or enterprise users.
They may want to have a restricted or supplemental repository.  I may
want to make available to my users an interface that shows only
non-proprietary extensions, plus non copyleft templates plus my own
proprietary house templates.  Someone else might want to restrict
things differently.  Look at analogous things with Ubuntu component
repositories, with the ability to disable or enable proprietary
drivers and/or non-supported components.

In a new design we could start up front with a specification for a
data model for an extension, something expressed in simple XML, with a
query/fetch interface as a RESTful service.  This would allow multiple
repositories to look and behave identically from the data perspective.
 That then allows websites that aggregate such repository data, as
well as in-app browsers for extensions and templates.  Then you can
imagine AOO allowing a user or admin to enable any from a list of
several extension repositories to work with.

The other thing this approach does is separate the extension metadata
from the actual licensed extension.  If we wanted to have a canonical
repository of registered extensions, but without actually hosting or
storing the extensions, then that should be OK.  We're hosting URL's
to resources.  We're not distributing code.

(There might be some hybrid way of doing this as well, by using
SourceForge or similar for the underlying hosting, but then with tags
or a common extension.xml in the root of each repository, then
publishing data that we create our catalog from)

> (Happy to do the migration too if that’s needed)
> Gav...

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