One request that comes to me fairly often (sometimes once a month) through the formmail is to add some kind of forum to the site. What I keep hearing is that people would like to have a place where they can have a discussion about a specific newsitem. Personally, I'd use the mailing lists, but I guess not everyone does. What they are looking for is a per-news-item forum area ala Slashdot. I've looked at adding something like this using XOOPS or another pre-built forum system, but haven't really had the spare time to work on it.

Lately, I realized that we already have a discussion forum system available on SourceForge. As you add each news item on SF, a discussion forum is automatically created. So since 6 July, I've been double-posting news items on and SourceForge - in preparation for moving the news system to SF.

I've been experimenting with how to include the SF-entered news on the site, and I have a prototype here:

And a "mobile" version of the page here:

I haven't updated the RSS feed yet, but that won't change.

the good: this means I can offer a discussion forum to the news items with no effort on my part. SF can handle all that. Also, news items can be created, edited, and even deleted using the standard SF news system.

the bad: you can't include html in a SF news item. Their news system doesn't handle it. Instead, any URLs that start "http://"; are automatically made clickable. So if you look at the index2 page, you'll note that all the clickable URLs in the news items always start "http://";. Also, the SF news system likes to separate news items with an "<HR>".

If you want to help us post news on the FreeDOS site using the SF news system, you should read for how to effectively write news items using the SF news system. It's easy.

Right now, I have to add people to the 'admin' group on [EMAIL PROTECTED] in order for them to post news. I'll continue to browse the SF docs and see what's a better solution. The intention of SF's system is to provide fine-grained access to their functionality. That is, you wouldn't let a doc writer (using SF DocMan) necessarily have access to check-in code to the CVS tree. So I'm sure there's a way to allow someone only to add news items, but not do anything else.

I'm not looking to go back and re-enter the entire back-feed of news items on the SF news system. That would be silly. We have thousands of back-feed news items. Rather, I'll keep the back-feed prior to 6 July 2004 on the site, and let news after 6 July be posted on the SF news system.

But as always - if you don't like the idea of the SF news forums, you don't have to use them. This is part of building a community, giving people the outlets they need/want to discuss FreeDOS.

This should all go live in the next few days.


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