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Re: FSD as a Git repository

From: Ian Kelling
Subject: Re: FSD as a Git repository
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 2021 04:46:51 -0400
User-agent: mu4e 1.5.7; emacs 28.0.50

Bone Baboon <> writes:

> I wanted to ask what people think about the idea of the FSD being a git
> repository.  This idea is motivated by this email thread.
> <>
> Here is an example of how the FSD could work as a Git repository:
> * The Git repository would have the normal readme, contributing, license
>   files. 
> * The FSD contents could be organized with a clear and deliberate
>   directory hierarchy. 
> * The directories and files would have clear and deliberate names.
> * The files could be written in a simple plain text format (Markdown,
>   org-mode, etc). 
> * A static website of the Git repository and it's source code could be
>   generated using free software tools like stagit and cgit. 
> * The FSD's plain text files could be compiled to HTML and served as a
>   static web site without JavaScript using free software (discount,
>   org-mode, etc). 
> There would be trade off between using the current MediaWiki setup and
> using a Git setup.
> Both Git and MediaWiki provide:
> * Metadata on contributions
> * History of changes
> Git advantages:
> * No graphical web browser required.
> * No JavaScript required.
> * A text web browser would be optional.
> * A contributor does not need a computer with a graphical environment.
>   Not all GPU's have free firmware. 
> * A contributor would not have to sign up to be able to make
>   contributions.  (signing up currently does not work without JavaScript
>   and cookies) 
> * The Git repository could be cloned and worked on offline.
> * Free software tools could be used to work on the Git repository.
> * Contributors can make edits with their free software text editor of
>   choice. 
> * Static websites without JavaScript for browsing the Git repository and
>   source code would be accessible with text web browsers.
> * Static websites without JavaScript rendered from the FSD's Git
>   repository would be accessible to browse with a text web browsers.
> * Once the content is in a plain text format it would be easier to move
>   to another plain text format using free software (Pandoc for example)
>   if that was desirable in the future.
> * Simpler server administration without a database.
> * Uses less system resources on the server.
> Git disadvantages:
> * Requires learning how to use Git.
> * Requires learning a simple markdown format.
> * Requires a data migration initiative to move the FSD's data from it's
>   current MediaWiki format into plain text files.
> * Requires individuals with commit access to the Git repository to
>   accept patches submitted by contributors.
> MediaWiki advantages:
> * The FSD already uses MediaWiki.
> * Currently works for contributors who have graphical browsers.
> * Has forms that provide validation checks on entered data.
> * Has reusable templates for common content.
> MediaWiki disadvantages:
> * Requires learning the how to use MediaWiki.
> * Does not work well with text web browsers.  Can not sign in with EWW
>   Emacs's built in web browser for example.  Not all GPU's have free
>   firmware and are able to run a graphical web browser.

It is an interesting idea, it could work but it would be a lot of work,
and probably not worth it. Maybe you want to create a prototype?

- Ian

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