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TWiki Community Summit, Rome, 2007-08-16/17

The Attendees
All Rome attendees (except one)
"All roads lead to Rome." And may TWiki lead to all enterprises!

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Logistics and Organization



The overall goal was to have lot's of face-to-face time to get to know each other more, and to develop an agreed on roadmap. Pulling on the same string is strengthening the TWikiCommunity and the TWiki platform.

  • Set a joint strategic direction for future of TWiki.
  • Define the release themes for TWiki 5.0
  • Inspire more energy in community's software development
  • More languages
  • Define a TWiki marketing strategy, and get community support for TWiki PR and blogging
  • Initiate more community working groups (Doc, User, etc.)
  • Get new TWikiApplications developed
  • Last but not least, let's have fun! thumbs up

The attendees

KennethLavrsen, CrawfordCurrie, EmanueleCupido, Sander Duivestein, RodBeckstrom, ArthurClemens, KoenMartens, CarloSchulz, AndreaSterbini, PeterThoeny, ColasNahaboo, SteffenPoulsen

Program and Minutes

Day 1

Self introduction

We spent some time to introduce each other, outside of TWiki context.

Personal visions (highlights):

  • Koen
    • Ease of use for all users
  • Rod
    • Adobe Acrobat / QED / Word mixture
  • Arthur
    • Preinstalled by ISPs
    • Wider community
    • Pluggable search results
  • Andrea
    • Inference engine?
    • Easy install - in the main Linux distributions
  • Peter
    • Standard / marketplace for TWiki applications
    • Different entry points to t.o. for different target groups
  • Carlo
    • TWikiUsability - Don't make the user think
    • Do cool stuff without coding
  • Colas
    • Compatibility/Consistency
    • Tools for designing skin
  • Emmanuel
    • Operating system for integrating personal tools
  • Kenneth
    • TWikiUsability - Word and Excel feel-alike (dubbed "Certifiable TWiki" smile )
    • Scalability to Motorola size (70K employees)
    • Upgradability - Never break compatibility
  • Crawford - vision for the community
    • Never been short of ideas - short of delivery (Something cool versus something useable graph)
    • Identify key differentiators against CMS, other "Wikis", Web 2.0
    • Independence - from any potentially controlling group
    • Need to keep it attractive to geeks, make TWikiUsability cool
    • Clearly identified, involved, industry sponsors -
    • "Cut the noose" - allow exploration of incompatible changes
    • An active community, lead by contributors who are not programmers
    • Routes to Market for contributors (shop etc)
    • Action not words!
    • Content refactoring tools for wikimasters
    • Tests; Single most valuable part of the codebase

Strategic direction: TWikiMission

Decided to shorten TWikiMission from:

"TWiki is a leading-edge, web-based collaboration platform targeting the corporate intranet world. TWiki fosters information flow within an organization; lets distributed teams work together seamlessly and productively; and eliminates the one-webmaster syndrome of outdated intranet content."


"TWiki, the open source wiki for the enterprise."

We also added some development guidelines, user considerations and the community perspective to explain/expand the TWikiMission.

TWIKI.NET and TWiki.org

See TWikiDotNet for some background information.

Peter and Rod explained what TWIKI.NET was all about. Here are some key statements as they were understood by KennethLavrsen. (Thanks Kenneth, this is a pretty accurate description -- PTh)

  • TWIKI.NET does not intend to fork TWiki.
  • TWIKI.NET provide a complete Linux distro where they certify that the OS, the Perl, The CPAN libs, Apache, TWiki core, and a selection of plugins will run. The fact that their customers have a known set of software also makes support easier to manage because you know exactly what the customer has.
  • TWIKI.NET product is a subscription of a service which consists of installation, upgrades, and support.
  • The EULA covers specific proprietary software related to installation and upgrading. It does not cover any of the open source software. The EULA text is similar to what other open source related businesses are doing with the part that is proprietary.
  • TWIKI.NET intend to feed improvements and bug fixes directly back to the open source project. No forking.
  • TWIKI.NET has already funded development among the community members.
  • TWIKI.NET goal is to get TWiki out everywhere in all businesses. Also the ones that are not in the IT sector. They expect that most will install the free TWiki but the more TWiki spreading, the more potential paying subscribers. And to meet this goal, TWiki needs to get easier to install and easier to use. And this is where they expect to be able to contribute back to the community.
  • TWIKI.NET is a new company which needs to build its business first and get subscribers before it can be expected to contribute back.

In the discussion the community members suggested that it got clarified better what the EULA covers so people do not misunderstand. We also agreed some rough guide lines on how to link from the download pages on twiki.org to TWIKI.NET. It was strongly expressed that the download was the twiki.org open source download and that links to other distributions would get a secondary position and would link to the general website and not to the download page - in order to not create any misunderstandings. The community will look how other projects are doing this and learn from this.

Day 2

Development models & decision making processes

  • There was a full agreement that the current feature proposal process was working well and continues unchanged
    • Cannot clearly see what the menu of proposals is - Colas will champion fixing this
    • General processes are obscure - need to make them more obvious. Do that in the reqts mgmt system, which is where everyone starts (Kenneth).
    • Need a process to clean up Codev (e.g. delete everything first, mark what's wanted) - ColasNahaboo will champion
  • KennethLavrsen will try to engage the other customer advocates more
  • KennethLavrsen explained the background for resigning as release manager. The following was agreed..
    • TWIKI.NET will notify the community if their activities loads community resources that can impact the release of the open source versions.
    • The release process will be changed so that feature freeze on MAIN becomes short and feature freeze breaking cannot delay the release process.
    • A strong commitment was made among the meeting participants to support the 4.2.0 release.
    • KennethLavrsen accepted to continue as release manager (Sven Dowideit has additionally stepped in so that 4.2.0 becomes a team effort)

More on the release process.

  • The handling of releases on SVN is changed in these two areas
    • The Patch branch (release branch) is created shortly after the declaration of feature freeze instead of at the time of release. This changes the impact of feature freeze on MAIN from months to days
    • The feature freeze and patch branch should never again be created in the middle of the implementation of a major feature implementation or code refactoring. The release date and feature freeze date/patch branch creation must in future be set at the completion of a major code implementation.
    • AndreaSterbini and KoenMartens agreed to assist in bug fixing

The new updated release process is documented at PatchReleaseMaintenanceSVN

Marketing OSS TWiki

Ideas for TWiki marketing:

  • Build reationships with reporters, bloggers, analysts
  • TWiki.org homepage redesign
    • Set of pages for press/analysts, CEO/CIO, managers, geeks
    • Flash: Spinning globe with customers downloading TWiki
    • YouTube testimonials
    • Success stories
    • RodBeckstrom/Main.ArthurClemens will execute on redesigning the TWiki.org front page
  • New server hardware & hosting - see ProjectResources
    • Donated by Sun, TWIKI.NET, Plug & Play:
      • Cisco load balancer
      • 2 x web server: 4 GB RAM, AMD, Solaris
      • Storage server: 2 GB RAM, AMD, Solaris, RAID 1, mirrored, 250GB each
    • Linked icons on TWiki.org homepage to Sun, Plug & Play, TWIKI.NET (sponsors of hardware & hosting)
    • Link to TWIKI.NET home from TWiki download page, text: "Commercial supported version, visit sponsor at TWIKI.NET"
  • Press releases, continue

RodBeckstrom agreed to lead/champion the effort for marketing OSS TWiki - even if it's only to identify someone who can do the job effectively and independently.

Naming of terms:

  • Should "topic" be called "page"?
    • Implication on renaming variables and prefs? (TOPIC, ALLOWTOPICCHANGE, HOMETOPIC, INCLUDINGTOPIC, etc.)
  • Should "web" be called "wiki"?
    • Implication on renaming variables and prefs? (WEB, ALLOWWEBCHANGE, INCLUDINGWEB, etc.)

Engaging & keeping contributors

Ideas for community building:

  • TWiki.org Blog: Dev, Usability, Marketing - Koen, Crawford (dev), Carlo (usability), Peter
  • Request board for volunteers
  • Look for grant writers in Europe - Emmanuel
  • TWikiMeetUps: TWikiFirst (first Monday of month) - Peter, Koen, Carlo, Andrea
  • Build circles, with structure/protocols/values
    • Marketing - Peter, Rod
      • Biweekly marketing calls - Rod
    • Usability - Carlo, Colas
    • EEC Grants - Emmanuel, Andrea
    • TWiki.org docs
  • Network with other groups, such as local Perl Mongers groups
  • Newsletter
  • T-shirts and other merchandize
  • Marketplace for TWiki Widgets (apps & components) - Kenneth, Peter
  • Conf call with IRC
  • StudentProject page - Colas
    • Student projects - Andrea
  • Test infrastructure - Steffen
  • TWiki.org wiki champions - Peter, Steffen
  • TWikiCommunitySummits - Rod

Roadmap for TWiki 5.0

(Voting: 3 votes for each person who attended the meeting)
  • Usability:
    • Seamless, quick, extensible WYSIWYG (8 votes)
    • Point and click permissions (0 votes)
    • Flow of manipulating content: File upload, more screen, ... (5 votes)
  • Performance & scalability:
    • Fast structured queries (5 votes)
    • Fast text search (2 votes)
  • Application platform:
    • Easy ways to build & exchange applications & components (3 votes)
  • Mashups:
    • Easy ways to mashup different data sources & applications (XML/SOAP/JSON toolkit) (3 votes)
  • UI:
    • Stable template baseline for skins (0 votes)

The roadmap has been copied to the TWikiRoadMap topic.

Guidelines for implementation (not part of the roadmap):

  • DB backend:
    • Retain complete audit trail (content, incl. meta data)
    • Retain easy import & export
    • Don't lose flat files (for simplicity)
  • Application platform:
    • Web based packager & installer

Hey, this is what I did

  • Carlo: Review current skin for usability
  • Colas: Demo how TWiki is used at ILOG
  • Crawford: Demo TinyMCEPlugin
  • Kenneth: Showed how TWiki is used in Motorola for QMS and Project Management (Actually shown day 1 but add here for clarity)

Photos and more

MOVED TO... See TWikiCommunitySummitRome2007Photos



Quick update of minutes. This after two days cold turkey (e.g. no internet access, due to "internet temporarily unavailable" for three days.) The community summit was a great success! Please help record what we discussed. More l8er...

-- PeterThoeny - 18 Aug 2007

And on that note..... I recommend that all future TWiki F2F meetings are held without internet access; not having internet kept us all focused on the task in hand. The meeting would not have been half as good as it was if we'd all been sitting there doing email.

-- CrawfordCurrie - 20 Aug 2007

CC, that sounds great. But what happened ?? Did anybody keep meeting minutes ?

-- KeithHelfrich - 21 Aug 2007

Above you will find a large section "Program and Minutes". That is the minutes.

Those were taken during the meeting. Additionally at least Crawford and I took minutes and I have already added some of that both above, on TWikiMission, EnsureDataIntegrity, PatchReleaseMaintenanceSVN, and on TWikiRoadMap.

I think many of us had a local TWiki server on our laptops and it is actually also possible to write notes in Open Office or ... on paper.

Only section missing is the TWIKI.NET part which I assumed Peter or Rod would fill in.

CC is right. Checking emails during a meeting takes away attention. For the same reason I never bring a laptop to meetings at work unless the meeting requires it (like me giving a presentation). Either I am at a meeting or I have my nose in the computer screen. But at night it could have been nice to have been able to update TWiki.org with the updates of the day. And at the meeting we could have used Internet to show some details we discussed. But having everyone's attention for two days - that was very nice. And I enjoyed the two days very much. A great bunch of very different people all with one thing in common: TWiki. I am especially positively surprised how easy it went to make the TWikiRoadMap, how much we agreed on the top priority, and the commitment everyone showed. A great inspiration.

-- KennethLavrsen - 21 Aug 2007

Right; the acid test is now to make sure we actually execute on what we agreed!

-- CrawfordCurrie - 21 Aug 2007

Absolutely, let's keep this momentum going! For what it's worth, i've started on the blogs i promised to champion, see the Blog web. It will open up somewhere today i guess.

I've already started a new topic, TWikiCommunitySummit2008Q1, so we can start to discuss the location and/or what we want out of it.

-- KoenMartens - 21 Aug 2007

I did some refactoring and started a TWikiMeetUps topic as well. I think it would be cool if this topic would work as a gateway topic for further TWiki development as well. Therefore I started to link our plans for action with already existing topics and add links to the ones that are missing. This should really become a high quality document.

-- CarloSchulz - 23 Aug 2007

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Topic revision: r90 - 2007-11-06 - PeterThoeny
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