The most obvious change is, of course, our new look. This is the year of the Xbox, which we at freshmeat consider the most important development in the history of console gaming. Since this is the first time a real software company has come out with a product to compete with those poseurs at Nintendo and Sony, we wanted to celebrate the event by adopting their dynamic, vibrant color scheme. We hope you're as excited about it as we are.
More fundamental changes are making their way into freshmeat's code. We've read a number of articles about Web programming this year (especially on this really cool site we found), and were surprised to find out that what we've been doing is outdated. We were using PHP, not realizing that everyone's giving up on that and moving to C#. To be honest, we really didn't know much about it. When we typed "C#" into Google, however, the first site that showed up in the search results was called "msdn". It was very reassuring to find positive information on a site with a name so similar to our parent company's name, and we took it as a good omen. According to what we read, C#:
It also provides:
We're not entirely certain what all that means yet, but it sounds really good, and we think you're going to appreciate the changes that will come from having the site running on up-to-date software. A representative from the company that wrote C# has been working with us on the migration, and he says freshmeat will be a lot more "robust", "reliable", and "synergistic" after the change. Sounds great.
Some of the changes will effect you directly. For example, we've been using our own home-brewed system for managing logins. After the migration, we'll be adopting a Web standard called "Passport". As this standard is adopted by sites all over the Web, you'll be able use the same system to log in at freshmeat and everywhere else!
Even better, the Passport RFC includes support for financial transactions, so it will take care of the implementation of the ideas we're adopting from two of our sister sites.
Like SlashDot, we're going to implement a subscription system that we know you'll enjoy. We haven't decided exactly what kinds of subscriptions you'll be able to purchase yet, and we'd love to have your suggestions about what you'd like to pay for. The filtering system will definitely become a fee-based system; you'll be given the chance to pay for each project that doesn't show up on the front page. We're pretty sure that authors will be paying for each announcement they submit and readers will pay to post comments. Many of the details (like how much you'll pay for each hit that's directed to your site) are still being worked out.
We're going to be adopting quite a lot of things from themes.org, one of which is the ability to purchase freshmeat theme packs which will change the look of the site. Whenever you get tired of looking at one set of colors, you'll be able to purchase a different set. If you decide to go back to the one you had before, you just have to purchase it again. This means that if you really don't like the Xbox theme (and we know there are a few people who are picky about these sorts of things), you'll be able to buy a subscription to the boring old blue and white one.
It's going to take us some time to roll out all of these and many more changes we have in the pipeline, but we're so excited about it all that we had to share the good news with you right away. We look forward to all your ideas and suggestions; please post your comments below.
A final word: Any time of transition is bound to be a little stressful, so we'll appreciate your patience. There will be a few rough spots in the road as we replace our legacy systems, but we hope you'll just sit tight with us. We think you'll be flying high when, suddenly, everything clicks.