Title: Planet Gentoo web log aggregator
Author: Daniel Drake <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Type: Standards Track
Post-History: 2004-10-25, 2004-11-10, 2005-03-11
The new `Planet Gentoo`_ came online 2005-03-10, so this GLEP is now Final.
.. _Planet Gentoo: http://planet.gentoo.org/
- `Stuart Herbert`_ for the original idea
- `Alexander Plank`_ who also has put effort into promoting this
This GLEP proposes the creation of "Planet Gentoo", a new section of the
gentoo.org website. It would aggregate weblogs (commonly known as "blogs")
written by contributing Gentoo developers onto this single page, available to
the public. I will refer to this new website section as "the planet" in this
We would also provide an installation of a weblog engine for developers that
do not currently have their own weblog.
I'm trying to reduce the gap between the Gentoo user and development
Many large open source projects and software distributors have their own
Planet where contributors weblogs are aggregated. See the `Planetplanet`_
homepage for a complete listing. These other aggregations appear to be
successful and bring their relevant communities together.
These aggregations are often quite interesting to read, since they contain a
variation of topics, not all of which are related to the project.
The planet would add another method of user interaction with developers, as
most weblogs allow readers to post comments.
Readers would get more interested in the Gentoo project, and would get a feel
for the personalities of the contributing developers. Although I am not
suggesting this should be used as an announcement tool, developers could also
use this to get general messages over to the user community.
This would also benefit our development, as developers would also be able to
keep track of what other developers are working on and promote more
collaboration amongst each other.
The proposed design is an installation of `Planetplanet`_ at a part of the
gentoo.org infrastructure, e.g. http://planet.gentoo.org
We would also provide an installation of `Wordpress`_ or a similar weblogging
engine, for developers that do not have their own weblog or would wish to
move their log to an official Gentoo hosted website. This could be provided
at (e.g.) http://weblogs.gentoo.org
`Planetplanet`_ is simply a weblog aggregator written in python. It is
executed as a cronjob and fetches content from all the weblogs it has been
asked to, postprocesses and aggregates them into a single html file (based on
a template), and outputs that html content to an area provided by a webserver.
This should allow for ease of integration with any existing infrastructure.
Planetplanet is configurable through a single configuration file, which lists
the log feed URL, real name and user name for each contributing developer.
`Wordpress`_ is a weblogging engine written in PHP. It relies on MySQL for
the data store. After the initial setup, all configuration is done through a
A group of people would be assigned the responsibility/CVS access to maintain
these two services. I would suggest the existing infrastructure team to have
this responsibility. If required, I will assist with the initial
The planetplanet installation would fetch and aggregate developers weblogs
only, we would not accept non-developer logs.
Developers do not have to host their weblogs with us, practically all blogging
packages provide an XML feed (typically RSS) which planetplanet will happily
fetch and process. Other feed formats are also accepted, examine the
planetplanet documentation for more info.
In the event of a contributing Gentoo developer leaving the project, their log
would be removed from the aggregation. If their log was hosted by ourselves,
it would be closed. For this reason, some developers may choose to host their
log elsewhere - this is not a problem and is left to the decision of the
It is true that the addition of the planet to our website collection would add
yet another source of Gentoo information to our collection; our users and
developers are already overwhelmed with IRC, mailing lists, forums, and the
central website. In contrast, a lot of information is currently replicated
over those mediums, but the planet would provide a taste of something new.
Developers can choose their own topics and are free to write about things that
perhaps would not fit into our existing communication mediums. Additionally,
the planet will attempt to bring some existing content together by linking to
recent commits, bug lists, and dev.gentoo.org webspace for each contributing
It has been suggested that the activity of the planet may be an issue:
although a lot of activity would make the planet very successful, it may look
bad on us as a whole if the planet is inactive.
`Alexander Plank`_ started a `gentoo-dev discussion`_ back in August regarding
this exact idea. Alexander set up a `Planet Gentoo mini-survey`_ to see which
developers have weblogs or would be interested in obtaining one to be
aggregated on the planet. At the time of writing, the survey yielded a list
of 21 interested developers.
Looking at the other planets available, a contributor count like this would be
more than enough to keep the planet active and interesting. Through my
experiments of finding developers existing weblogs through google and
aggregating them on my local Planetplanet installation, I have come to the
conclusion that just a small quantity of active weblogs is enough to keep the
planet going strongly.
I also note that the list of 21 interested developers was built up over a
short space of time, and it was only mentioned once in a rather large thread
on the gentoo-dev mailing list. I predict that given more publicity amongst
the developers, this idea would be even more popular. I also predict that if
such a planet were to go live, other developers would be motivated to join in,
and new developers joining the project would be keen on contributing.
The success of the planet will be evaluated by examining the number of hits to
the planet. 3 months after launch, one weeks worth of logs will be recorded,
and hits will be counted. If the hit count for that week is below 1000, the
planet will be deemed as not having met its target, and appropriate action can
be taken if the planet appears to be harming our image.
See `Bug 63160`_ for a template file mimicking the current gentoo.org design
plus a sample config file.
.. _Stuart Herbert: email@example.com
.. _Alexander Plank: firstname.lastname@example.org
.. _Planetplanet: http://www.planetplanet.org
.. _Wordpress: http://packages.gentoo.org/package/wordpress
.. _gentoo-dev discussion:
.. _Planet Gentoo mini-survey: http://penguincluster.com/cgi-bin/wiki.pl/BlogInterest
.. _Bug 63160: http://bugs.gentoo.org/63160
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