"Count what is countable. Measure what is measureable. What is not measureable, make measureable." -- Galileo

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Community-Powered Plone

I came across an article in the May 9 ScienceNews that described, among other interesting things, decision-making in bee swarms. It occurs to me that the same thing may be going on in OSS as communities of developers and users attempt to agree on which new features to include in the next release, what "the best CMS" is, or reach some other collective decision.

The process is that a fairly small number of more experienced bees act as scouts. When they find a candidate location for a new hive, they return to the swarm and perform a dance that indicates the distance, direction, and perceived quality of the potential home. Based on the more enthusiastic dances, additional scouts sample the recommended locations. If they like a site, they too will communicate that to the hive. Amazingly, they usually attain a consensus within a day or two.
In the illustration above, location B (blue) is initially the hot place to be out of about seven candidates. But over a period of hours, location G (gold) appears and overtakes all the contenders. At that point the swarm heads off to their new digs.

Is this (or a high tech version of this) happening via the web? Are OSS advocates dancing their tails off, trying to convince the other scouts and eventually the entire swarm to follow their lead? It may be a plausible model.

Interestingly, if the bees can't reach a consensus, the swarm may split. Mambo/Joomla, anyone? Does this mean bees can have two different use-cases?

At any rate, from a Plone point of view, I urge the community to make sure to drop in on the Plone Evangelism forum, participate, spread the good word, dance your dance for the entire swarm, and change the world for the better.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Launchpad Stats

Thanks to Sidnei da Silva, I've been made aware that Launchpad is now publishing download statistics. https://edge.launchpad.net/plone/3.2/3.2.2 has the latest, apparently accumulated only since February 2009.

The Launchpad stats show 255,710 downloads of which 188,298 are for the unified installer for Linux/BSD/Solaris/OSX. 64,496 are downloads for the Windows buildout. The small fraction remaining are for the OSX installer or downloads without Zope or Python.

Converting these to percentages reveals 25% of Plone 3.2.2 downloads were for Windows boxes; 74% for *nix.

As interesting as these numbers may be, its a long leap from downloads to installation base. Our three venerable 2.5.5 instances only required one download and resulted in two dozen portals being developed. On the other hand, at the College of Santa Fe, I'd have 16 students each download the Windows installer just for an evening's exercise.

From my point of view, the good news of the week has been the release of funds to upgrade our server to 3.2.2. That means all our new Plone portals will roll out in 3.2. If existing portal projects fund their migration either this summer or fall, we'll be just in time for next winter's 4.0.