Habari | Rumble in the Jungle

It’s been one hell of a couple of days since we first talked about the Habari project. There’s been a slew of reaction to the news all over the internet (go to the pingback section of that post) and to be honest it’s far exceeded all expectations I could have had because I honestly don’t have any. See I wasn’t completely sure how everyone would react over the news and therefore I was preparing myself for a little bit of a fight, in so much that we would have to prove the meritts of the software before we got people actually wanting to join and help build the community.

This in turn got me thinking to what all this meant and so I’m writing this post for several reasons. A couple of them is to dispell any rumours, a few others is to point everyone in the right direction should they want any more information, while others is to address concerns I’ve heard from people over the last couple of days.

On Community

There’s been a lot of speculation as to why we’re doing this. I’m not going to speak for the others (because they’re doing a pretty good job of it themselves to be honest) but I’ll tell you why I’m doing this. I’ve been talking to (read: boring) many of my offline friends with just how cool this is going to be. The first thing that they ask me is “Why the hell are you doing this to yourself? Why are you working for free again? Why are you spending your free time doing this?” I can only answer by saying that it’s incredible fun to be part of an online community of like minded people who are trying to make one of my favourite pastimes (ie blogging and tinkering with my website) a more enjoyable experience. I love being involved in open source projects and this is without a doubt one of the biggest things I’ve ever been involved with.

When I first started looking for an alternative to Movable Type I had two options. The first was WordPress the other was Textpattern. I chose WordPress for the community. That community however has changed. It’s core has shifted into something different. The thing is though I can’t really say that this is the community’s fault. This shift actually can be attributed to something else. The fact of the matter is that WordPress developement has stagnated as far as the .org user is concerned.

The only explanation I can give is that this is because the WordPress development shifted it’s attention. Shifted from the .org section to the .com section. I’m not going to condem the guys for doing this, in fact in most cases I understand them doing this. However this move and shift hasn’t gone unnoticed and obviously a lot of energy flying about the WordPress community has either gone into the ether, ignored or shrugged aside. All these thousands of people out there that have contributed in the past feel as though they have been forsaken. That could be part of the reason why a great number of people genuinely got excited about the prospect of a new system, written from the ground up that might address questions. It’s all about the community. It’s all about the people that you interact with and that help you along your way.

What you think the latest release of ‘features’ on WordPress.org is a coincidence. It’s obvious (to me at least and this feature could have been in development for months, in which case I apologise) that this is a knee-jerk reaction to a situation that obviously has made them sit up and think about the situation. It’s not every day that several prominent developers (Robert, Owen, Michael), at the very least in the past otherwise they would not be in the credit box on wordpress.org, decide to leave and start something on their own; it’s a sign that something isn’t exactly right in the community. My absolute favourite one however is this one (I only saw this because it was lying in my referrer log), so yeah go and hammer that link and lets get it up there at the top :) lol.

So you’re aiming to kill WordPress?

Don’t be silly. Nobody is trying to kill WP. We’re not aiming to make software that is better than WordPress, we’re trying to make software that is better than ALL blogging software out there. Lets be clear about this there are quite a large number of open source projects that allow you to do essentially the same thing. Their degree of complication obviously varies, however the fact remains that there are many alternatives. As it stands it’s considered that WordPress is the best alternative that’s available on the market. So it’s obvious that people would think that we are in fact trying to create something that out does WP. Also many of us have come from a WordPress user base, however that doesn’t mean other people from other backgrounds cannot join the fun. But would we really be getting involved and doing something if we didn’t feel like there was a void to be filled? Room for one more solution that offered an alternative way of doing things? We’re ultimately here because we feel that we can contribute back and put our efforts into something that can aid people and can provide a fun platform to share their thoughts, photos and media.

We don’t even have a developer’s pre-release. The reason it was announced in any fashion was because one of the core developers moved his site over and was the first person to actively use the code for his site. That’s a MAJOR success, one that deserved to be celebrated. In a weird twist of fate, outing slightly earlier than anticipated was actually an incredible great thing. Why? Because people that were on the fringes, thinking that this was just all wishful thinking might actually hold some legs. As such this little buzz has gotten several people wanting to contribute, and here’s one reason why:

Habari is a fresh start. We’re all in the unique position that we’ve been blogging for several years now. We’ve all had our share of experiences with open source and we’ve all seen several different packages in our time. We’re at the stage now that if we had a fresh start we’d do things slightly differently and hopefully better. And that’s what we’re aiming to do.

Habari Contribution Model

I guess that might be the greatest draw to the Habari project. We’re pretty open for people who want to contribute to the project, in fact the way that this project has been set up, it’s ideal for people wanting to contribute as it’s got a completely different structure in it’s development, in that it’s a meritocracy. It’s a great way to make sure that the software comes first and that there is no one person who veto’s everything or has final say in everything.

So were do we go from here? Well one of the things that I shall be doing as I’m coordinating the designers on this team is to give a recap every Sunday of this week’s activities on the design front. What we finished off and what we’ve got to look forward towards. I’ll be including pics and so everyone is always welcome to chime in and add their two cents to the design either here or in the dev mailing list.

Spread the news!


  1. Khaled, I for one am really excited that this got announced so early. I feel so lucky to find a project to get behind, that can actually use me! I can’t wait to see where things head.

    1 lisa
    Quote | 11/1/2007
  2. I’m with Lisa. It’s great that non-coders and non-designers are welcomed into the Habari community and are able to contribute to it.

    2 Jess
    Quote | 11/1/2007
  3. Where do I join up? Do I need to send money? What time does Habari close. :)

    3 Root
    Quote | 11/1/2007
  4. I am already in love with habari. The whole projects sounds really amazing.

    I have programmed in delphi pascal, vb.net, asp and a little php the last years. if i can contribute in any way to this project i would really love to.


    4 dahead
    Quote | 11/1/2007
  5. I posted this on Chris blog but i guess it look really wierd on his site because of his beta thing so i posting it here to :).

    I most say what’s all the Buzz? about anyway i mean “Say It Out Loud” got damn it!, everybody and i know like all my friends and friends from way back now in school and everything we all loved b2/wordpress but like 20% have moved over to drupal and that isn’t because of wordpress.com or the fact that the developing is heading ‘Other ways of directions more and more down the road, in ways that the automattic think not the ways user community base think.
    It’s simple people learn more and more for every month they beging coding simple or heavy i mean it’s love for their blogs or there cms sites. But then people ain’t showing the love that was and bringing other stuff to the table, people begin to misslike the whole concept that’s why wordpress losing good people maybe not majority people yet.

    But in the long run wordpress just going down in many ways like stealing drupals theme for an exempel version 5 beta whats that about WHY? anyway in fact it hearts the user not just the core developers or the wordpress.com in fact it hurts the hole big community DAMN.. And i mean many people just register for wordpress.com beacuse thats the only simple way to get a Akismet key, whats that about anyway :). Maybe to get more user and be a big big web 2.0 bubble Ohhh… Damn i was in the middle of bubble 1 BANG it hit us and everybody hard, i learn and people learn from mistakes maybe my best mistake i have done in my life anyway if i look back i got a lot of wisdom of what web really is and ain’t :).

    And i got a little story for you. Four people sitting around a table and have been eating a dinner, the chef heads out of the kitchen. Asking if everything was fine, three people says it was good and then the chef i glad in all meanings and leaving the table. When this 4 people leaves they all say “Ohh man that didn’t taste anything”. I know says the guy that didn’t say anything to the chef, and in his minds he just thought why didnt i say anything to the chef.. Yeah people nowadays doesn’t darre to speak up and do things about the thing. And i glad that a new star in the sky has been born Habari and making a change.

    Why all my friends still use wordpress is because they love k2 i think they gonna jump and clash with there shoes for honor to Habari when they knows who’s behind the project or they allready knows :).

    I mean Kubrik made a lot of where Wordpress is on the roadmap today and i think nobody gonna say otherwise and because of all the good people behind the scen thats helps around alot. So what i have been wondering and i mean from the start why ain’t does guys in automattic team etc etc. I have had many thoughts about that from way back, when they gonna pick them up into automattic but i think the train has being to take away now and it’s late so i hope this Habari baby just show where your wisdom is going now and how.

    With Habari & K2 and all the guys behind the project may i wish you all good and luck in this world to get this thing out to the public.

    5 BeOS
    Quote | 12/1/2007
  6. I just gonna say one thing when is till has it on my mind..

    When you guys developing the GUI right know i thing there should be a good way to think about the plugins hook from the begining.

    I know many maybe not everybody but when you have a blog or site you make a design and then you wanna make the admin area and login page has the same touch as there blogs now in wordpress this is a hell you really have to change in every php file and no one has there mind into doing that to muth work for every release just to have a nice page to write you post for.

    But i mean cool to have a hook like K2 has now it disable the default CSS so it use the theme style from a plugin ” Then every body can make a admin theme that hooks into the head and use there own css styles and there own javascript”. and no more haxx hack just to get rid of borders or other css stuff like when you making a admin theme for wordpress.

    I think that should be cool feature for Habari. A nice damn good feature for any blog or cms system out there….

    Think this should bring endless cool admin themes out there for a system and let it grow, poeple love if they can customize things YOU know IT everybody knows IT people loves when they can change things around look at winamp all the small apps that is big know and web systems, people just love to customize and make themes.

    6 BeOS
    Quote | 12/1/2007
  7. Ok the heads up. Habari installed locally and running fine. Reading at Google. Any other pointers Khaled?

    7 Root
    Quote | 12/1/2007
  8. This is fascinating.

    I have a client who blogs about the lifecycle of an organisation/group, and so I guess I am thinking about Wordpress in that light.

    It’s like we want things to live forever, but nothing does (faith realities aside!). So Wordpress is challenged to perhaps even reinvent itself somehow… regain its vigour of youth, or… die.

    The challenge for Hibari will be to talk about “meritocracy” on one hand and maintain clear focus and direction on the other. The former is all about inclusion and communitarianism, the latter about leadership and the ability to get the important decisions made, quickly.

    I have a wishlist as long as my arm for Wordpress (or any blogging platform, for that matter)… you’ve now stimulated me to go write it up and send it on over!

    Well done and all the best. A new kid on the block is a good and exciting thing :)

    - Alister

  9. Any chance there are any screens of this up and running? You mentioned that it was already in use, but i would love to see what it looks like (administration screens would be nice).

    9 Elessar
    Quote | 13/1/2007
  10. Lisa, Jess, Dahead - It’s really great to have all of you as part of the Habari community.

    Root - Just join the dev mailing list and throw your thoughts whenever you’ve got anything to add. All POVs are essential so that we’ve at least asked as many questions as we can before a release. A method we’re hoping will bring for a better application in the end.

    Elessar - If you check my previous post you’ll be able to see what the ‘current’ mockup is, although if you’re on the dev list and also on IRC you’ll see that we’re moving in some interesting directions with concern to the actual graphical aspects of the project.

    10 Khaled
    Quote | 14/1/2007

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