Sat 24 Mar 2018 5:01AM

Open source software

J Julie Public Seen by 355

Why we should use purely open source software. (DD and I agreed at last meeting to discuss this on Loomio)


Julie Sat 24 Mar 2018 5:12AM

Hey Dieudonné, I'd love to get more clarity about your reasons for preferring open source software, specifically in relation to paid Wordpress themes/plugins. I think you were saying it was not the money, but partly the ethics, and partly so we could see the source code ... is that correct? Have I missed anything?

When I said we can view all the code of a paid plugin or theme, you said that was not correct. I'm confused by this. When you install a theme or plugin, all the code is easily seen either via the cPanel file manager, or by going to Appearance -> Editor at the Wordpress backend. Are we talking about the same thing here?

I don't have the skills (currently) to do the kinds of things I'd like to be able to do with the PVH, and I think having a theme that someone else has developed would be a much better option. Similarly with paid plugins - for example, it would be really nice to have a mapping plugin, to show where all the members are, but the only ones I can find are paid plugins.

I understand avoiding things like Google, Facebook etc, because they collect data on us ... but paid themes or plugins aren't like that. They're just bits of code someone else has written, that we can use, and adapt or modify if we like.

I don't mean to be arguing for my point ... I genuinely want to understand what it is that you're suggesting or wanting.

Thanks :)


Dieudonné Sat 24 Mar 2018 11:47AM

Thank you Julie to genuinely want to understand what it is that I'm suggesting or wanting : )

My motivations for requesting we use open source software are mainly because what I see being realized through this spirit is much more inspiring to me, and makes me put my energy there.

Actually, if you start to dig in that direction, you'll see that even within the Free culture and open movements, they are many differences.

To avoid loosing ourselves within this diversity, I try to find what is really important to me within this diversity. One way to that for me, is to track where is this kind of spirit active. I see it here :
* https://en.wikipedia.org
* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_and_open-source_software
* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free-culture_movement
* https://degooglisons-internet.org/alternatives?l=en
* https://p2pfoundation.net
* etc…

One thing that seems common to all theses approach is to choose a free and open-source software license.

So basically, before starting to use a new software I check if it uses a free and open-source software license. And if it's under active development and widely used, it usually has a Wikipedia page, and it is likely to be a robust long lasting software.

I see MediaWiki and Loomio as such.

One good point to Loomio, is that thanks to its licence, other website can offer alternative developments, server hosting and services. Example :
* Framavox.org is based on Loomio.

And happily it looks like Framavox chooses to avoid google scripts : )
* https://framavox.org/g/GgYDtfZk/nvc-we

Another place where there is this attention to free and open source approach is here :
* https://f-droid.org

I haven't looked yet at the details about WP plugins or themes, and if their licence is indicated. I looked for instance at theses pages :
* https://wordpress.org/plugins/tags/mediawiki
* https://wordpress.org/plugins/wikiembedder/

I didn't find it. Did you ? The code is available on "Browse the code, check out the SVN repository" : does it imply it's a free and open source software in the sense that we are "freely licensed to use, copy, study, and change the software in any way" as written here : Free and open-source software ?

Sorry for having been a bit long in this response. Did it help you ?


Julie Sat 24 Mar 2018 6:32PM

Yes, thank you :)

My understanding of themes and plugins, whether free OR paid, is that we are perfectly free to "freely licensed to use, copy, study, and change the software in any way". The only limitation to that is that plugins (and themes) are updated (by their owners) frequently, so their updates would overwrite our changes, so it limits us to not getting their changes, unless we want to manually incorporate them. (That's not always the case, sometimes you can use hooks to modify what their plugin does, and have those in a different file that doesn't get overwritten, but not all plugins are set up for hooks).

Does that make any sense to you? I'm not sure on your level of understanding of wordpress or coding, so I'm not sure how much detail to give.

If what I am saying is correct, and we're free to modify their plugins, does this meet your criteria, even if they're not "officially open source"?


Julie Sat 24 Mar 2018 6:36PM

It seems to me that the only different between a paid plugin and something that is TRULY open source, is that we're not free to modify it then re-release it as a different product - i.e. we can't steal their code for our profit - which of course we wouldn't be doing. But we're completely free to modify it for our OWN use.

EDIT: I've just found this, at https://pippinsplugins.com/should-you-open-source-your-plugins/, which confirms what I'm saying:

"All plugins on Code Canyon are open source. They have to be in order to be compliant with the WordPress GPL license. When I say “closed source” in regards to paid plugins, I simply mean that their source code isn’t openly available to download somewhere on the web. If you purchase one of my plugins, or any other WordPress plugin, you are free to modify it in anyway you want."


Julie Sat 24 Mar 2018 7:43AM

WIKI ... Are we wanting to have control over who can post to the wiki? I like what DD said about "it works for Wikipedia". If we don't need to control who posts to it, then I could use MediaWiki, which is hosted on its own platform, but we can embed into our Wordpress site (so it shows up as though it's part of our site, even though it's actually on another site). If we DO need control, then I imagine we need a wordpress wiki plugin, there are a few we can use. Any thoughts on this question? - "Do we want to limit who can write to the wiki?" ... thanks.


Dieudonné Sat 24 Mar 2018 12:09PM

When you talk about a MediaWiki hosted on its own platform, which platform is it ?

I remember, having to much trouble with vandalism on en.nvcwiki.com, the adminitrators of this part of nvcwiki.com choose to restrict the account creation to people requesting for it through an email. On fr.nvcwiki.com we didn't need to do that, and we choose to use https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:ConfirmEdit with the QuestyCaptcha. It works fine. On https://nvc.miraheze.org I didn't check what is used to avoid vandalism or spam, but no problem with that until now.

If a plugin allows a "single sign-on" method it would be the best. Is it what Bob suggested ?

And If a plugin like https://wordpress.org/plugins/wikiembedder/ allows embedding nvc.miraheze.org it might be the lightest solution.


Julie Sat 24 Mar 2018 6:26PM

You asked: When you talk about a MediaWiki hosted on its own platform, which platform is it ?

I just mean it's not a wordpress plugin - the mediwiki is its own site. For example, https://nvc.miraheze.org/wiki/Main_Page - it's at miraheze. To use it for our site, we'd have to embed it.

I've just spend some time playing with wikiembedder, which seems exactly what we want, but I can't get it to work, it gives me an error. It's only version 0.1, has 20 active users, and no reviews or comments yet. I've added a support question, but don't know if or when I'll hear back.


Julie Sat 24 Mar 2018 8:01PM

Sorry for so many posts!! I should have waited until I'd played around more before replying. Anyway ... I've found another plugin that works - RDP Wiki Embed. I've linked it to your https://nvc.miraheze.org/wiki/Main_Page site just to test it out. You can see it at http://nvc-we.space/wiki/


Dieudonné Mon 26 Mar 2018 5:43AM

Great ! Thank you :smile:


Dieudonné Mon 26 Mar 2018 5:55AM

To help us find out how we can avoid "things like Google, Facebook etc, because they collect data on us", I installed WordPress on my server : dieudo.fr/wp, and sadly enough, before adding anything to it (plugin, theme, etc…) it already sends information to google :


Dieudonné Mon 26 Mar 2018 6:00AM

But since WordPress is under GNU GPLv2+ licence, :) I guess we can change that ;) The first who finds how to do that wins a beer :laughing:


Julie Mon 28 May 2018 9:55AM

Dieudonné, can you remind me how to see the scripts running, like in the image above? Is it a browser extension to SeaMonkey? Thanks :)


Julie Mon 28 May 2018 10:28AM

D'oh! Ignore that question, I found the answer. (Why do I always find answers just after I ask? :) )


Julie Mon 26 Mar 2018 7:32AM

When you install Wordpress these days, it automatically includes a few plugins. If you remove those, I think you'll get rid of the google bit.



Dieudonné Mon 26 Mar 2018 7:41AM

Actually it looks like it's rather the themes that generate gstatic scripts :
* https://wordpress.org/support/topic-tag/gstatic/

The default plugins are deactivated by default.


Julie Mon 26 Mar 2018 8:20AM

ah yes, I did something similar a while back when calls to google fonts was slowing down a website I look after!


Bob W Fri 6 Apr 2018 4:39AM

One question is whether we have distinct Wiki's for the Organisation and the Community? I think this might make sense. In that case, I would want the Wiki for the Organisation to be only edited by those actively working on behalf of the organisation.

In the case of the Wiki for the Community... I suppose my preference is to only have Community members editing that. And, I'm open to other perspectives.


Brent Barker Sat 14 Apr 2018 12:38AM

This makes sense to me. And Partners of the Organization are also Community Members, so they could edit the Community wiki as well.

Are you envisioning both wikis being publicly visible?