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Raphaël Hertzog: Freexian’s report about Debian Long Term Support, March 2016

Planet Debian - ven, 15/04/2016 - 08:14

Like each month, here comes a report about the work of paid contributors to Debian LTS.

Individual reports

In February, 111.75 work hours have been dispatched among 10 paid contributors. Their reports are available:

  • Antoine Beaupré did 8h.
  • Ben Hutchings did 12.75 hours (out of 11 hours allocated + 7.25 extra hours remaining, meaning that he still has 5.50 extra hours to do over April).
  • Brian May did 10 hours.
  • Chris Lamb did 7 hours (instead of the 14.25 hours he was allocated +, compensating the extra hours he did last month).
  • Damyan Ivanov did nothing out of the 7.25 remaining hours he had, he opted to give them back and come back to LTS work later.
  • Guido Günther did 13 hours (out of 12 hours allocated + 4.25 remaining hours, leaving 3.25 extra hours for April).
  • Markus Koschany did 14.25 hours.
  • Mike Gabriel did nothing and opted to give back the 8 hours allocated. He will stop LTS work for now as he has other projects taking all his time.
  • Santiago Ruano Rincón did 10 hours (out of 12h allocated + 1.50 remaining, thus keeping 3.50 extra hours for April).
  • Scott Kitterman did a few hours but was not able to provide his report in time due to sickness. His next report will cover two months.
  • Thorsten Alteholz did 14.25 hours.
Evolution of the situation

The number of sponsored hours started to increase for April (116.75 hours, thanks to Sonus Networks) and should increase even further for May (with a new Gold sponsor currently joining us, Babiel GmbH). Hopefully the trend will continue so that we can reach our objective of funding the equivalent of a full-time position.

At the end of the month the LTS team will be fully responsible of all Debian 7 Wheezy updates. For now paid contributors are still helping the security team by fixing packages that were fixed in squeeze already but that are still outstanding in wheezy.

They are also looking for ways to ensure that some of the most complicated packages can be supported over the wheezy LTS timeframe. It is likely that we will seek external help (possibly from credativ which is already handling support of PostgreSQL) for the maintenance of Xen and that some other packages (like libav, vlc, maybe qemu?) will be upgraded to newer versions which are still maintained (either upstream or in Debian Jessie by the Debian maintainers).

Thanks to our sponsors

New sponsors are in bold.

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Mediacurrent: Dropcast: Episode 18- Try Try Again

Planet Drupal - jeu, 14/04/2016 - 22:58

This episode we are going to have an interview with Matt Davis, to talk about his work with Weather Underground, and decoupling Drupal from the presentation layer, or die trying. This is our second third take on Episode 18, and we need to thank Oscar Mejivar for coming on. We will be re-recording that episode at a later date, so please tune in because outside my horrible production skills, it’s was a great topic and we want to share it with you. Stay tuned.

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Simon Richter: It Begins.

Planet Debian - jeu, 14/04/2016 - 21:30

Just starting a small side project...

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Drupal core announcements: Drupal core security release window and 8.1.0 release on Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Planet Drupal - jeu, 14/04/2016 - 20:25
Start:  2016-04-19 12:00 - 2016-04-21 12:00 UTC Organizers:  catch xjm David_Rothstein Event type:  Online meeting (eg. IRC meeting)

The monthly security release window for Drupal 8 and 7 core will take place on Wednesday, April 20.

This does not mean that a Drupal core security release will necessarily take place on that date for any of the Drupal 8 or 7 branches, only that you should watch for one (and be ready to update your Drupal sites in the event that the Drupal security team decides to make a release).

This is also the release window for Drupal 8.1.0, the next scheduled minor release of Drupal 8. To ensure a reliable release window for the patch release, there will be a Drupal 8.1.x commit freeze from 12:00 UTC Tuesday to 12:00 UTC Thursday. Read the release candidate announcement for more information on the minor release.

The next window for a Drupal core patch (bug fix) release for all branches is Wednesday, May 04. (Drupal 6 is end-of-life and will not receive further releases.)

For more information on Drupal core release windows, see the documentation on release timing and security releases, and the discussion that led to this policy being implemented.

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DrupalCon News: DrupalCon Celebrates Diversity at 'Women in Drupal'

Planet Drupal - jeu, 14/04/2016 - 19:42

While we are above the tech average, we are still always striving to foster inclusivity and embrace the involvement of individuals across the gender spectrum. To help celebrate where we are and where we are going, we would like to formally invite you to Tuesday's Women in Drupal event. This event is open to all women, trans* individuals, those who identify outside of the gender binary, and allies.

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Palantir: On the Air with Palantir podcast, Ep. 04: Everything You Need to Know About DrupalCon New Orleans

Planet Drupal - jeu, 14/04/2016 - 17:41

DrupalCon is just a few weeks away in New Orleans, so this time around our Account Manager Allison Manley is joined by our CEO and Founder George DeMet, Drupal veteran and PHP guru Larry "Crell" Garfield, and Senior Front-End Developer Lauren Byrwa. They share thoughts about the conference generally, what they're excited about specifically, and what they're expected from the Driesnote, among other topics.

iTunes | RSS Feed | Download | Transcript

We'll be back next Tuesday with another episode of the Secret Sauce and a new installment of our long-form interview podcast On the Air With Palantir next month, but for now subscribe to all of our episodes over on iTunes.

Heading to DrupalCon this year? On the fence and need to be convinced? Let's schedule a time to talk so we can explain why you should attend this conference.


Transcript


Allison Manley [AM]: Hi, and welcome to On the Air with Palantir, a podcast by Palantir.net where we go in-depth on topics related to the business of web design and development. It’s April 2016, and this is episode #4.

I’m Allison Manley, an Account Manager at Palantir, and today we are going to give a preview of what to expect from the upcoming DrupalCon in New Orleans which is taking place May 9th through the 13th. The website is drupalcon.org if you want to see more. I’m a newbie to DrupalCon — this will be my very first one — so I gathered a bunch of my seasoned colleagues here at Palantir who have attended in the past to get their thoughts on the upcoming conference.

I am here with three of my fabulous colleagues that are going to be attending DrupalCon with me. So I have Lauren Byrwa, who’s one of our senior front-end developers.

Lauren Byrwa [LB]: Hi!

AM: George DeMet, founder and CEO.

George DeMet [GD]: Hello.

AM: And Larry Garfield, Senior Architect and Community Lead. How are you?

Larry Garfield [LG]: Hello, world.

AM: So what we’re doing here is basically a preview of DrupalCon. DrupalCon is coming up in a couple of weeks, in New Orleans, which is very exciting. How many DrupalCons is this for
each of you?

LG: I think this will be #21.

AM: Out of how many? How many have there been?

LG: Maybe 25? I’m a staple at this point [laughs].

GD: It’s a good question. Not as many as you, Larry, but probably, if I had to guess, between 15 and 20.

LB: I’m actually only at #2 for Cons. So not a whole lot compared to these guys.

AM: I’m a complete newbie, so we’ll get to that later — what I can expect — but before we get to what most people or new people can expect from DrupalCon, or what DrupalCon is about — we know that Drupal was started by Dries Buytaert. Did I pronounce that right?

LG: Close enough for an American [laughs].

AM: What is the correct pronunciation, please?

LG: Well, I’m an American too. ‘Drees Boy-thart’ I think is closer, but don’t quote me on that. Dries, feel free to correct us.

AM: I’m sure he will later [laughs]. So what is DrupalCon about?

LG: DrupalCon is the summit of the community. It is the largest Drupal in-person event in the world by a very wide margin. It’s a place for the whole community of whatever stripe to gather and discuss, learn, teach, plan, work, play, drink, and several other things along the same lines. A lot of conferences are very developer-centric or very business-centric, or very whatever. DrupalCon is — these days, DrupalCon is a Web conference with a Drupal angle to it. There’s sessions for back-end developers, there’s sessions for front-end developers, there’s sessions for project managers, there’s sessions for content strategists, there’s sessions for business owners — whatever you do, if it involves Drupal or the Web in some way, there’s at least a couple of sessions that are worth going to for you.

GD: I would agree, and I would say that even if you don’t do Drupal or you’re not someone who’s really immersed in the technology or the community, it’s still a conference with really great value. You can get a lot out of it, and I think particularly for folks who are new to DrupalCon, it’s a really great way to get immediately connected with the community. And it’s often a very overwhelming way. We’re a very friendly and welcoming community, sometimes overly so.

LB: I would like to think of DrupalCon as our family reunion, for all Drupalers. We’re there to learn, we’re there to share, but mostly we’re there to collaborate. And that can happen in sessions, that can happen at happy hour,that can happen anywhere. But it’s a great way to get plugged into the community.

AM: So I am a newbie, as I said — this will be my first. So what should I expect from DrupalCon? Am I just going to walk in and be completely overwhelmed at first?

GD: Yes.

AM: [laughs].

LB: I think at my first DrupalCon — overwhelmed? Yes, definitely expect to be overwhelmed no matter what. But feel comfortable, feel welcomed. Everybody is excited for newcomers. Everyone is excited to get to know you, to hear your ideas. So stand up and talk, and listen, and ask questions. And go up to people that intimidate you, and tell them that you’re a huge fan and that you work with their tools every day and that you like what you saw in this blog post. And they’ll be flattered and want to know what you think and why or why not you agree or disagree. But talk to everybody. Talk to them on Twitter, talk to them in person, talk to them at bars — everything you can do to soak up as much information as possible. That’s always my number one.

LG: The main thing you should expect at DrupalCon is 3000 introverts playing extroverts, who really want to talk to you and teach you things because that’s what they do. And if you’re up for talking to people you’ve only heard of, or never heard of, and just learning from every person you run across, you’ll do just fine.

GD: And I think — so when we’re at our booth, every year without fail I’ll be standing there and someone will just kind of come up to me, and they’ll have The Look in their eyes. It’s very clear that this is their first time, they’re feeling very overwhelmed. And it’s really funny, this happens every time, they’ll make eye contact, come over to the booth, pull out their program guide, and be like, where do I go? And there’s so many different things you can do and places you can go and sessions you can experience, and it really is about — I think for folks who are going, it’s really taking a look at the sessions, figuring out ‘what do I want to get out of this event’, and focusing on that. And if you are getting overwhelmed, just find a friendly face, and they’ll more than likely be able to help you out and point you in the right direction – ‘oh yeah, I know the person doing that session, they’re awesome, go to that session if you want to learn about this, so-and-so is like the world’s expert on that’. All kinds of opportunities to just soak everything in, and learn what you can. It’s a really fun, really intense time.

AM: Great, I’m really looking forward to it. So every year Dries gives a keynote. And it’s fairly spectacular, I’ve seen a bunch of them on YouTube. They’re very involved. So what are you anticipating this year from the Driesnote, as he calls it?

LG: I have no idea what Dries is planning. I think the best keynote he’s given in recent years was in Amsterdam, where he was talking about actual practical changes to our process. That’s where he introduced the plan for putting credits on the site, which got implemented later. And I think that’s been a great thing to encourage contributions from companies and clients and commercial organizations, which we absolutely need.

I’d like to see something inward-looking. By that point Drupal 8.1 will have just come out, and that’ll be the first time we’ve done that type of release in, I think, ever in Drupal. So I suspect he’ll be talking about that and the implications of being able to evolve the system more smoothly than in the past. That’s my prediction, such as it is.

[this was cut from the original recording due to audio issues, but is left intact for the transcript]

GD: I’m hoping that Dries will take this opportunity to talk a little bit more about what the vision and future direction of Drupal is going to be, not just from a technical standpoint but really from an — answering the question, why does Drupal exist? What we’ve seen over the last few years, particularly as we’ve been through the Drupal 8 cycle, is that Drupal has changed and evolved tremendously. And at the same time the kinds of people that use Drupal, and the ways that they are using it, have changed tremendously. And I think that a lot of folks in the community have moved along with those shifts, but others might be feeling a little left behind, like they’re not really sure. Maybe if you’re somebody that’s joined Drupal at a point in the past, and you’ve had a particular motivation for doing so, the project and the community may be very different now. I think as we go through that change and that evolution, having a shared understanding and grounding in what our shared values are as a Drupal community and a project would be really cool to hear from Dries.

LB: I would say we’re actually at a place right now where we don’t entirely know what’s next for Drupal. We’re not waiting on D8 any more — there’s a whole slew of things out there. And so I agree that the future of Drupal is going to be a big topic. I think in addition to that, this is our good chance and this is Dries’ good chance to really press on contribution, and to recruit people.

A lot of our hardcore developers that helped build D8 are feeling a little burnt out. They too are celebrating the release, but in addition to that, they’re feeling a little burnt out after years and years of press to get it there. So I think contribution is going to be a really big topic this year — trying to figure out how to get people involved and how to get new blood in the system and new
ideas. To really push us towards that future, that’s going to be important.

AM: That’s a lot to cover in one keynote [laughs].

GD: The expectations are always incredibly high for these things. And it’s really often almost too much to ask, that one person will be able to cover this much in an hour or an hour and 15 minutes. One thing I’ve seen is that sometimes, when Dries delivers, he really delivers in a really great way. But I also know that it’s really hard to do that. So hopefully everything will click in place. I’m looking forward to it.

AM: Me too. So what are the big talking points in Drupal right now? Obviously I can assume Drupal 8. What else do you think will be the big things?

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Ritesh Raj Sarraf: apt-offline backports for Debian Jessie

Planet Debian - jeu, 14/04/2016 - 14:57

For Debian Jessie, the version of apt-offline available is: 1.5.1. This version has had some issues.

My very 1st backports is available in the form of apt-offline 1.7 for Debian Jessie Backports. For Debian Jessie users, this should fix most of the issues.

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Michal Čihař: Gammu 1.37.2

Planet Debian - jeu, 14/04/2016 - 12:00

Yesterday, Gammu 1.37.1 and Gammu 1.37.2 have been released. As usual it collects bug fixes and minor improvements.

Full list of changes in 1.37.1:

  • Properly report errors in HEX encoded strings from SMSD SQL backends.
  • Configurable SMSD table names.
  • Improved support for Huawei E303.
  • Improved support for Vodafone K4511.
  • Improved support for Telit M2M modules.

Full list of changes in 1.37.2:

  • Fixed compilation of SMSD.

Would you like to see more features in Gammu? You an support further Gammu development at Bountysource salt or by direct donation.

Filed under: English Gammu python-gammu Wammu | 0 comments

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Zyxware Technologies: Question Bank for evaluating Drupal Developers as part of the Drupal Open Curriculum Initiative

Planet Drupal - jeu, 14/04/2016 - 11:52

We have been involved with the Drupal Open Curriculum initiative under the Curriculum and Training group in groups.drupal.org for the last few months and have been helping build up the content for the initiative. One of the important pieces of content that is expected to be developed as part of this initiative is the question bank with objective type questions that can be used to evaluate the progress of the training of Drupal developers.

DrupalgiveDrupal TrainingDrupal PlanetTeaching DrupalNews
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Valuebound: The Global Training Day

Planet Drupal - jeu, 14/04/2016 - 11:19

April 9 was a day filled with enthusiasm as we set forth with “The Drupal Global Day training” here at Valuebound. With a crowd of over 20 people and 5 trainers the knowledge sharing session was very fruitful.

The session started with an introductory note on Drupal to the diversified audience from different industries right from IT & ERP to Digital Marketing. Having gained the basics of Drupal, trainers encouraged the attendees to start with their first hands on experience of Drupal.  The participants were excited to create their own website without using a single line of code.

The session was filled with lot of queries & heated discussions making it an interactive conclave. Drupal Global Training Day turned out to be successful when a large part of the…

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DrupalOnWindows: Drupal 8 performance: the Supercache module

Planet Drupal - jeu, 14/04/2016 - 07:00
Language English

The Supercache module is the result of an attempt to improve Drupal 8 efficiency when dealing with cache tag management and other design issues with several caching components that make it a pain to deal with Drupal 8 based applications that change a lot. 

An out of the box Drupal 8 install will issue about 2,100 database statements for a simple task such as performing a log in and creating two articles.

More articles...
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Mike Gabriel: IPv6: Broken by Design; Digital Ocean - How are we doing?

Planet Debian - mer, 13/04/2016 - 23:29

Recently, DigitalOcean (which I am a customer of) asked me "how they were doing". Well, yet another survey... Let's ignore this one for now... I thought some days ago.

And then yesterday, I added IPv6 support to my main mail server (which runs at Hetzner, Germany). All my hosted/rented/whatever systems report back to this main mailserver. Now that that main mail server finally has its AAAA record and its own IPv6 address, all associated systems try to reach this main mail server via IPv6. Of course.

Crippling IPv6 support by adding Port Blocks

But, then, I see messages like these in my syslog files on droplets hosted at Digital Ocean:

Apr 13 10:10:59 <do-droplet> postfix/smtp[23469]: connect to mail.<mydomain>[<ipv6-address>]:25: Connection timed out

After some more research [1], I realized that the folks out there at DO really apply some port blockings to IPv6 networks, but not to IPv4 networks. Pardon me? From my DO droplets, I can nmap any port on my mail server (25,80,143,443, 465, 587, etc.) via the IPv4 connection, but not over the IPv6 connection. Wait, not fully true: ports 80 and 443 are not blocked, but the other aforementioned ports are definitely blocked.

Is Digital Ocean a professional ISP or a WiFi hotspot provider at my nearest coffee place? (This really makes me scratch my head...).

Routing only the first 16 addresses of allocated /64 prefixes

The above was the second IPv6 brokeness I learned about DO, recently. An earlier issue with DO's IPv6 support, I encountered while I was deploying an IPv6 capable OpenVPN internet gateway via a droplet hosted at DO. Digital Ocean assigns full IPv6 /64 prefixes to each individual droplet (which is great), but only properly routes the first 16 IP addresses of such a /64 prefix [2]. Urgh? I had to work around this flaw by adding an IPv6-over-IPv4 tunnel and attaching an IPv6 /56 prefix obtained from Hurricane Electrics' tunnel broker service [3] to the OpenVPN server.

Thanks, Digital Ocean, for remininding me about giving feedback

So, today, I luckily received a reminder mail about DO's yet-another-survey survey. My opportunity!!! Here is the feedback, I gave:

DO service is basically good. BUT: You as a provider SUCK when it comes to IPv6. (1) http://pixelschatten.net/blocked-ipv6-ports/ -> SMTP/IMAP traffic blocked over IPv6, but not over IPv4... WTF?). I normally have all my systems report back to my main mail server. I expect this to work as it is the default on all Linux hosts nowadays, and that is: prefer IPv6 over IPv4. (2) https://digitalocean.uservoice.com/forums/136585-digitalocean/suggestion... -> Droplets get a full /64 prefix assigned, but only the first 16 addresses (or such) get routed properly. WTF? Please do your homework on IPv6 and don't cripple your service by offering crippled IPv6 support. I tell people, DO is great, but their IPv6 support is broken-by-design. Let me know, once this is about to change. Mike Gabriel (aka sunweaver at debian dot org, Debian Developer) Apology for the tone of the wording

Now reading the feedback given, I realize that my tone has been quite impolite. I am sorry about this. However, the experienced IPv6 issues are indeed annoying. So please excuse me for having expressed my annoyance with such harsh words. And... I am still annoyed about myself paying an ISP for such a crippled IPv6 support. (I need to consider migrating the VMs to another hoster, unless there will be some dynamics observable in the near future).

@Digital Ocean: Keep up the good work that you do in the realm of VM hosting. Evolve and grow up in the realm of IPv6 networking. Thank you!

light+love
Mike

[1] http://pixelschatten.net/blocked-ipv6-ports/
[2] https://digitalocean.uservoice.com/forums/136585-digitalocean/suggestion...
[3] https://tunnelbroker.net/

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Texas Creative: Update Extended Module: Drupal Updates...No Regressions!

Planet Drupal - mer, 13/04/2016 - 22:30

Avoid common pitfalls when updating Drupal modules. The new Update Extended module takes the guesswork out of a few tricky situations where regressions can slip into your site and break working functionality, especially when using a dev release.

Read More
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Matthew Garrett: Skylake's power management under Linux is dreadful and you shouldn't buy one until it's fixed

Planet Debian - mer, 13/04/2016 - 22:22
Linux 4.5 seems to have got Intel's Skylake platform (ie, 6th-generation Core CPUs) to the point where graphics work pretty reliably, which is great progress (4.4 tended to lose all my windows every so often, especially over suspend/resume). I'm even running Wayland happily. Unfortunately one of the reasons I have a laptop is that I want to be able to do things like use it on battery, and power consumption's an important part of that. Skylake continues the trend from Haswell of moving to an SoC-type model where clock and power domains are shared between components that were previously entirely independent, and so you can't enter deep power saving states unless multiple components all have the correct power management configuration. On Haswell/Broadwell this manifested in the form of Serial ATA link power management being involved in preventing the package from going into deep power saving states - setting that up correctly resulted in a reduction in full-system power consumption of about 40%[1].

I've now got a Skylake platform with a nice shiny NVMe device, so Serial ATA policy isn't relevant (the platform doesn't even expose a SATA controller). The deepest power saving state I can get into is PC3, despite Skylake supporting PC8 - so I'm probably consuming about 40% more power than I should be. And nobody seems to know what needs to be done to fix this. I've found no public documentation on the power management dependencies on Skylake. Turning on everything in Powertop doesn't improve anything. My battery life is pretty poor and the system is pretty warm.

The best thing about this is the following statement from page 64 of the 6th Generation Intel ® Processor Datasheet for U-Platforms:

Caution: Long term reliability cannot be assured unless all the Low-Power Idle States are enabled.

which is pretty concerning. Without support for states deeper than PC3, Linux is running in a configuration that Intel imply may trigger premature failure. That's obviously not good. Until this situation is improved, you probably shouldn't buy any Skylake systems if you're planning on running Linux.

[1] These patches never went upstream. Someone reported that they resulted in their SSD throwing errors and I couldn't find anybody with deeper levels of SATA experience who was interested in working on the problem. Intel's AHCI drivers for Windows do the right thing, but I couldn't find anybody at Intel who could get any information from their Windows driver team.

comments
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Petter Reinholdtsen: I.F. Stone - an inspiration for us all

Planet Debian - mer, 13/04/2016 - 21:20

I first got to know I.F. Stone when I came across an article by Jon Schwarz on The Intercept about his extraordinary contribution to investigative journalism in USA. The article is about a new documentary in two parts (part one is 12 minutes and part two is 30 minutes), and I found both truly fascinating. It is amazing what he was able to find by digging up public sources and government papers. He documented lots of government abuse and cover ups, and I find his weekly news letters inspiring to read even today.

All governments are run by liars and nothing they say should be believed.
- I. F. Stone

His starting point was that reporters should not assume governments and corporations are telling the truth, but verify all their claims as much as possible. I wonder how many Norwegian reporters can be said to follow the principles of I. F. Stone. They are definitely in short supply. If you, like me half a year ago, have never heard of him, check him out.

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3C Web Services: Super Login module for Drupal 8

Planet Drupal - mer, 13/04/2016 - 20:25

A tell-tale sign that a website is a Drupal site is the login page. If you go to WEBSITE_URL/user of most Drupal websites the login form that you're presented with is almost always the default and very Drupal-looking login. Now there's an easy way to change that on Drupal 8.

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FFW Agency: Great Examples Of Distributed Content Management In Higher Education

Planet Drupal - mer, 13/04/2016 - 19:47
Great Examples Of Distributed Content Management In Higher Education hank.vanzile Wed, 04/13/2016 - 17:47

In the first post in this series, What Is Distributed Content Management?, I defined two perspectives on that term: the distributed management of content and the management of distributed content.  While doing so, I used the example of a large university and the need to consider both aspects of Distributed Content Management as part of an effective digital strategy for higher education.  In today’s post I’ll develop that concept a bit further so we can discuss a few use cases in detail.

 

Setting The Scene

 

To ensure we’re all on the same page, imagine a large university.  For fun, let’s call it “Drupal University.”  Similar to many higher education institutions, the academic programs at Drupal University are split into multiple schools (let’s say 7) and each of those schools house a number of departments.  Some of the smaller schools may only have 3 to 5 departments, but others, such as Humanities or the Medical School, may have upwards of 25.  And let’s not forget that each of those departments is responsible for a number of different academic programs.  Toss in the requisite assortment of research labs, student organizations and administrative departments - you can see how quickly our college’s web presence gets complex!  At this scale we’re likely dealing with hundreds of different websites, all of which have requirements around content.  It’s the perfect platform for Distributed Content Management! Let’s explore a few use cases that might pop up.  Don’t worry, we’ll start with an easy one.

 

 

Use Case 1: Publishing Workflows For Individual Websites

 

For the web platform at Drupal University, this strategy is obvious.  Unless they employ an absurdly enormous central communications team, large universities simply must distribute their content production.  This doesn’t necessarily mean throwing open the gates!  Consideration of a content approval workflow is a critical part of the content strategy for any organization that employs Distributed Content Management.  Publishing workflows, whether manual or automated, must be tailored not only to the university, but to each school, department or group that’s in charge of a website.  Content to be published on the undergrad admissions websites likely requires significantly more oversight than the blog of an 8-person research lab.  The Medical School, with its 25 departments, probably has its own marketing and communications departments while a smaller school fights for the attention of centralized resources.  This is definitely a case where one size doesn’t fit all.  

 

Use Case 2: Sharing Content Out - Centralized Content On A Distributed Web Platform

 

Even the most decentralized universities have content that is centrally produced.  In some cases it may be easiest to just hyperlink to that content in its original location; however, consider, a news story about a student winning a prestigious award.  That story,  produced by the Communications Department for the News section of the college’s main website, may be reposted in its entirety in numerous strategically advantageous places: the homepage of the student’s academic program, the websites for her research lab, a site run by Admissions, another targeted at alumni.  Copying and pasting becomes a less efficient option the further content is distributed - more so when you consider the possibility of edits and possible unpublishing.  In later blog posts, I’ll discuss some of the techniques and products organizations are using to efficiently share content across numerous websites.

 

Use Case 3: Sharing Content In - Decentralized Websites As Points Of Origin

 

Another interesting use case presents itself when we consider distributed websites as the starting point for content creation.  Most universities maintain a central calendar of events, whether on a main website or in an Event Management System.  In a well-formed distributed content model, with an an appropriate CMS like Drupal, the same metadata that allows visitors to filter events - audience, department, program, etc. - can be easily used to syndicate those events to various websites.  Unfortunately, the same level of consideration is not always given to the publishing of new events.  Because central event calendars feed information to the entire college, they are often protected systems, editable only by a subset of users with appropriate permissions.  Content managers who are generally empowered to manage their own content may not have the same access to do so, or, in cases where they do have permission, find themselves needing to enter content into an entirely different system to get it published to their site.  But why should this be the case?  By extending the same technologies that allow websites to receive events from a central calendar, we can enable content managers to publish events to the calendar from within the same website they usually manage.  (The same content approval and publishing workflow considerations apply, of course.)

 

Use Case 4: Integrating With Controlled Content Systems

 

At the far end of the Distributed Content Management spectrum are systems that need to publish consistent, controlled content to websites with no possibility for discrepancies across multiple sites.  A common case of this in higher education would be a Course Catalog System (Acalog, SmartCatalog, CourseLeaf, etc.).  One of the primary jobs of these systems is to integrate with the university’s Student Information System, providing the canonical description of a course, its contents, credits, costs, etc.  If a university chooses to publish course descriptions on individual program sites, eliminating user error and neglect - mistakes made through copying and pasting, older content not being updated, etc. - is of great importance.  As such, determining a strategy for directly integrating with these systems, rather than relying on a standard approach to decentralized content management, must be an important part of a university’s content strategy.

 

What’s Next?

 

In my next post I’ll continue exploring use cases for Distributed Content Management but switch our focus to the pharmaceutical industry.  Thoughts or questions?  Reach out in the comments below or tweet them to me at @HankVanZile.

 

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Mediacurrent: Build your QA Department- Part 1: Laying a Foundation

Planet Drupal - mer, 13/04/2016 - 18:11
About me

With 15 years of experience in the Information Technology field, and 10 of those years focused on leadership, I’ve learned first hand the value of investing in people and setting them up for success. Before joining Mediacurrent, I started a QA department from scratch and grew it to its current size. Prior to that, I built an IT team. If you're an incoming leader, here's how to start building your own QA/IT department.

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Mehdi Dogguy: 2016 DPL election

Planet Debian - mer, 13/04/2016 - 15:46
It is time of the year where Debian project members should elect a new project leader. This year, only one candidate has stepped up, yours truly. As a reminder, my platform is published here. The campaign has been quite calm, comparing to past editions, which is not surprising given the number of candidates. There have been some interesting questions though as detailed below:
There are not many questions. It will take little time to read, if you haven't already.

Last but not least, please do vote! You have until 2016-04-16 23:59:59 UTC to vote (as announced here). It is very important to share your opinion and take part in the reflection around the future of the project. That every project member takes part in the evolutions that should be implemented to stay relevant and innovative in what we do.
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Jonathan McDowell: Software in the Public Interest contributing members: Check your activity status!

Planet Debian - mer, 13/04/2016 - 14:04

That’s a longer title than I’d like, but I want to try and catch the attention of anyone who might have missed more directed notifications about this. If you’re not an SPI contributing member there’s probably nothing to see here…

Although I decided not to stand for re-election at the Software in the Public Interest (SPI) board elections last July, I haven’t stopped my involvement with the organisation. In particular I’ve spent some time working on an overhaul of the members website and rolling it out. One of the things this has enabled is implementation of 2009-11-04.jmd.1: Contributing membership expiry, by tracking activity in elections and providing an easy way for a member to indicate they consider themselves active even if they haven’t voted.

The plan is that this will run at some point after the completion of every board election. A first pass of cleanups was completed nearly a month ago, contacting all contributing members who’d never been seen to vote and asking them to update their status if they were still active. A second round, of people who didn’t vote in the last board election (in 2014), is currently under way. Affected members will have been emailed directly and there was a mail to spi-announce, but I’m aware people often overlook these things or filter mail off somewhere that doesn’t get read often.

If you are an SPI Contributing member who considers themselves an active member I strongly recommend you login to the SPI Members Website and check the “Last active” date displayed is after 2014-07-14 (i.e. post the start of the last board election). If it’s not, click on the “Update” link beside the date. The updated date will be shown once you’ve done so.

Why does pruning inactive members matter? The 2015 X.Org election results provide at least one indication of why ensuring you have an engaged membership is important - they failed to make a by-laws change that a vast majority of votes were in favour of, due to failing to make quorum. (If you’re an X.org member, go vote!)

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