it's planet time

Well, cleaning up transcode was relatively easy (though I’m ignoring the minor dvd::rip bugs for now). I bumped the latest rc candidate for 1.0.4 and got a new CVS snapshot of 1.1.0 in the tree, so I feel like I’ve at least gotten something done. Upstream is having a few issues with some bugs, unfortunately, that will delay the next releases. I’m sure they could use with a few contributors.

The next project on my plate is to finally tackle the problems with the planets. Specifically, Planet Gentoo, Gentoo Universe, Gentoo Developer Blogs and Planet Larry. I have been putting this off for a very long time, and there’s a lot to be done. Things have been nagging me, and it’s time to finally clean things up and do them right.

The first two (Planet Gentoo and Gentoo Universe) are actually pretty good to go. The only thing I’m looking at that might change them is the backend we use. I’m experimenting / playing with Planet Venus, which isn’t so much a fork as much as a lot of fixes to Planet. I’m already running a copy of it on Planet Larry to see how well it works, and so far it’s been great. The things I like the most are that it uses less memory, can update more than one feed at a time, and most of all, lets you filter out posts using regular expressions. For those on Gentoo’s planets, that last point could prove incredibly useful for those who don’t have a blog that let’s them setup categories.

The only other changes that would go into those is creating some tools to help me manage and take care of users more easily. It has long been a royal pain in the butt to manage planet’s files because it is essentially one large .ini file where you have dozens of entries. I’m first going to write a frontend that I can use to automatically generate the .ini files for each user, instead of all in one global file, and store them in a small database. That way, making minor changes will be a simple feat.

For Planet Larry, I’m going to take it a step further and let users manage their feeds themselves. I’ll have an entire user authentication system where they can login, set their feed URLs, choose their language, set their location, etc. so that Alex or myself don’t have to do it all. The only thing left to us to administrate would pretty much authorize any changes — which isn’t as bad as it sounds, it’s just that in the past we’ve had people want to get on the planet for nothing more than pure self-promotion, so we can’t just automatically include anyone on there or we’d get spammed.

Something else that I’m going to do when I setup the new user administration system is this — purge all the entries and start from scratch. I’ll let anyone sign back up and get back on, of course, but I want it to be completely voluntary.

Planet Larry has grown quite a bit, and while my original idea of pulling in anything from anybody who randomly mentions Gentoo now and then was fine for when there was a few people, the scenario now is that most of the content is off-topic completely, and makes for some pretty boring reads sometimes. If there’s some interest, I can easily setup a filtering mechanism and / or let users choose which categories to be pulled into the feeds, so we can have a Planet / Universe mix of on and off-topic posts. The real hurdle is just getting a frontend setup to manage all the data, and once that’s done, we’ll be in a position to make a lot of customizations. One idea I really like is to even setup personalized planet feeds, where you can ignore some users if you’d like.

That’s what I’m going to be working on soon. If you have any comments or suggestions, now is the time. Just ping me at my gentoo.org e-mail address (beandog) if you have any ideas.

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3 Comments

Filed under Gentoo, Planet Larry

3 responses to “it's planet time

  1. Actually I’ve always liked the kind of diversity that planet larry has, it gives readers a lot of input about all kinds of topics which is always neat.
    Maybe it could be somehow separated like planet gentoo and plante gentoo/universe?

  2. Steve

    @tante,

    Yah, that’s what I meant. I guess I didn’t explain that too well. :)

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