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Re: Discourse proposal status

From: Valentin Petzel
Subject: Re: Discourse proposal status
Date: Sun, 05 Mar 2023 17:04:51 +0100

Hello Andrew,

I suppose a system that requires by a large factor more resources for 
installation that it requires to run is not really a good way to do it. 
Renting an 8GB Server when you only need that 8GB for setup sounds a bit daft. 
I do not know if renting a server dedicated to managing a handful of messages 
per day is really a good use of resources. In my opinion the best way would be 
to have Lilypond use a small share of the resources of a company or communiy 
stable enough to grant that the system will be around some time. This is 
exactly what is currently done by GNU infastructure.

Renting a dedicated server would really only make sense if we had a handful of 
web services that really make use of these resources. Such a server might also 
be used for example to host something like Paolo’s Spontini editor. I mean, 
sure, it wouldn’t cost much individually if a few of us rented a Server 
together, but I think if we do something like this we should make full use of 
that server.


Am Sonntag, 5. März 2023, 06:04:40 CET schrieb Andrew Bernard:
> I'm still keen on Discourse for our community and have been giving it
> some attention. People have right;y said the full historical archive is
> important. David Kastrup usefully pointed out all the mbox archives are
> freely available, back to the beginning. Discourse can import mbox
> archives and there is a special import instance with scripts to load them.
> So I downloaded the complete set of archives and attempted to load them
> into Discourse. One problem that arose is that the documentation for the
> import script explicitly mentions that you need a system with 8GB of RAM
> (only for the import, not for normal running) and my linux servers are
> only configured with 2GB. Consequently the import fails. I use Vultr and
> Digitalocean and unfortunately upping the specification to 8GB plus is
> too expensive for me in my situation. Servers with extra RAM get
> expensive very quickly at these companies. So this is a problem. I am
> working towards a solution to work around this, perhaps doing it on my
> home server and uploading to a 2GB server later (but there are
> complexities with this).
> But, the next current issue is this, and I have come across this before
> when importing mbox archives into GNU Mailman 2 and 3. The mbox format
> is rather loosely defined, and there are lots of small variations. But
> worse, even when you look at our archive set the format seems to vary
> slightly over the years. Some messages don't get unpacked properly due
> to inconsistencies in headers and my import of a sizeable batch showed
> quite a few messages with the initial message fine, but then follow up
> replies just appended in raw mailbox format rather than separate
> messages. I'll have to study this in more depth and write some scripts
> to pre-process the mbox files. Tedious, but I've had to do this in the past.
> If I can load the whole history, then people can have a play with it to
> see if they like it. I also think I can get the Discourse instance to be
> a subscriber to the present list so ti would keep up to date. Of course,
> if people replied on the Discourse interface the lists would diverge,
> but this is just for proopf of concept.
> As to operational matters, there is cost involved by going outside the
> GNU infrastructure. An adequate server costs around USD$20 per month to
> run. The way I handle this in the communities that I support is to ask
> for donations. Generally if a moderate number of people chip in it can
> be the cost of a cup of coffee a month. It's not excessive.
> I think there have been some comments here indicating some
> dissatisfaction with this aging and somewhat limited email
> infrastructure, so I am encouraged to setup my proof of concept to
> demonstrate a modern system. I am also compelled to say that in
> practical terms the email list functionality of Discourse from the end
> user point of view is identical to what we have now with GNU Mailman 2,
> and you'd be hard pressed to find any operational/functional difference.
> So for people who reject web interfaces, in effect very little would change.
> Finally, I'd just mention that Discourse of course supports plain text,
> but also HTML, and has full support for Markdown, both from email
> initiated files and web initiated topics. This means you can do nice
> formatting if required, and in particular you can make clear tables. And
> as with most forums now, you can mark code blocks so that they stand out
> clearly.
> I'll post regular updates as I make progress towards a full proof of
> concept for people. And of course, if this was Discourse these posts
> would be in a distinct and separate category so as not to be noise in
> the main flow of the stream. :-)
> Andrew

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