with friends like this…

Wow, can the fanboys get any more demented?

In a nutshell, the blogging market is c.l.o.s.e.d. – as in no more room, and most importantly, no more competition; because let’s face it, whatever you’ve got, it’s just never going to be good enough.

Oh, where do I start? You know, in 2001 I bet people were saying much the same thing about how Blogger had invented blogging by liberating people from static html, and I’m sure everyone in 2003 believed that Movable Type was the platform of the future as it freed them from reliance on Blogger’s wonky servers. (I’m actually stunned Anil Dash hasn’t shown up in the comments yet. Maybe he’s languishing in moderation as one of the Enemy.) And, outside your little fanboy bubble, everyone in 2006 was saying standalone blogging is yesterday’s news and social networking with a blogging component is where it’s at. If you run around predicting the future in this field you end up looking stupid. You don’t know what the kids are working on in their bedrooms.

In perfect illustration of the above point: disgruntled hackers give up beating their head against the brick wall and fork! At last! Except it’s not a fork. It’s better than a fork, because they’re starting again from the ground up and don’t have to worry about backward compatibility. Of course, it’s early days yet, but there’s some recognisable names in the mix. We’re talking people who may not have quite made it into the Default Blogroll of Google Love, but might well have done if they’d sucked up to Matt a little more. You were wondering why Owen Winkler vanished from your dashboard? You were wondering whether Skippy would turn his backup-plugin-related ire to constructive use? You were wondering whether the Shuttle team would be able to put their disillusionment behind them? OK, probably not, but anyway, wonder no more.

WP managed to overtake MT because it eliminated the pain of rebuilding, had better spam handling, and didn’t piss people off by trying to make them pay for stuff. It remains to be seen whether this lot can capitalise on the relative neglect of wordpress.org in favour of .com, but if they can implement multiblogs, build in podcasting and video features and build a better image uploader, they could have a potential winner on their hands. Nonetheless, it’s early days yet, I would not want to jinx them by fangirling or hubristic predictions, and I don’t know enough about Linux to tell you whether development-by-committee is a really good idea or a really bad one; although I am fully expecting an influx of Linux geeks to the comments telling me it is the best thing ever, and will be disappointed if I do not get it.

(Also the name ‘Habari’ is a little too Ubuntu-wannabe for my taste as well as making me think of Habbo Hotel, which cannot be good. Still, the mockups are pretty.)

16 Comments »

  1. skippy said

    Habari was the least objected-to name. One of the core instigators is actually from Kenya, so has some familiarity with the language and the culture. This is not riding Ubuntu’s coat tails.

    Development by committee can’t be much worse than development by clique. ;) In all truth, we’re pursuing the Apache model, where development is driven by the people committed to doing so. It will undoubtedly bring with it its own unique set of challenges, but we feel strongly that a democratic, non-hierarchical development model is the only way to succeed. This model works well for Apache, and its projects.

    WordPress is a great product, there’s no doubt; but to use it as the building block by forking would be a grave error. There’s a tremendous amount of cruft and inefficiency buried inside the code. Most of us would have preferred not to start from scratch, but to bring improvements to WordPress internals. Unfortunately, we all recognize that that simply isn’t going to happen. Things like database independence, object oriented design, multiple templating systems, and a whole lot more are simply impractical to consider given the legacy design of WordPress, and how it prohibits innovation.

    The upshot is that what little we have coded in the last couple of months is surprisingly featureful, and powerful. Habari will really push the envelope for blogging tools, in much the same way that WordPress did a few years ago. Will Habari ever become — or remain — top dog? It’s doubtful. Ultimately, we’re not in competition with WordPress (or any other tool): users should use whatever tool best satisfies their needs. For our needs, WordPress falls short.

    We’re very excited about what we’ve accomplished so far, and we’re even more excited about what we’ll get done in the near future.

  2. Have to say, I thought “Ubuntu” too ;-)

    Habari is very young, obviously, and its strict PHP requirement (5.1 for PDO, I think) may hold it back from mainstream acceptance initially, but who knows… in a year or two, the vast majority of shared hosts may be running PHP 5.1, and that forward thinking might pay off.

    Skippy (if you know), what was the reasoning behind the choice of the Apache 2.0 license? Doesn’t that prevent you from integrating GPL’d code into the project? (I’m not very familiar with the license, but it’s listed as incompatible with the GPL)

  3. Alan said

    That initial post you linked to is so painfully fanboy it was embarrassing to read. I didn’t think there was still people like that.

  4. skippy said

    Mark: the Apache license prevents us from distributing GPL code with our product, just as the GPL prevents people from distributing otherly licensed code with their products. It’s completely permissible for the end user to comingle differently licensed thingies. My layman’s understanding is that the Apache folks generally consider their license as GPL compatible, but the FSF folks feel otherwise (mostly due to a clause about patents, I think).

    We chose the Apache license primarily because we’re considering applying for acceptance into the Apache Incubator, for (hopefully) ultimate graduation as a full Apache project. There are many benefits to such an outcome.

  5. Owen said

    I hope that when my post about Habari is finally ready for publication, that it’s heard by enough people who understand it that it affects WordPress’ development direction in the positive way that it was intended.

    We’ve got an insanely great group of enormously talented people on board – all real experts at what they do, all doing what they are expert at – and even those who aren’t specifically contributing are offering a ton of encouragement for a project that they see has merit. There is certainly plenty of room for another offering in the blogging arena, to which I’m sure these folks would attest.

    As far as PHP5 ubiquity, MediaTemple, Site5, and Dreamhost – pretty big hosts, even if they’re not your favorite – all support Habari’s PHP5 requirement with minimal futzing. (Maybe an extra line in a config file, which is already in our documentation.) Hosts are going to need to start realizing that PHP5 is several years old now, and that their customers aren’t going to stick around when it’s so easy to move to a host that offers up-to-date features.

  6. Picture Improvement said

    “Habari” makes me think of “Hatari!” (the movie) and “shibari”, which I guess would combine into something like “danger, bondage!” Ahem. Still, I’m ecstatic to see it — goodbye WordPress, it’s been nice knowing you. :)

  7. There’s a tremendous amount of cruft and inefficiency buried inside the code.

    The only area of the code I can claim any knowledge about is template functions, and there are one or two things in there that were marked as deprecated in b2. So even with my limited perspective, I completely see why you wouldn’t attempt to build something modern on top of code that ancient. Also from my limited perspective, it’s pretty exciting that you’re getting designers on board from the get-go rather than treating them as unimportant hangers-on ;), and I think that will certainly be helpful in building up a buzz around the blogosphere (damn, I hate that word).

    As wordpress moves away from the self-hosted market and into the hosting arena there is certainly plenty of room for an actively developed, genuinely open alternative. Which leaves Computer Guru’s ‘WP is and will always be superior to all other blogtools because it is open source’ argument kind of nowhere.

  8. […] with friends like this… – the wank mentions Habari.  Comments from Skippy and Owen, both very well known for their WP involvement and clever plugins. […]

  9. bluesaze said

    getting designers on board from the get-go rather than treating them as unimportant hangers-on ;)

    Hey Wank this is one of the reasons why I am excited about Habari. Personally I feel there is big communication gap when it comes to programmers vs Designer its good to know that some Designer are aboard the core team.

    Comparing Joomla and Drupal. (I am saying one is better than the other) Joomla is more popular since its backend is much more User friendly and has a lot of eye candy (yeah I know eye candy is not everthing) therefore more people are willing to adopt it than drupal. I learnt later that Drupal has a much better Core code than joomla but it didnt matter to most end users since they found it much easier to install and use Joomla hence it turned out more popular and they grown at a exponential rate. This is one of the reasons why the Garden Theme created such a fiasco.

  10. Vidar said

    Actually, Habari sounds slightly japanese to me…

    Hope it kicks ass

  11. […] to these sites, who talked about Habari early on: h0bbel Blogging Pro Yellow Swordfish Photomatt wank Solo […]

  12. Actually, it sounded rather Japanese to me when I first learned about the project a while back. In Japanese, Habari actually means lancet, as in the medical tool.

  13. Anil said

    I’m actually stunned Anil Dash hasn’t shown up in the comments yet. Maybe he’s languishing in moderation as one of the Enemy.

    Nah, even I get bored with this shit sometimes. :)

  14. Roger said

    You know, the “fanboy” you reviewed in this article has jumped ship and is now a Habari developer himself!?

  15. You’d expect me to be surprised, but actually I’m not, seeing as all the other ardent fanboys have transferred their enthusiasm in precisely the same direction. Habari’s promised to love you all as much as you love her, hasn’t she? Who wouldn’t forsake the haughty WordPress for the welcoming arms of Habari under such circumstances?

    I think Matt’s probably heaving a sigh of relief that the pressure’s off him and now all those malcontents can see what it’s like being nagged by a demanding userbase for this feature and that feature and take that feature out, eew, we don’t like it. Now he can sell out to Yahoo! and there’ll be nobody left to object ;)

  16. […] I left out how he’s praising the 2.5 interface when Matt has already pretty much acknowledged it was a failure. Or how he thinks monthly security upgrades are cool because they’re a ‘a testament to a vibrant developer community’, which comment alone constitutes the loopiest piece of fanboying since ‘the blogging market is c.l.o.s.e.d.’ […]

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