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Open Source Collaboration – Part 2 – A day with Mindquarry

11 June 2007 4 Comments


In my last post, I wrote about my search for an OSS (compatible) collaboration product and how I came across three contenders.

  1. Mindquarry
  2. O3Spaces
  3. PengYou

I took a better look at the demos for PengYou and realised that it’s main functions are:

  • Webdav server
  • Very nice file manager for the webdav server
  • Plugin for OpenOffice to open those webdav shares remotely
  • Plugin for MS Word to open those webdav shares remotely
  • (From memory), it used subversion for versioning

O3Space would mean I would actually have to fork out some money after I got through testing it and it’s not OSS yet and didn’t have a demo I could play with, although they do provide vmware image I have downloaded.. so it got skipped over.

I actually got to play around with the Mindquarry demo.

To be continued.. had to stop here.

..ok, I can finally continue on this – a day with Mindquarry 1.1 beta, although it’s actually been 3 days now.

It’s beta software. It has errors, some things don’t work etc. Don’t go thinking that you’re going to be a happy camper working peacefully with 1.1 beta version. It just isn’t so. What I will say, is that despite it’s errors and despite it’s beta version, It’s still what I would call a ‘killer app’

It’s a little like basecamp, I guess – It’s a simple concept, implementing the most important features first and utmost and worrying about the details later.

Some of those ‘details’ that I have noticed: I can’t delete a team or a user from the web interface. Maybe I could do it from the command line, I am not sure yet.

But – what’s so friggin’ great about Mindquarry, I hear you ask.. I would have to say “the wiki” – yes, I know we have 1000 different wiki’s now so what’s so great about Mindquarry’s wiki?

To start, we have automatic built-in versioning with a slick interface and a slick history timeline. Now, the wiki can link to files that are being synchronised via subversion with your local filesystem via a java client. The file versioning has the same slick timeline interface. In fact, the wiki has a nice “link” chooser allowing you to find a file, a URL, a task, a user, a team etc.. you can link to all of these.

Each team gets it’s own wiki. A user can belong to many teams and each team he or she belongs to shows up in their interface. Additionally, tasks can have members assigned to it and the Java desktop client displays the tasks for the user.

A task can be put on hold, be running, have a due date set – etc.

My main need was to synchronise files and folders from remote systems (both Windows and Linux) and ensure that no-one trumped each others files. The wiki, teams and tasks Mindquarry provides are blessings in disguise. I have already documented much of our business processes for each team in the Wiki, referencing and linking to files where I needed, interlinking teams where I needed and creating tasks for my staff. Our people finally have a meeting place for all their files, conversations, thoughts, processes in a central place. Life is good :)

Now the bad:

  • Web interface is Firefox only – I am an Opera user. It’s useable though, if you turn javascript off but I am using Firefox now.
  • Web interface will produced an error maybe once every 15 clicks. I submitted bugs the first day but have since given up.
  • The Java client didn’t work with Ubuntu Feisty’s Java 1.6 – rolling back to Java 1.5 has given a better result – it works.

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4 Comments »

  • Sandro Groganz said:

    Hi,

    thanks for your review! Mindquarry 1.1 stable will be out tomorrow and some of the major issues you mention should be ironed out in this release, most notably stability should be mucho better.

  • salubrium (author) said:

    I look forward to trying it out. I hope there’s some docs on how to upgrade. It’s installed in a Suse 10.2 vmware image and the install was reasonably straight forward except for me misspelling a virtual host in the apache, sending me chasing my tail for an hour wondering why proxying wasn’t working!.

  • Sandro Groganz said:

    Mindquarry 1.1 is out now. Our devs are still working on the migration script (which became a kind of little app actually). This script allows you to migrate from 1.0-M1 -> 1.1 stable or 1.1beta -> 1.1 stable. Watch out the Mindquarry 1.1 release page, where it will be made available in the next days.

  • salubrium (author) said:

    Just a follow up here.. Mindquarry 1.1 is as great as the beta (but obviously without the errors and bugs). I am already lining up implementing it for a few clients!

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