It all started out with a simple question Pavol Rusnak asked on the openSUSE Conference ’09
What are we really doing when we develop a new tool to handle openSUSE users and groups?
The answer was simple: Connecting people to projects, groups and with each other. Connecting faces to names, nicknames and to email addresses. In the end connecting all our other tools to this one so we can share the data. These are the fundamental ideas behind our newest openSUSE tool: connect. In the following months the openSUSE Boosters and friends started to work on this tool based on Elgg. An open source social networking engine, that delivers the building blocks that enable us to create our own fully-featured social network. And today we release it to you, the openSUSE Community.
As a result of the openSUSE Boosters’ ‘HackMeck‘ two weeks ago at FrOSCoN we are proud to present you with a new beta of openSUSE Connect.
Connect is supposed to become the central user database for the openSUSE project. Sounds bland, don”t it? But you know the Boosters, everything we do comes with a grain of spice and Connect is no different. The spice here are a lot of nifty social network features like user profiles, friending, groups, an event calendar and possibly more. Thats possible because on top of the user database we use a Free Software social network framework called Elgg. Elgg will help us to go a step further in one of the most important areas of the openSUSE project: Connecting our community. We do a very good job connecting code at the moment but there is no central place for openSUSE users to mingle, form relationships and meet collaborators.
Did we whet your appetite? Want to try it? No problem, just head over to our beta instance http://connect.opensuse.org and login as user geeko with the password opensuse to try it out. Make some friends, create a group or run a poll. This instance is regularly deployed with the newest code from our git repository so you will always get the latest and greatest. But please don’t forget that this is a beta :-) If you encounter any problems, guess what, make a bugreport in our bugzilla!
Or how about you get your hands dirty? So far our experience with Elgg is wonderful. It’s a tidy, extensible and well designed piece of software. The community is very helpful and there is a lot (if not to say a butt-load) of functionality available. And if something is not there already we have found that we can easily add it. You could too you know? Elgg runs on a combination of Apache, MySQL and the PHP scripting language and as this is the most popular web server environment in the world we hope we can attract more people to help to fit Elgg to openSUSE’s needs. And on top of that it’s really easy to hack on it! The changes we did so far at the HackMeck and the last couple of weeks are self-contained in plugins that extend the basic functionality. The powerful data model and view system of Elgg make it possible to change it to openSUSE’s needs without ever touching the core functions. So if you are interested in helping,Â get to know Elgg and then get in contact with the openSUSE Boosters.
We hope you will enjoy this new openSUSE tool. And remember: Have a lot of fun…