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[Savannah-hackers] troubles with new Savannah project

From: Robert J. Chassell
Subject: [Savannah-hackers] troubles with new Savannah project
Date: Wed, 18 Sep 2002 15:28:56 +0000 (UTC)

I am having trouble getting my new Savannah project and CVS repository
working right.

    The project page is:

    The project's introductory CVS page is:

    The CVS page itself is:

I am a moderately but not extremely knowledgeable user.  If I am
having trouble, I am sure that others will also have trouble.

  * First, I submitted a description during the `Register new project'
    process, but the project page says

        This project has not yet submitted a short description. You can
        submit it now.

    Why should I resubmit what I have already submitted?  

    Also, in any event, the page does not explain how to submit the

    Hmmm... I just discoved a page with forms for both a *short* and
    a *long* description.  Neither are filled in, even though I
    submitted a description during the registration.

    The registration process did not say anything that I remember
    about filling in this page as well as the page for registration.
    Is this another page that has to be filled out?  If so, the fields
    should be a part of the registration process, otherwise, people
    like me will not realize that the registration process is

  * Second, on the project page, I try to access the `Project
    Homepage' which is in a location called `Public Areas'.  However,
    I receive an error message that says:

        You don't have permission to access /software/softfree/ on this server.

    Why so?  And what do I do to enable me, a member of the public, as
    well as a Project Admin, to access that page.  
    And how is that page different from the

  * Third, the listing for the `Task Manager Project/Task Manager'
    says `There are no public projects available'.  What does this
    mean?  This is a public project; I have already registered it.

  * Fourth, when I try to access the Project Admin page, the error
    message says simply

        You do not have permission to view this page.

    rather than 

        You do not have permission to view this page.  Perhaps you are
        not logged in or perhaps you are not an admin for this project.

    A more explanatory error message would be useful.

It looks to me that an improved main page would fix many of these problems.

However, on reading it again, I find that the first page for Savannah
not only does not answer the questions I list above, it fails to
provide other information that a new person needs.

Please explain the following *on the first page* or in an obvious link
from the first page. (Please do not put operational info only in an
FAQ, although you may duplicate some info there.)

  * what the site does, in language suitable for someone who has done
    some programming, but has no experience with CVS, SourceForge, or
    any of this stuff. 

           In more detail, explain what you get when you `Register new

        Please explain that a `project' includes:  a CVS respository
        for each project, a CVS frontend to that respository, Web
        space management thru CVS, an HTTP download area, bug
        tracking, and mailing lists, and, of course, what all these
        do.  (What, for example, is an `an HTTP download area'?)

  * how to set up a project

        What password do you need?  How do you get one?  How do you
        use `ssh-add' if you need a password?  How do you tell the
        project managers that you are running a GNU or FSF project?

  * how to set up a CVS respository

        Please explain that a project leader must create a CVS
        respository and how to do that.

        Currently the instructions are *not* 
         in the obvious FAQ 
             # How do I import my project into the CVS?
         but in another FAQ
            # How do I start using the CVS repository?

  * how to set things up so that people who use wget or ftp or Emacs
    Tramp or who want a tar.gz package can get that, without using CVS.

  * how to update an existing central CVS repository from your local
    site and how to update your local site from the central CVS

    (Please be sure to explain how to do this both in a shell and in Emacs.

      For example, to update a local site from the central repository,
      a project member could run these commands in a shell
             cd /my/local/repository
             cvs -f -z6 update
          and these commands in GNU Emacs
                 (cd "/my/local/repository/")
                 (cvs-update "/my/local/repository/" nil))

          and explain about using `ssh-add' and the like as needed.)

  * how a project leader can add new people to the project admin group
    (Evidentally, instead of typing *your own* name in a log-in field
    on a special administrator's page, you must type the log-in name
    of the person you want to add -- but I did not find pointers to
    doing this; perhaps they exist, but I did not see them.  This
    should be explained as part of the how-to.)

  * how a project leader can add new people to the group that are
        permitted to change the contents of the repository
        (i.e., make commits)
        but who are not administrators

        What explanatory text do I send via email to a person who does
        not have an account on Savannah?

  * how to do the major things you do in CVS, such as mark snapshots,
    operate branches, since many project leaders will know some
    programming, but not yet have much familiarity with CVS

  * how anyone, not just a project leader, can set up on their home
    machine a local instance of the central CVS respository even if
    they do not have an account on Savannah

  *   and how they can update their local instance anonymously

         Please explain what to do for anonymous CVS both in a shell
         and in Emacs.

         Please explain what you mean by syntactic variables such as
         `modulename' in an exemplar command.  When can a user put in
         the exact same name as the name of the directory above?  Why
         this weird habit of creating a project directory whose path
         is `foo/foo/', rather than simply `foo/'?

  * how to use the other features bug tracking and mailing

Also, please do not use overly long lines for Savannah Web pages.  In
my case, using Galeon, the Savannah Web pages are wider than the
window I use.  That is to say, contrary to all expectations and normal
HTML practice, the width of the displayed text fails to adjust to fit
the width of the display window.  This is wrong.  A major point of
HTML is that the reader, not the author, decides how to display the
page (or how to listen to it, in the case of people using Emacspeak).
(In plain text email messages, the author decides how to display the
text; HTML is the opposite; the reader, not the author, decides.)

does not display using Emacs W3 mode, although
displays correctly.  I do not know what the problem is.

Thank you.

    Robert J. Chassell            address@hidden  address@hidden
    Rattlesnake Enterprises
    Free Software Foundation   GnuPG Key ID: 004B4AC8

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