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Re: [school-discuss] Metadot and MIT

I definitely agree with you regarding to the database abstraction layer!! One of the problems in open source is the string of intricate decisions one must make in order to decide on the selection of application layer programs. At the hardware level, if you have a variety or hodgepodge of equipment from a variety of manufacturers, installation of an operating system is more difficult. In schools we see both older Macs that can't run OS-X and older PC's that can"t run XP, and keeping track of the various licenses related to these machines over time is arduous. This is one component in our ROI/TCO equation.

This is why we have chosen for our push into schools a special fork of the Gentoo Linux. It is harder to initially install, but then everything gets a lot easier after our initial reference CD-ROM is burnt and then either updated via Portage or via a reference CD-ROM for isolated machines. For instance in a network of 100 rich clients, one server can update all sites in a matter of minutes. In addition, not only is Gentoo a strong, mature nonprofit offering with a great support structure, Gentoo is also multiple platform, thus runs optimally on PPC's, INtel, AMD, AMD64, etc. Going up the layers now is determined via a very explicit set of goals and objectives, where software is loaded in a minimalist fashion based on its perceived use and need at the server or workstation level, rather than the Redhat/Mandrake kitchen sink approach. Ease of installation in a school environment (the forte of the debian based Xandros) is not a major issue, since there is usually a group of parents, or a paid SysAdmin, or as in our case, we install the reference distributions as part of our site-based to do this step. Ease of maintenance and ease of upgrade is more important.

Selecting applications under Gentoo is a whiz -- just say "emerge opengroupware" and it gets done!!

Cameron Miller wrote:


I will check out ez publisher.

I run mysql on several servers without violating the GPL. MySql is dual licensed, GPL and their commercial license, similar to the ez publisher dual GPL and commercial license.

Not being able to use multiple databases detracts from a products usefulness for me. If it is written using a database abstraction layer, like the perl DBI/DBD or php's Pear DB or adodb the product can easily use multiple database back ends. I once saw an internal product moved from mysql on HPUX to mssql on Windows NT with changes to a couple of connect strings thanks to the DBI/DBD.

It's good to hear the mysql developers sought assistance from the postgres folks, and I am sure the postgres folks were more than willing to help. That tells me FLOSS developers are trying to create the best products possible.

- cameron

Michael Dean wrote:

ez publisher! With regard to mysql, to distribute it within your organization, such as on several servers, requires a commercial license. Postgresql is Apache licensing. Many CMS or CRM packages can now use postgresql but not mysql. There are several comparison studies on the web which document the differences. In fact, at the last Linuxwolrd, mysql sought the assistance of postgresql in improving. Mysql is better at marketing. My comparison was taken from cmsmatrix.org.
Cameron Miller wrote:

Haven't tried Metadot, mainly because I think mod_perl is a pain. The project does appear to have lots of small and large users, middle school through large U's.

MySql is GPL licensed and freely available for download and use. I find MySql every bit as good as Postgres for most uses, and a lot easier to set up and maintain than Postgres or Oracle.

A lot of the features you cite as not being available in Metadot apparently are, listed both at the cmsmatrix site and the Metadot feature page. What is your suggestion for a CMS/portal doing all of the things you state Metadot lacks?

- cameron

Michael Dean wrote:

if one wants to compare CMS/portals go to cmsmatrix.org. I have some problems with metadot, which I have looked at in detail for smaller schools. First, it is written in perl, which when it scales is very slow. Second, you need mysql or oracle to run it. Fine for big universities, who usually have Oracle, but if you want an open source solution in your middleware as well as user applications not so fine. Mysql also costs money, and is not a comparable (not as good) database to either Oracle or postgresql. second, it does not provide an audit trail, no content approval, requires use of LDAP for authentication, admin is not notified of problems, does not run under SSL, has no commercial certification or documentation, no online help, does not provide a structure for third party developer add-ins, no drag and drop content, no undo, no advanced caching, no database replication, no content staging, no affiliate tracking, no deployment as a package, no way to trash old content, no web statistics, no web based translation management, no workflow engine, no ftp support (even scp), is not WAI compliant, no webdav support, not xhtml compliant, no cgi support, no interface localization, not metadata support, is not multi-lingual, or wiki aware. no chat, no classifieds. No contact management, no data entry, no database reports, no groupware, no guest book, no bug reporting/help desk, no HTTP proxy, no surveys, no tests/quizzes. The keyword here is NO!

One of schoolforge's affiliates was totally trashed last weekend by a porn marketeer who placed 2500 links to porn sites in the comments section of every artricle about school software. This is why content approval and moderation is so important in your software, especially in grade schools. Also, one would want to audit who does what on your site, because trashing your site with porn in the US is a felony.
Daniel Guermeur wrote:

Hello all,

Just to announce that Metadot Portal Server software has a new university user: MIT.
Metadot is used by numerous schools and university including Berkeley, Pace and many orders for their intranet, extranet or organization websites. Metadot provides content management, collaboration and portal (like My Yahoo) functionality. The key differentiator is the extreme ease of use so that non technical users can manage the content without asking their busy IT person to help.

See live sites at:

Daniel Guermeur - daniel@metadot.com
www.metadot.com - Be Part Of The Open Source Revolution