I breezed over the “next generation MediaWiki” issues in the last post, but at least one person saw fit to comment on a particular part of it, so I feel obliged to post a bit more about it, with a clarification.
For some months, there have been discussions on the wikitech-l and mediawiki-l mailing lists regarding the next version of MediaWiki after 1.9. Brion Vibber, our lead developer and release manager, has stated that this would be 1.10, due for release this month or early next, and this sparked off a whole discussion about “MediaWiki 2.0″.
The problem (I feel, and it seems, so do some others) with labels such as “MediaWiki 2.0″ is that it encourages people to start planning for a big rewrite with a whole raft of new features, and we had some mailing list posts discussing this. Now, I’m not going to defend the entire code base and state that parts of it don’t suck, and I’m not going to get into a language war, either, but I don’t feel (and again, others actually working on the software agree) that a full-blown rewrite from scratch is at all the approach we need to take; our existing model of continuous development and integration works for us, and it works well.
There’s been a lot of time and effort invested by many people in developing techniques and experience for all aspects of running the Wikimedia cluster, including actual application development, optimisation (including SQL optimisation, etc. and a lot of trial and error) and the entire server operations side of things. A major rewrite of MediaWiki would discard much of this hard work, and would discard something that a lot of people have worked on since 2003.
Therefore, I was skeptical, as were a lot of developers, over the claims of some people that we needed to rewrite MediaWiki for version 2.0. This seems to have been the general consensus at a recent conference in Vancouver, and while I didn’t attend it, I’d like to think some of the comments I made on the general issue prior to that did something to help convince people. (Satisfied, Erik?)
So, as I mentioned before, the outcome of that was that the mediawiki-ng-l mailing list was set up. It’s on moderated subscriptions at the moment, but as explained in the introduction post, membership is not a difficult hurdle, although I am concerned that it seems to be adopting a secretive attitude.
With a bit of luck, we have a think tank established that will begin churning out useful ideas soon. With even more luck, that think tank will remain open to all of us…
Well, it looks like I won’t be participating in Google Summer of Code 2007, which is a bit of a shame, but there it is.
I haven’t had the time this week to decide upon a project, and although Google have extended the deadline for applications to the 26th, I won’t have time now to take the ideas put forward so far and prepare a decent proposal for consideration.
Furthermore, I’m somewhat disinclined to participate in heavy development at the moment owing to the machinations of the development team – there’s quite a lot of hassle coming from certain new committers, and the recent attitude coming off some sponsored developers makes me not want to join their ranks.
It’s the time of year, now that spring is in the air, for those two wet gits…er, I mean, it’s time for Google Summer of Code again. If I’m going to take part this year, then I need to decide what I’m going to do and submit an application by the end of next Friday.
My schedule at the moment may very well make that impossible…