Playing Around With Discourse on Ubuntu

I was real excited to see Jeff Atwood’s announcement of Discourse. It’s about time someone rebooted forum software.

Since it’s an Open Source project I was immediately keen on seeing how we could help. One of the more interesting discussions is the choice of platform. I find this discussion interesting because in the age of devops some people consider Rails and Postgres to be “weird”. Nevermind that we finally have a bold project to fix the status quo of terrible discussions on the internet, let’s argue about languages and databases. But I digress.

Our job with Ubuntu Server is to make it easy for you to deploy stuff. I honestly don’t really care what language or technology you use, if you use Ubuntu as your deployment platform I want to help you, period. So, an exciting new project that people want to play with? After seeing people contributing on getting it to work on Heroku I figured we could easily get this up and charmed. Let’s get to work.

Marco’s finished the charm, it took him about 2 days of on-and-off. You can find it here.

This will deploy the latest Discourse and Postgres to your cloud (Tested on EC2 for now, more to come) and you have your test forum.

When you run upgrade-charm it’ll just fetch the latest source, db:migrate, re-compile assets, then restart the application, so you get nice fresh Discourse right from trunk, which at this point in it’s life is useful. There’s still many things we’ll need to sort, like adding other units and distilling more expertise from the Discourse community as it becomes available. You can try Discourse on the sandbox, and discuss the project itself on meta. The thread for the charm is here.

Here’s a quick list of things we need help on:

  • an upstart script (would be a great contribution to upstream)
  • Testing it on HP Cloud and OpenStack

We also need help keeping track with upstream, like you’d expect this team moves fast, and getting this up and running so early is bound to have bumps, so anyone willing to help us add features to the charm so that people can help testing would be appreciated. Fasten your seatbelts, the 1990’s are not going to go away quietly!