[conspire] (forw) [TAG] "I'll do it myself, thanks" open-source app: Gobby (cf. SubEthaEdit)

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Mon Oct 31 19:00:01 PST 2005

----- Forwarded message from Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> -----

Date: Mon, 31 Oct 2005 18:54:42 -0800
To: tag at lists.linuxgazette.net
From: Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com>
Reply-To: The Answer Gang <tag at lists.linuxgazette.net>
Subject: [TAG] "I'll do it myself,
	thanks" open-source app:  Gobby (cf. SubEthaEdit)

Jimmy wrote:

>> The topic of hosting comes up quite a lot in my family and among my
>> friends, and sort of an ongoing tug of war:  I and a relative few
>> others remain in the "if I want it, I'll do it myself, thanks" camp;
>> everyone else goes for various hosted-services fads.
> Y'know, since you wrote this, I've found myself remembering this
> message with almost every other article I've read recently.


> There are bridges between the two, though: Net::Flickr::Backup can
> export RDF for each photo, there are some nice javascript-based tools
> out there:
> http://swordfish.rdfweb.org/discovery/2004/03/w3photo/annotate.html
> http://www.kanzaki.com/docs/sw/img-annotator.html

> There's also some GPLd XSLT that converts image RDF to HTML:
> http://www.kanzaki.com/parts/imgdesc.xsl (example:
> http://www.kanzaki.com/bass/the-giant.rdf -- needs an XSL capable
> browser).


> The thing with blogs is that there are at least standards (trackback
> and pingback) that let you have the same sort of social network with
> services you host, and several APIs that let you access the data in
> them. Caolan McNamara, RedHat's OOo hacker, has an OOWriter plugin in
> Python that lets you write blog entries for Blogger-compatible
> servers: http://people.redhat.com/caolanm/oooblogger/


> The thing Backpack (and Flickr, Del.icio.us, etc.) has going for it is
> that you can get everything you put into it back pretty easily:
> there's Net::Backpack for Perl, as well as modules in just about every
> other language you can think of (http://jf.backpackit.com/pub/73119).
> None of these services really strike me as things to worry about: set
> up a few cron jobs to back up your data, and if the service goes belly
> up, it's not too hard to extract your data again.


> Hmm. It seems there are a few open source del.icio.us clones out there, 
> to suit most tastes.
> Unalog (http://unalog.com/) is written in Python, and uses ZoDB, 
> Quixote, and a few other things Mike's probably familiar with.
> Code here: http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=3645
> Unalog has a number of unique features, such as direct export to XBEL.
> http://de.lirio.us is a set of templates for Rubric, which is a 
> note-taking engine as well as a bookmarking system. Rubric written in 
> Perl, so swing by CPAN (http://search.cpan.org/dist/Rubric/).
> Scuttle (http://scuttle.org/) is written in PHP (code here: 
> http://sourceforge.net/cvs/?group_id=134378). It's the only project on 
> the list to implement del.icio.us's API, and can import your bookmarks 
> straight from there, or from a Netscape bookmarks file.


> There's a mini-backpack clone in a single file written in Javascript 
> here: http://www.emaginacion.com.ar/hacks/2005/05/18/backpack-clone/ 
> (code: http://www.emaginacion.com.ar/hacks/documents/backpackclone.zip).

(Separately, Mike Orr noted[1] that Unalog, mentioned above, depends on 
an old, probably unmaintained version of Quixote, using the Dulcinea
add-on objects, the Durus object database rather that ZODB, plus a
number of other things.)  

Jimmy, you know, that's a pretty nice apps list you accumulated, across
the several messages I've quoted from, above.  I hope you don't mind if
I steal it for my knowledgebase.

I really do think we're starting to see a blitz of promotion for those
"Just use your {Web browser|RSS reader} and don't worry your pretty
little head over the question of who has your data" proprietary
"services".  I see this as one of the foci of the post-bust economy, 
and I honestly don't know if we of the open-source community are
particular targets of that blitz, or if other people are getting it 
worse.  ;->

I do know that hardly a week goes by with canned invitation messages for
such services (e.g., "social networks") don't hit my mailbox, many
purporting to come from friends or acquaintances who probably just hit a
button saying "Please send invitations to this list of friends' e-mail 
addresses I've entered."  That is, it professes to be from someone I 
know, but the writing style (and, X-Mailer header, etc.) are wrong, and 
-- who'd have thought? -- it's attempting to leverage my acquaintance to 
get me to "join" something that just coincidentally happens to feed
someone else's business model.

A lot of initial impetus seems to have been furnished by Apple Computer
and by MacOS end-user types, both of which groups mostly couldn't be
bothered even noticing or caring whether code is proprietary or not --
and the users typically don't aspire to control their data or any other
aspect of their computing.

Anyhow, it's nice to have handy a list of "Luckily, I don't need to buy
into that hosted service model, since I can do it myself with [foo]"
answers.  I think I may try to maintain one.

Along those lines, I found the following entry about an open-source,
real-time collaborative editor program that's catching up on SubEthaEdit
for MacOS X -- yet another trendy gizmo -- in SCM developer David
Allouche's blog: http://ddaa.net/blog/gobby-first-look#gobby-it-works
(linked from RCS Planet, http://planet.revisioncontrol.net/):

  Gobby, it works!

  A few days ago, a colleague pointed me at Gobby
  (http://gobby.0x539.de/). The collaborative text editor from the
  0x539.dev group. I downloaded and compiled the application, played a bit
  with it, read the (still quite short) mailing list archive, and chatted
  a lot on the #0x539 IRC channel. And I have to say I was quite
  positively impressed!

  In short, Gobby is a multi-platform (Linux, Mac, Windows) collaborative
  text editor written in C++ and using the GTK toolkit. Despite the low
  version number (0.2.0 was recently released) it's already quite usable
  though it still has a few annoying limitations:

      * When a user loads a document, the whole document appears with the
        background colour of that user, making it impossible to see the
        text that user has typed during the session.
      * The Undo mechanism does not distinguish between local and remote
        edits. There is no way (yet) to undo your actions without first
        undoing more recent actions from other users.
      * The networking implementation is still less than ideal, in
        particular, the application freezes while trying to establish a
      * The carets and selections of other users are not visible.

  On the upside, most of these limitations are likely to be fixed in the
  near future, except multiple-caret and multiple-selection display that
  would require a non-trivial amount of GTK programming.

  Most of the features you would expect are already there:

      * Lock-less collaborative text editing that actually works,
        providing all three of convergence, causality preservation and
        intention preservation.
      * Each user is associated to a background colour that marks the text
        the user has typed during the session.
      * A built-in chat service.
      * Syntax highlighting provided by the GtkSourceView widget.
      * Zeroconf networking using Howl.
      * A sane build system, based on the GNU Autotools suite.
      * Localisation support using gettext.

  My main issues with this project is that it is written in C++, which is
  not a language I would be programming in for fun, and that it enforces a
  centralised model. However, centralisation appears like a reasonable
  choice when you consider the additional complexity involved by useful

The rest of the blog entry points out that SubEthaEdit implements the
design outlined in a publicly available ACM paper by Chengzheng Sun and
Xiaohua Jia of China, as revealed in a post to the AbiWord developers' 
mailing list (http://thread.gmane.org/gmane.editors.abiword.devel/17275).

It's nice to know that we of the open-source world have a long-term
advantage:  Our stuff doesn't go away.  If/when del.icio.us,
LiveJournal, Flickr, BitKeeper, LinkedIn, Friendster, Frappr, Backpack,
etc. all fold up their tents in the night, we'll still be here,
gradually making progress and making certain that all work is available
for others to use, too.

[1] http://lists.linuxgazette.net/mailman/private/tag/2005-October/006291.html

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