[pmwiki-users] PmWiki past, present and future (was: Any hope for 2.2.0, stable release?)

Ben Stallings ben at interdependentweb.com
Fri Jan 16 09:05:38 CST 2009

Mike Moller wrote,
> I'm also sure that we all wish Patrick and his family the best
> possible outcome that can be achieved in their personal circumstances.
> Having said that I believe it behooves us all as a community to be
> cautious in attempting to move PmWiki forward from here. At the very
> least common courtesy requires that we seek Patrick's contribution to
> these discussions before anyone seeks to put any new project
> arrangements in concrete form.

Amen.  When this thread started, I thought that seeking Pm's 
contribution was precisely what we were doing.  Evidently his family 
situation is serious enough that he's away from email for a few days.  I 
look forward to reading his response, which will be so tactful and 
insightful as to put us all to shame, as usual!  :-)

However, at risk of being insensitive, I think this kind of absence is 
precisely what this discussion is about.  Even if everyone in Pm's life 
recovers fully today and is 100% healthy for the rest of their natural 
lives, which I devoutly hope, what happens then?  At some point Pm will 
become unavailable again, and PmWiki is bigger than just Pm.  There are 
hundreds if not thousands of sites relying on this software's continued 
development -- even if there is a moratorium on new core features (which 
is, in effect, what happened in 2008), the hackers are not standing 
still, so we will need security releases.  If all core releases have to 
go through Pm, and he's unavailable, then we'll either have to produce 
patches to fix the security holes, or release unofficial versions, or 
fork the code, none of which is a good solution.

Thus far PmWiki has been amazingly stable and resilient and resistant to 
hackers (when configured appropriately).  In contrast, Drupal just had a 
security release yesterday that sent me scrambling to update a dozen 
sites, and it has one of those every few weeks!  It's much like the 
difference between Mac OS and Windows -- both Mac users and PmWiki users 
have good reason to feel smug and invulnerable.  But read the news: 
Apple is about to lose its visionary leader.  Fortunately Apple 
anticipated that that would happen, and there are other leaders waiting 
in the wings.  The PmWiki community is not prepared for that, as far as 
I can tell.

I totally agree with Pm's vision for the software.  But the great thing 
about a vision is, it can be *shared* by more than one person.  So can 
leadership and decision-making.  I think that as a community, we have a 
responsibility to each other and to our users to anticipate the 
inevitable.  With Pm's blessing, of course.  :-)

Ben Stallings
Interdependent Web

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