Lecture on “Jailbreaking the Forges : project export/import efforts”

I’ll be speaking next week‘ve been at Open World Forum, in the OSDCfr track in with a speech titled “Jailbreaking the Forges : project export/import efforts”

Here are the slides (as PDF – 1.3 Mb)

Here’s a copy of the presentation I wrote.

Software forge are “data jails” in that development projects established in a forge may suffer from data lock-in if they have to, or want to, change of hosting solution.

Some of the tools allow easily to fork or move a project’s code (such as DVCS like Git, Bzr or Hg), but for other tools like bugtrackers, mailing-list managers or wikis, it’s much harder to extract data from one forge and transport it to another one. Also, users and their privileges, as well as many other metadata (who did what, and when) may suffer from such migrations.

Even though most projects don’t fell such lock-in as a high risk (even in FLOSS projects which value freedom of information, strangely), history as shown that in case of outages, hosting platforms can be quite a trap to projects.

Other hazards may happen, like unresponsive admins, forks in a community, archiving old projects while being able to restore them, do migrations, or just the wish to move to newer, cooler hosting platforms.

Despite 10 years of forge usage, it is only recently that few progress have been made in implementing standard exchange data formats and supporting tools, allowing us to envision a possible solution to these lock-in issues.

We’ll present the ForgePlucker project (initially started by esr after a few popular blog posts on the subject), and further efforts lead in the COCLICO project to provide an open and extensible standard exchange format for projects data export and import. In addition to forgeplucker, we’ll demonstrate the FusionForge import tools used as an archive/restoration mechanism.

We’ll then call for other forge implementors and advanced users to join us, for more efforts on this topic, in order to gather all the tools that are needed to make possible migrations of projects from forges to forges.

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