Quo vadis, Joomla?

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sozzled
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Quo vadis, Joomla?

Post by sozzled » Tue Jun 18, 2019 8:21 pm

As with any collaboratively-authored open source software project, you can please some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time. The Joomla 4 project (and the discussions I've read here on the forum and in GitHub) is a fairly typical example. As with any project that runs overtime—perhaps because there's a failure to obtain consensus on the design specification or the development methodology (who knows?)—there usually reaches a stage where people—mostly people who reside outside of the project—suggest the way to fix the problem is by injecting money into it.

As a person who has a long history in managing software projects, when people ask the question, "Would more money fix the problem?", this underscores their complete ignorance of project management into an over-simplification of the solution ... that money can fix everything. There are three things a project manager needs in order successfully manage a project: (1) you need to have control of the people who are involved in the project deliverables, (2) you need to have control of the financial budget and (3) you need to have control of the information that determines how much time and money will be spent and who does what. If you remove or constrain any of those elements the project is doomed to fail.

Although, I should add, there is an adage in project management that says, "As soon as you put a dollar sign in front of the answer, the solution will become immediately obvious."

I can't be exactly sure when J! 4 kicked off but I think it was about 2 years ago. The J! 4 CMS product is still in design stage. If I've misrepresented these facts then I'm happy to be corrected.

I am not a person who gets involved in alpha testing; I'm more of an architect: an "ideas person" rather than a builder.

Against this background, I've read the growing criticism and complaints—some of which are justified—about the failure-to-launch J! 4. It's depressing reading. But it doesn't surprise me that people who have no skin in the game use this forum to criticise, to complain or to suggest overhauling the project. I don't have any skin in the game; I haven't invested a single line of code, input into Github discussions or a single cent of money into the J! 4 project. However, whether J! 4 sees the light of day or not, nothing will diminish my respect for those who volunteer their time to Joomla and nothing will diminish my feeling that Joomla (as a CMS product) is not the best way for me to practise my webcraft.

I want to take this opportunity to examine the use of this forum in terms of the respect shown towards it by a large proportion of its subscribers.

Today there are over six hundred thousand "registered members".

Less than 15% of forum accounts have ever posted anything on the forum; 85% of all accounts are either unused or banned for violation of the forum rules (usually spamming).

Of the 15% of forum accounts that have posted something on the forum, more than half of these have not posted anything for more than five years; the chances that they will continue to use the forum are remote. Of the remainder, we know that some people have created more than one account (even if the forum rules prohibit this). This means that there may as many as, say, ten thousand people who have posted something on the forum within the past five years.

We can't pretend that there's strong show of support for Joomla 4. Therefore, the suggestion of levying a download tax of, say, $10 for Joomla (as a means of crowdfunding ongoing J! development) is pie-in-the-sky. I don't know how many times a year other people download J! but I probably do it 20 or 30 times. Implementing a download tax would also have unintended adverse consequences such as birthing third-party or black-market suppliers of J! software. Why pay $10 if you can get something for free off the back of a truck?

What we could do, perhaps, is to levy a forum account joining fee of, say, $1 and an ongoing forum subscription fee of $1 per account per year. Assuming that a universal EFT model can be implemented, this would not raise much money: after administrative costs—handling fees, etc., the scheme might raise as much as a couple of thousand dollars in the first year. Only financially sound, subscribed, members would have posting rights; anyone and everyone can read what is posted on the forum.

However, applying a financial cost to the use of the forum would achieve three other important and necessary reforms: (a) to reduce, if not completely eliminate, forum spam, (b) to focus attention on serious and current issues and encourage people to use their time more effectively, and (c) because people are actually putting some skin in the game, forum users feel like they have a stake and should feel more confident that their comments (including criticism and complaints) will be taken more seriously in future.

I don't seriously believe that a forum joining fee or annual subscription fee—even at the paltry amount I've suggested—will be implemented. There are far too many people who object to making change let alone those who might even consider making change.
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I need your help to help reduce spam at the Joomla forum. You can help with your ideas, questions and opinions at viewtopic.php?f=7&t=974006. Together we can make a difference :)

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Re: Quo vadis, Joomla?

Post by sozzled » Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:20 pm

I note that the criticism about J! 4 has not abated. If anything, the level has increased.

Further to my previous post relating to suggestions—or urgings—to offset the development costs associated with bringing J! 4 into reality in the near future, I would also remind supporters and critics that they already have the capability to contribute to the project by scrolling to the bottom of this page and observe the link that I've highlighted in the following screenshot.
crowdfundJ!.jpg
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I need your help to help reduce spam at the Joomla forum. You can help with your ideas, questions and opinions at viewtopic.php?f=7&t=974006. Together we can make a difference :)

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Re: Quo vadis, Joomla?

Post by sozzled » Tue Aug 27, 2019 7:24 pm

I know I am only having a discussion with myself but it helps to clear my mind of the fractious discussions that I read here on a daily basis, particularly in connection with the current squabbles about the future of Joomla.

I struggle to believe the absurd ideas that easily take root in other people's minds; absurdities such as "secret agendas" or developers being out-of-touch with reality or out-of-step with the community. I wait, with a lingering hope, that common-sense may prevail; that reason will overtake blind prejudice; that people will debate the issues instead of peddling their conspiracy theories, launching ad hominem attacks, or ministering their prophecy-of-doom evangelism. I hope that my hope is not a forlorn one.

I've been an active member of this forum for more than a decade. I've made friends and I've equally gotten up people's noses. I've observed the Joomla organisation grow and take on a life of its own. Sometimes, organisations outgrow the communities that gave birth to them and, along the way, there are casualties. So, while I'm using this discussion topic to vicariously ventilate my feelings, I would ask people remember that we all have the capacity to help, each in our own little way, and we all have the capacity to hurt, each in our own little way.

In truth, I feel safe in my little cocoon far from where the rest of the world lives, that the opinions I express on this forum rarely rate a reply. I am content with that. I know that you wouldn't be reading this if you didn't care. Thank you. :)
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I need your help to help reduce spam at the Joomla forum. You can help with your ideas, questions and opinions at viewtopic.php?f=7&t=974006. Together we can make a difference :)

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Re: Quo vadis, Joomla?

Post by sozzled » Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:57 pm

A little disconcerting to me, in the ongoing people-who-do-not-like-the-new-J!4-backend debate, that a commercial developer has entered the space (see viewtopic.php?f=803&t=970614&start=180#p3579576). Does this imply a collaboration with, or an intention by a third-party to edge-out, the current group of Joomla developers in the market? It will be interesting to follow these developments.
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I need your help to help reduce spam at the Joomla forum. You can help with your ideas, questions and opinions at viewtopic.php?f=7&t=974006. Together we can make a difference :)

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Re: Quo vadis, Joomla?

Post by abernyte » Sat Sep 07, 2019 4:42 pm

I do seem to remember a past non official Joomla admin template but I can't recall if it was J1.5 or J2.5. I don't know how successful it was the concept seems to sit alongside the current reliance on the third party extension universe. None of that is bad as many commercial developers have or still contribute to the core and I don't see this a threat.
I too have followed the J4 admin template debate as I get acquainted with the J4 Alpha. It is certainly rough around the edges but the more I use it I am falling into a useful work flow and I don't recoil in horror.
But the amount of grief expressed does seem to point to an underlying tension and that is worrying.
I suppose that we should not be so critical as frankly, I find the fact that this project has been sustained since Mambo so successfully in the current model quite extraordinary.
What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly…Thomas Paine

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Re: Quo vadis, Joomla?

Post by sozzled » Sat Sep 07, 2019 8:17 pm

Thank you for your reply, @abernyte. I was beginning to feel like I was in an echo chamber on my own. :laugh: I completely agree with you that the outpourings of anxiety about J! 4 are exaggerated to the extent that they've become a turn-off. FWIW, my feeling is that the construction of J! 4 should be allowed to continue—as imperfect as some people may have us believe—and bring it to a beta testing phase and ultimately into a stable form.

Perhaps J! 4 (after it is eventually released as a stable platform) may be a relatively "short-lived" exercise—much like J! 1.6/1.7/2.5 was. Even if J! 4 was to survive for a couple of years, allowing time for the heat among its critics to subside, it's probably better than throwing away the effort that has been put into the project now.

Like you, I don't see the activities by third-party template developers in the J! 4 space as a direct threat to the project but I do see that the ongoing wrangling over the design of Atum template is counter-productive. The continuing, incessant criticism is diverting the J! 4 developers from advancing the project beyond alpha as they're being drawn into justifying their cause to the armchair commentariat.
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Re: Quo vadis, Joomla?

Post by abernyte » Sun Sep 08, 2019 8:17 am

Indeed. It is not as if strong opinions are unusual in the FOSS universe. Gnome V KDE anyone? Let's not even start on systemd!
The passion with Atum is perhaps useful in that some functions will be improved that otherwise might have been let through as "good enough".
It is a hard life being a dev in this environment. No place to hide if you get it wrong and after your vision for what is good gets put through development mincer that thoroughbred horse looks quite like a camel.
What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly…Thomas Paine

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Re: Quo vadis, Joomla?

Post by sozzled » Sun Sep 08, 2019 9:30 am

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Re: Quo vadis, Joomla?

Post by sozzled » Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:43 pm

Each day, as I watch (?) the String Quartet of Confected Outrage's attempts to play a few more bars of its set-piece Funeral March for J! 4 in Atum♭ minor, one has to wonder who's really listening. In the other concert hall, the orchestra is rehearsing their major opus Overture for J! No. 4 but they're apparently struggling to find musicians to play the unfinished score without a conductor, it seems. :pop
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Re: Quo vadis, Joomla?

Post by abernyte » Tue Sep 10, 2019 6:53 am

Good analogy. It seems no different to 18th and 19th century opera, the Hollywood of its day, where the tension between composer and librettist was not always creative. If you add in to the mix the Church censorship of anything racy or too accurately depicting its deplorable morals then it is a wonder anything made it to the stage. Yet, they have left a canon of the most wonderful and exceptional music ever to grace a manuscript.
I am focused on the long game. Lot of popcorn required. J4 could be a masterpiece...eventually.
What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly…Thomas Paine


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