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Document last modified: Wed, 09 Apr 2008, 16:32 UTC

About The Website

This page attempts to address all kinds of issues regarding this website.

1 About the contents
1.1 Why a wiki?
1.2 Who supervises the content?
1.3 Website copyright
2 The website code
2.1 The engine
2.2 Features
2.3 Download
2.4 Licensing
2.5 Development
3 Webmaster contact
3.1 Report a website issue
4 Website discussion
4.1 Alternative website themes
4.2 Regular backups
4.3 Alternative page formats
4.4 PNG homepage icons
4.5 Why is the wiki homepage always locked?

1) About the contents

1.1) Why a wiki?

We've chosen to implement this website using a wiki engine, because a wiki is ideally suited for collaborative editing.

Any number of people can come and contribute content to this site. They don't have to know each other, and they don't have to decline their identity. This maximizes the amount of information that can be obtained from the collective knowledge.

The act of contributing itself has been made as simple as possible, which allows for the content to grow and (hopefully) improve in quality very fast. Well, faster than if this were a static site.

Does it work? Judge for yourselves. We used to have a "static" website for years on end. Let's just say that "stale" doesn't even begin to describe it. Since switching to a wiki (in September 2004), we've managed to put together over 430 KB (about 62,000 words) of useful text.

1.2) Who supervises the content?

Although wikis are traditionally very "democratic" and allow any kind of changes to be contributed as long as they're made in good faith, it would be more accurate to consider the Blackbox wiki an Wikipedia:Enlightened_despotism.

This wiki is "patroled" regularly by a number of people who care a lot about Blackbox and this website, who are long time users of Blackbox, and who are quite knowledgeable about Blackbox, X, C++ programming and all kinds of related topics. Their self-assumed job is to use their knowledge and common sense to make sure that the wiki content is always factually correct, well organized, well written, and well kept.

Although information of any kind is allowed to flow freely into this wiki, eventually it IS reviewed, cleaned up, and finds its way into the best possible page, in a manner that fits snugly with the flow of ideas on that page.

When they arrive to this site, we want visitors to feel they've reached a solid, well-kept and hospitable home.

1.3) Website copyright

The homepage icons were created by Jakub 'Jimmac' Steiner* and are Copyright 2000-2003 Novell. Other images on the website are copyrighted by their respective creators and used with their permission.

For other details, including content copyright, see TermsOfUse.

2) The website code

2.1) The engine

The website is hosted by SourceForge and uses the WikkiTikkiTavi engine. Please be advised that we have done serious modifications to the Tavi release we started with (0.24).

2.2) Features

The following are some of the more interesting differences between our 'Tavi code and vanilla 'Tavi 0.24:

2.3) Download

We keep the site code in the BlackboxCVS, under the website module, so you can download it if you wish. Here's also a direct link* to a nightly CVS tarball (3 MB) with the entire Blackbox CVS repository (including Blackbox and website source code).

2.4) Licensing

The website code, as a derivate of the WikkiTikkiTavi project, is licensed under the General Public License version 2*.

2.5) Development

Note: some of this wiki engine's features have been disabled, see WikiDisabledFeatures. Discuss the disabled features there, not here, please.

The ToDo page holds some of the future proposed or needed developments.

3) Webmaster contact

The website maintainer is CiprianPopovici. You can contact him for issues regarding the website itself, as well as for a wide variety of issues related to Blackbox.

Also see BlackboxCommunity to learn how you can reach many Blackbox users and enthusiasts.

3.1) Report a website issue

If you find something wrong with the site in terms of functionality or content, please feel free to open a ticket on the website tracker*. You don't need an account on SourceForge and it takes only seconds to fill in a ticket.

4) Website discussion

The section below is an open notepad where you can post issues or requests related to the website. Add issues below this point and remember to give them a suggestive title.

4.1) Alternative website themes

WANTED: more alternative CSS2 style sheets!

A JS style changer is available, so new styles are always welcome. The authors will get credit in the page footers.

4.2) Regular backups

Has anyone considered managing and storing regular backups of the Wiki database? Does SourceForge do that automatically?

They do regular backups. Nevertheless, we regularly pack a dump of the database ourselves. But allow me to emphasize that the dump is intended as a method to protect against accidents, not for keeping logs of past page versions forever. Reasons here. --CiprianPopovici

4.3) Alternative page formats

I would like documention in .txt files. So that they would be easier to read and download.

Please understand that keeping the contents on the wiki allows for it to grow and be improved much faster and by more people. You can always use your browser to do File/Save As and choose to save as text. If you use Mozilla, Firefox, Opera or any browser which can disable stylesheets, you can do so to obtain a very simple and readable HTML document. You can use lynx -dump -nolist to convert to nicely formatted text. Finally, there's an alternative stylesheet in place for printing, so if you print any page you get only the useful content. --CiprianPopovici

4.4) PNG homepage icons

Why do the homepage icons look so ugly ie. they have white or gray backgrounds instead of transparent?

We are using PNG images for the first page, and you are using Internet Explorer, versions 6 or earlier, which is handicapped in this respect*. PNG is an advanced, free format, which for various reasons Microsoft has refused so far to support fully in their browser. There is a workaround, but it is too complicated to implement elegantly in a wiki. Sorry, but it's simply not worth the effort for something that is basically a silly shortcoming for Microsoft, especially considering that Explorer users barely add up to a fifth* of this site's visitors.

We will not go through the hoops to "fix" this issue. We cannot convert the icons to GIF because GIF only provides 256 colors and they would look bad; yes, worse than they do now, except they'd look bad for all the visitors. We cannot convert them to other formats because GIF and PNG are the only ones that provide transparency. So all we can do is advice you to either live with it, or switch to a better browser. I can recommend either Opera* or Firefox*, which are available for both Windows and Linux. --CiprianPopovici

Update: Since August 2006 we're using Dean Edwards' IE7 JavaScript library* to fake standards compliance for Internet Explorer 5 and 6. Users of these browsers can hopefully see the site properly from now on. --CiprianPopovici

4.5) Why is the wiki homepage always locked?

Any wiki is subject to vandalism at the hands of immature visitors. The homepage, due to being the most exposed part of the site, seems to naturally attract the most idiotic kind of vandalism, both in [vast] quantity and [horrible lack of] quality. And since the homepage needs to change very seldom, we've decided to lock it and only let site administrators edit it. --CiprianPopovici


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Document last modified: Wed, 09 Apr 2008, 16:32 UTC
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