During development of 2.0 specification we saw that using Mahara (ePortfolio) with Moodle will be twofold. First it will be possible to send content from Moodle to Mahara, and second use Mahara as a repository. Even more we spoke in the forum of features giving the ability to submit a Mahara page to assessment into Moodle.
With Moodle 2.0 we got the Portfolio plugin, which effectively gives the opportunity to save users stuff into Mahara, and it is working well.
But the community is still waiting for the Mahara Repository plugin which is still on hold in the tracker.
Thanks to third party development, it is possible with Moodle 1.9 and Mahara to saend a Mahara Page to Moodle for assessment and see the achieved outcomes and comments sent back to Mahara for display. This development doesn't work in Moodle 2.0
Therefore, in every conference I go, the Moodle 2.0 repository feature for Mahara is plebiscite. I, as others, was expecting seeing this coming with Moodle 2.1 but the tracker says this is still "unresolved".
To help a better communication between these two great tools, Moodle and Mahara; their intimacy has even an name: Mahoodle; I kindly request everyone interested by a better integration to go to the trackerand vote for this repository feature to be developed for the next Moodle version (2.2 due for the end of the year).
and vote for this feature.
No need to limit yourself to voting. You can also:
- Try to work on the code yourself; or
- pay another developer to develop it for you. Catalyst IT or LUNS would both have sufficiently knowledgeable developers, and would quote you a fair price for the work. (That is just two companies that I know have the necessary expertise. I am sure there are others.)
While "code it yourself" answers are irritating, so are "someone else must fix my problem ASAP" posts. (I should not, however, express my irritation in public. Sorry. Even so, I am not going to delete the rest of this post.)
Remember that The Cathedral and the Bazaar talks about Open Source progressing when people scratch their own itch. Complaining loudly you itchy you are and demanding that someone else scratch if for you is not so effective. (It also sounds rather unhygienic )
I know nothing about the Mahara repository plugin, and whether anything is happening.
Votes do have a small effect on what happens.
Paying an experienced developer to develop something can have a big effect (e.g. http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=172825). As can developing stuff yourself.
My former post was a general exposition more than an specific one (I'm not specially interested in the Mahoodle).
My point was/is that, IMNSHO, the original post was not rude or impolite, so, if your threshold to "jump-in" is so low, you are going to get tired of jumping very soon
The "scratch-your-own-itch" metaphor isn't bad, but I think that it is a more accurate one if you think about Open Source users as persons without arms. People with arms (developers) are in a better position to scratch the users itches (specially the more tricky ones) than the usual user, and, well, they are "voluntaries" in the task of scratching some people itches sometimes, so it is normal that they are required to do so... urgently when the itch is acute. There is no wrong in requesting something urgently if you feel the urgency, if you request it in the proper way.
Of course, the user can learn to scratch with his feet, or can hire a professional scratcher (maybe a reputable DJ
Apart from this, I like this new post, far more informative.
See you in another thread. We will agree more someday (statistically, at least, it will be
Because you are in England my first words will be "I am sorry and appologise for any inconviences my behaviour may has caused".
I know, leaving in this country for a while, that the first thing to do is always to apologise. So I do, I am sorry that I log in, last time and I post this polite message to invite people to show their interest in what I believe to be an interesting feature. I am sorry you felt mugged or assaulted by this.
As and European, as you call us, and moreover a Swiss, I am pragmatic.
I know, that kindly asking people to come to the tracker and show their interest in something, will not magically see it appears or being developed as a new feature. But before funding anything, and moreover raising the funding, I think that some market study is not superfluous.
Speaking about scratching my own back, as you know me from Moodlemoot last year, I am not too old to do it by myself; regarding PHP development, I was brilliant but, as for the piano, I lost the skill. Then, what about money? Well, I am not rich, but my bank account, and the one of my institution, are both not ashamed to have already and regularly taken part to OpenSource projects, encompassing Mahoodle. However, I am convinced there are other ways to take part to a community (evangelisation; training; supporting users; translating; delivering papers at Moodlemoot or elsewhere; answering questions here in the forum, on LinkeIn, elsewhere; writing books; reviewing books… mostly for free).
I (as a user and lecturer) love the work you are doing at OU, and I like reading/learning from you in the forums, on Twitter and during the Moodlemoots we have shared together, and I am a bit suprised by your previous messages.
But, I am looking forward to having the opportunity, one of the next times I will be in Milton Keynes, to meet you again for friendly coffee-break and share ideas and experience.
A beautiful message Dajan - well said. We all don't have the skills and large insitutions with millions of pounds/Euros. Some of us have insitutions where we are watching our colleagues being made redundant and are having to move over to Open Source because we have no money and are trying to save money in order to save jobs (and thus the taxpayer money). (Not that it is a bad thing to go to Open Source!)
I've had a few negative comments on the tracker recently, I just feel the more you are helpful the more that someone likes to have a go. I've given up replying to some people on forums and messaging them privately my answer. The times I've been told "why don't you code it yourself" as a standard message. I wouldn't speak to my students in the manner I've seen some people being talked down to on the forums.
Things might be frustrating for some - but Moodle is a community and the community must get on. The attitude of some in a few open-source projects like Joomla has really put off several good PHP coders from working in the interests of the project.
Perhaps it is me and I am just getting old. However I'd like to see some politer standard responses:
e.g. If you have the skills and you believe you can code the change yourself it would be great if you raised an Improvement task in the tracker for the module/block and then attach the code for review and future incorporation into Moodle.
and there are a number of independant companies who can help you. Moodle Partners are ....<insert URL>. If you do engage with one of these companies it would be apprechiated if you could work with the company to donate the final code to the project.
Thank you for your continued support.
Perhaps I am just getting old?
I would like just emphases something you said about money and OpenSource project.
Often, the people I advise, think that because this is OpenSource or it follows the rules of the Free Software Fundation, solutions such as Moodle, Joomla, Mahara,... are FREE, meaning they cost nothing.
This is a false point of view. Using Moodle has a cost, or costs (plural): hardware but moreover human cost to learn, install and maintain the service for an institution.
For core engeeniers, coding beautiful solutions as Moodle has also a cost of time, skills.
My point of view is when we suggest an institution to come over and use Moodle, Joomla, SPIP or whatever OpenSourced or FSF developed solutions, nothing force us to not give something to sustain their development.
I am always suprised how it is easy to find money (35'000 CHF this year) to renew Microsoft Office 2011 licences, and the same policy makers telling you they won't give a "quid" for something it is free to download and use.
So I agree and understand those who are working hard on projects, like Tim Hunt, when they say come and help us instead of wanting more, and more things; I aslo agree with you about the way to say it.
Certainly, there is another forum to talk about finance and philsophy in IT, and this one is maybe not the good place.
Tim - I can only imagine how frustrating it is for those who put in the work. I am very pleased at the attitude the OU takes putting something back, whilst other insitutions do make great additions and don't share their work. (I know why, but I just believe in the whole ethic of keeping it all open source!)
Dajan - Yes the time I give up is my own personal time to save money and keep the budget costs low. I know what you mean about Microsoft and monies - though for our place we'd pay just £2,500 a year if we wanted it. That is more than my departmental budget!
For some people (especially those whose first language is not English) we do need to be very careful about interpretation.
The real difference between open source and proprietal software is that open source does not have a PR department to tell you that the product is wonderful, nor "please hold, we apologise for we are experiencing some technical difficulties right now, or leave a message we will return your call as soon as we can."
The other point is that not using proprietal software has two disadvantages, one that it does not save that much money over the entire IT budgets, particularly of large organizations, and the other, more importantly, is this perception that if something goes wrong who can we sue? What most companies do not realize, they cannot successfully sue software companies. Read their EULAs, it essentially says that the manufacture will not be responsible for their products. But no-one supporting open source ever says that - seems no-one wants to destroy the illusion of the basis of the western price model.
Also, why does no-one ever tell these companies that they are not buying a product, they are only leasing it for a one-off fee? If they use open source, they will truly own it, and can do what they want with it. If I buy a car, take all the badges off it and paint it purple with a big sign on it, I wont get sued when I trade that in or sell it. But if I was to do that with proprietal software, hack the code and put my own logo on it, how long am I going to last if I sell it?
Sorry guys, but everyone laments the same things, but we never seem to be able to get past those same basic things... You want to make inroads into the mentality, then you have to destroy the myths. When you talk to your masters about software, don't talk about "free" talk about ownership. Also, if you gat aflat tyre in your car, you can always change it, or go to a mechanic for a service and tune up. No such thing with proprietal software.
Apologies also from me if my posts caused any offence.
Reviewing them now, they may have been terse, but I don't think they were acutally rude, there were certainly not intended to be. Of course, they clearly were clerly percieved that way by some, and the meaning of a message is what is percieved at the other end*, so I will be more careful in future. Sorry again.
(* At least, there is potential for a fascinating philosophical debate about what the meaning of a message acutally is ... but I had better get back to fixing bugs )
Didn't want to cause you much trouble if it was my first post that put you in front of a "firing-squad".
I didn't accuse you of being rude (maybe, as Dominique, I would have done, If I were more emotionally involved), "only" of using (not to be, because, as I pointed out, that's not your usual tone; you actitude in the rest of your posts in this thread confirms that) an annoying and evasive response.
I thought (and think) that a thread in which I wasn't directly involved was a good opportunity to point out this issue (an important and recurrent issue in Open Source development) in a "fair" and "objective" way (as much as I can be), and giving you a chance of giving another type of response if you agreed that your original one had room for improvement.
To continue my intent of being "fair" and "objective", I think it is appropiate to thank you for you work in this project in general, and, in particular, for being, as I pointed out in another thread, almost the only developer "in the line of fire" in the forums. Of course, he who does a lot of things has more chance to not being perfect every time (or, using a soccer analogy, only the one who kicks the penalty can fail it), so I prefer you being helpful and supportive 99 out of 100 times than seeing you retreat from the comunity (I feel that this won't be the case, giving your later post, and I'm very pleased about that).
I had better get back to finding bugs for you to fix
P.D.: Wrote a lot in this thread, and I'm writing regularly in the forums. I'm Spanish, and, besides I think that I have a good level writing in English, there is room for improvement. ANY PRIVATE MESSAGE (VIA THE MESSAGING SYSTEM) TO HELP ME IMPROVE MY ENGLISH WOULD BE VERY WELCOME.
EDIT: Dominique didn't accuse you of being rude either. Don't want to miss-state facts.
I shut up
Tim, I understand what you're saying here. However, please remember that most people are end users or at best site admins. Most of us have no clue how to do the coding.
I don't accept that you can divide the world into 'developers' and 'users'. Allow me to explain.
Think about when you buy something. Some things you buy, say a DVD player, probably comes with a sticker on the case saying "No user-serviceable parts inside. If you even think about opening this case, the warranty is void." Then there are other things, say a bicycle, which almost invite you to tinker with them. With a bike you can see all the machinery and exactly how it works. And it is designed to be easy to to adapt - easy to attach lights, or a bottle holder, or take the wheels off to fix a puncture.
Moodle is open source software, so it definitely wants to be like a bicycle, and invite people to tinker if they are so inclined.
Now, I fully accept that not everyone wants to tinker. As it happens, I am a very keen cyclist. I ride my bike to work every day. When something goes wrong with it, however, I normally choose to take my bike to the shop and pay them to fix it, rather than fixing it myself.
That is not lack of knowledge. I have always known how to do some basic things, and recently my local bike shop offered me a free bicycle maintenance course. I did not have to accept their offer, but as it happens I did, and it was interesting. I now know how to do more things myself, at least in principle. I expect, however, that I will go on taking my bike into the shop most of the time because a their staff can do a better job than me at most repairs. It was still good for me to expand my knowledge. It was good that the bike shop shared their expertise.
Like the bike shop, the Moodle community should be helping people learn how to tinker with Moodle, if they are interested. There is certainly no compulsion on anyone to be interested, but the opportunity should be there.
So, just like you cannot draw a clear line between bicycle riders and bicycle mechanics, I think it is wrong to try to draw a line between Moodle users and Moodle developers. I think that people who are more expert at Moodle development should be generally encouraging other people to have a go, not with the expectation that they must all become developers, but with the hope that a few of them will.
There are some good examples of teachers who arrived at the Moodle community with only limited development knowledge, and who have gone on to make very useful contributions. Ones that spring to mind include Anthony Borrow, Pierre Pichet, Joseph Reseau and Jean-Michelle Vedrine. (I hope they don't mind me mentioning them by name here.)
As I say, I do not expect everyone to follow that path. But I think it is something that should be encouraged in those people who are interested, so I will go on making suggestions to people about how they might start tinkering with Moodle. I don't mind if such suggestions are ignored, but I believe that we are a community of educators, and so I will go on trying to share what I know about how to do Moodle development with anyone who will listen.
The main point about your exposition is that you compare the complexity of Moodle with the complexity of a bicycle, and basic/advanced maintenance with extending the main thing. For you, and a few more (developers and users, yes, I was obviously generalizing) writing a repository/extension may seem like change the broken handlebar of your bicycle: you know how to do it or think you can learn to do in with little sacrifice, because of previous knowledge and/or an intuitive talent for the thing and/or vocation. For most, is more like turning the bicycle into a tandem with no previous knowledge nor special talent nor vocation for tinkering. For a few, is more like building a new module for the ISS for their mother-in-law.
Encouraging is good, but when you are sure that the target already now the possibilities and benefits of doing yourself (as is quite obvious Dominique knows) is more an evasive/defensive answer than anything else, IMHO.
For some people including me it's a lot easier (and funnier) to write a question type than to fix anything on my bicycle (well, in fact it's a trike) because each time I tried the result was in fact worst
I think the main reason is in fact I have a lot more motivation for programming than for bicycle mecanic.
As for our students, when we want them to learn something motivation is the key !
I am quite sure that if I was lost a long way from home with a broken trike motivation for fixing it would come.