[AlternC-dev] trying to temper the ruby choice ...

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The Anarcat anarcat at anarcat.ath.cx
Mer 15 Aou 01:02:06 CEST 2007


(Just to say first that I don't mind english and I am available to do
some on the fly translation for people that have problems with it.)

On Tue, Aug 14, 2007 at 05:35:30PM +0200, Benjamin Sonntag wrote:
> Hi all,
>     [ AlternC V2 ]
> So we (Metaconsult) just started to think on a v2.0 that may be written
> in php ... using a php framework
> We didn't started to develop anything yet, but really want to discuss
> this issue on this list ...
> Do we want to produce a v2.0 as soon as possible ?

My answer here would be "no". I want to produce a stable 1.0 as soon as
possible and start working on small, disposable prototypes for a v2.0
"some time soon" (which, considering my shrinking schedule, could mean
anything from autumn to next summer).

> It looks like some of the php frameworks available out there are really
> good to implement quite clean MVC dev.

I am sure that we'll need an existing framework, but I'm not sure that
any PHP framework is going to cut it. I think that we should start by
defining our needs and goals before choosing the technology we want to
use, otherwise we'll always get drawn back to this (impossible) dillema.

> * Quick framework comparison (the frameworks in this list are known to
> be the best php frameworks in php)
> http://www.phpit.net/demo/framework%20comparison/chart.php
> There may be some problem : if we use ruby, we may use it to handle
> configuration files management and server-side treatments.
> PHP will certainly not be the perfect language for this (shell scripts |
> ruby scripts | php scripts | perl scripts may by use for system
> administration scripts, but they are not equivalents ...) But it is
> still possible with php.

Yes, but it (php) sucks for this. As "ruby" in itself or any application
we'll design from ground up.

The idea was to join efforts with another community: AlternC is more
than a "control panel", it is part of a more general "configuration
management" problem. (In fact, I would say that v2.0 should be able to
control an arbitrary number of services and easily be extended to
provide SSH, FastCGI, WebDAV or other services to the users hosted on
the platform.)

In that perspective, we have the choice of reusing an existing piece of
software to solve the configuration management problem (ie. puppet,
cfengine, etc) or write our own. 

I would strongly suggest avoiding writing our own, hence the suggestion
of using puppet.

Which doesn't mean that the web interface can't be written in PHP or any
other language, actually. But I still think that the "thing" behind that
manages those silly configuration files *will* have to be a solid
configuration management engine, and I think it would not be wise to
start that effort without considering the available frameworks there.

> If you think about it, yes, it means that puppet will certainly not be
> used for this v2.0, but I also talked on puppet at the CCC Camp and the
> guy who use it for years in a German university told me that puppet
> learning curve is also huge, and that the developers don't want it to
> get to far away from a certain point of view, which will undoubtedly be
> problematic for AlternC (we are not maintaining many servers, but one
> (or up to ten) machines with many services ...)

I'm not sure I understand what you mean here: are you saying that Puppet
is aimed at managing more servers than your typical AlternC

>     [ Conclusion ]
> (regarding Daniel work)
> If we go and do the v2.0 in PHP, Daniel will work on AlternC v2.0 most
> of its time (at least 50% monthly), depending on the work he had on
> Metaconsult, collaborating with other developers to obtain a v2.0
> quickly. He will just follow the guidelines we give him. AlternC as an
> organization may also help financially its work to make it go faster
> (Daniel will, in this case, be 100% dedicated to the project) : in that
> case we may discuss this point in IRC since most of the informations out
> there may be confidential (how, how much, why & so on...)

We definitly have to meet to discuss the financial details, that's for
sure. As I understand, we do have some money to invest in AlternC, and
that seemed to have stalled after my original "bounties" proposals:


Now as for Daniel's work, I guess that it's up to you (Metaconsult) to
choose how he will work, but it's nice to hear about it. :)

> (regarding AlternC's future)
> At the moment, I guess we should go to a v2.0 using php v5 and Mysql 5,
> with MVC development & using something like Zend Framework, creating a
> modularized web panel.
I'm not too hot on the Zend stuff, I'd rather go with Cake, Symphony,
Seagull or ZooP, according to the comparison chart. We should also
consider Drupal.

That is for the frontend. For the backend, I'm still interested in
working on Puppet or another configuration management engine:


Otherwise, if we stick with PHP all the way, I'd rather look at what
other projects are doing (syscp, ravencore and gplhost are all PHP-based,
as far as I know, and are very complete software that we shouldn't try
to reinvent for ourselves).

In other words, for me, the only interest in AlternD is to get it to
work on multiple machines easily, with solid config file management and
easy extensibility. If we just rewrite AlternC in PHP5, we won't be
anywhere closer to this, in my opinion.


C'est avec les pierres de la loi qu'on a bâti les prisons,
et avec les briques de la religion, les bordels.
                        - Blake, William
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