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New Search for openSUSE Wiki

September 10th, 2010 by

Here is the news that a lot of you have been waiting for!  The new wikis (en.opensuse.org, languages.opensuse.org, and dewiki.opensuse.org) have been switched to the new Lucene search engine.  The legacy wikis are still running the old search, but they will start using Lucene as they are migrated to the new wiki system.  So what should users expect with the new search?

Relevance and Ranking

The new search uses more complex algorithms to determine search rankings.  This means that you can find what you want faster.

Suggestions

The new search engine can produce suggestions based on the wiki content.  This means that it can suggest names, obscure terms, and other words that wouldn’t be found in a standard dictionary.  In addition, it can provide suggestions for whole phrases, even if all the words within the phrase are correct.

Fuzzy Searching

Not sure how to spell it?  Just add ~ at the end of the word or term!  For example, the search term “linus~” will return results for Linus, Linux, and any other similar word.

Related Articles

If you click on the “Related” link by a particular search result, you can view all related articles.  Two articles are considered related if they are both referenced in a third article, so this feature will get better as the wikis continue to grow.

Wildcards and Namespace Searching

These are actually not new features, but some people might not be aware of them at all.  If you want to search on a specific namespace, you can prefix the namespace to the query with a colon.  For example, if you only want to search the support database for information about Nvidia, just use the term “sdb: nvidia”.  If you want to search all namespaces for Nvidia, just use “all: nvidia”.

Wildcard searches work exactly the same way as before.  You can use a * either at the beginning or the end of the word, but not in the middle.  Single character wildcards (?) are not available, as with the default search.  However, the fuzzy search can handle that functionality much better, so consider using that in its place.

Stemming and Synonyms

Basic word stemming is available for the more common languages (English, German, Spanish, etc.).  For example, the term “stopped” will return results for “stop” and “stops”.  Synonym searching is available for English but is not enabled yet.  If enabled, this will allow for context free synonyms to be searched, such as “11″ in place of “eleven”.

Indexing

For now, the index will be rebuilt once a day, which means changes should show up in the search within 24 hours.  After some performance review, indexing will probably start happening more frequently.

Many thanks to Robert Stojnić for creating such a fantastic search engine and for his personal assistance on a technical issue I had while implementing it.

As usual, problems should be directed to webmaster@opensuse.org or the wiki mailing list.  Thanks!

Canning the Spam

August 6th, 2010 by

The new wiki has attracted a lot of attention from users and contributors of openSUSE.  Unfortunately, it has also gained the attention of spammers, as the wiki team has been noticing over the last week or so.  In large part, this activity has come from dummy Novell/openSUSE accounts created by spammers.  While the wiki team can block these users, it is just as easy for the spammers to create new ones.

To curb this abuse of the wiki, the decision has been made to require all wiki editors to verify their email address.  Most openSUSE users have already done this while creating their account and should not be affected.  Users who have not validated their email address yet can do so at https://secure-www.novell.com/selfreg/jsp/protected/validateEmail.jsp.

Starting early next week, unvalidated users who are logged in to an opensuse.org site and attempt to visit the wiki will be redirected to this page, which provides more detail about the process.  This redirect is designed to happen only once per browser session, as a reminder to unvalidated users as to why they cannot log into the wiki.

While email validation is hardly fun (what form of spam control is?), this is one of the very best ways to keep the wiki free of spam.  Thank you for doing your part!

New wiki, what now?

July 12th, 2010 by

We just switched to the new wiki. So here it is. And now? Let me explain what you can do to help!

Create your user page

Every user of the wiki has a personal page and we did not transfer any of them. We wanted to use this opportunity to brush them up and standardize them. Your userpage should be your first task in the new wiki. If your username is Geeko, just go to http://en.opensuse.org/User:Geeko and press “create”.  After that load the userpage teamplate by pressing on the “Load” button. Then fill out the form and you will get a nice standardized userpage!

You can also of course transfer your old userpage. Just go to http://old-en.opensuse.org/User:Geeko to find the content.

Report Missing Pages

Can’t find your page? Think we missed something? Just report the page to the opensuse wiki team! We will try our best to help you getting it back!

Transfer Missing Pages

Want to get your hands dirty? Dive right into the new wiki and learn how it works on the Wiki Portal or the previous posts on this blog. After you did that and know all the new wiki Kung-fu you go and find the pages you think are missing on http://old-en.opensuse.org. Now you have two options, either use the Special:Export page on the old wiki and the Special:Import on the new wiki if you want to transfer the article with all of its history or you just copy and paste the article if the history is not that important.

Otherwise just

Keep Calm And Carry On

openSUSE Wiki Change Scheduled

July 9th, 2010 by

As mentioned in earlier posts, the new English wiki is scheduled to go live on Monday.  Here are a few technical details about the change itself:

  • Schedule
    • The transition will begin on Monday, July 12 at 17:00 GMT (1:oo PM EDT)
    • The move should be completed in 10 – 15 minutes
  • During the move
    • The wikis will stay live
    • The old and new English wikis will behave unexpectedly at some points
    • www.opensuse.org and the other language wikis should not be affected at all
  • After the move
    • The old wiki (currently en.opensuse.org) will be located at old-en.opensuse.org
    • The new wiki (currently wiki.opensuse.org) will be located at en.opensuse.org
    • wiki.opensuse.org will be an alias for en.opensuse.org

The wiki team has worked hard to get the new wiki tested and perfected for Monday.  However, if any issues are discovered after the switch, please send a message to webmaster@opensuse.org or file a bug at http://bugzilla.novell.com under the openSUSE.org product.

The devil is in the details – What changes on monday for the wiki oldtimers?

July 8th, 2010 by

A couple of days ago I gave you the big picture on what will happen to en.opensuse.org on Monday when we switch to the new wiki. Now let me go into the nitty gritty details of the change to the new wiki. I especially want to focus on the changes important for the people who are familiar with the old wiki. Here we go.

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Reminder: openSUSE german Wiki Team Meeting

February 17th, 2010 by

The next openSUSE german Wiki Team meeting will take place Saturday February 26) at 11:00 GMT. As always, the meeting will be held in IRC on the #opensuse-wiki-de channel on Freenode.

Please add your topics to the meeting wiki page at:

http://de.opensuse.org/Wiki-Team/Meetings#Topics

We using for our Meeting the Meetbot. Please check http://wiki.debian.org/MeetBot for the commands.

Please add topics as soon as possible. Also, if you have questions for the meeting, but can’t attend (we know that the meeting times can’t work for everyone) please add them to the agenda as well.

For more on IRC meetings, see: http://en.opensuse.org/Meetings/About.

As always, we meet in #opensuse-newsletter on Freenode. Fire up your favorite IRC client and head over to #opensuse-wiki-de

Not familiar with IRC? A good overview can be found at irchelp.org. This site is not affiliated with openSUSE. For more information on Freenode, see http://freenode.net/.

Wondering what meeting times are? Check the openSUSE Meetings page. All project meetings and team meetings should be listed there.