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08 February 2013, 17:18

Open source pioneers next generation chat and forums

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Discourse logo

Not satisfied with the experience on current forum software packages, Stack Exchange co-founder Jeff Atwood founded Civilized Discourse Construction Kit Inc to come up with a software package to replace them. Its open source Discourse software is built with JavaScript, Ruby on Rails and PostgreSQL and, according to the developers, can be used whenever a mailing list or forum is needed. According to the team: "Discourse is a from-scratch reboot, an attempt to re-imagine what a modern, sustainable, fully open-source Internet discussion platform should be".

Kandan logo

Discourse uses the Ember.js framework and is licensed under the GPLv2. It automatically detects mobile devices and is usable with touch screen displays, but is only optimised for screens bigger than 7" at the moment. While the software is usable and an online demonstration is available, the developers caution that the software should not be used in production just yet. They also say that Discourse currently should only be used for starting new discussion communities, rather than migrating existing ones to it. Users who want to test the application can get the source code from GitHub.

Kandan is another new open source project – one that might fill the need when more real time communication is required. Kandan 1.0 was announced recently and is designed to be easily deployed on cloud computing platforms such as CloudFoundry, Heroku and others. The tool offers unlimited chat channels and embedding of images, YouTube videos and sound files, and the ability to integrate with GitHub's Hubot.

Kandan is licensed under the AGPLv3 and can use MongoDB, MySQL or PostgreSQL as the database component of its backend. The source code for Kandan 1.0 is available on GitHub and a demonstration instance is also available.


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