Friends-of-GNOME database [Re: Modifying GNOME-About to count users]

On Tue, 2005-07-12 at 21:47 +1000, Jeff Waugh wrote:
> <quote who="Tim Ney, GNOME Foundation">
> > Following up on the discussion about counting GNOME users and running a db
> > of Friends of GNOME (FOG) - [gnome-infrastructure added here.]  Any system
> > that can import comma or tab delimited data might work for managing the
> > FOG information - names, contact info, comments, donation amount and
> > date(s) and would be a good starting point.
> > 
> > Does it make sense to use mysql since that is already on a gnome server?
> > Anyone from gnome-infrastructure team interested in working on such a
> > project?
> We need more than just the database server, we need an application to manage
> it. Data in CSV format will be simple to massage once we've determined the
> correct application to use - it's very likely that it'll be Drupal with the
> CivicSpace modules.

I think two somewhat different things have gotten conflated here.
I'm not sure I've completely followed all the threads of the 
"GNOME-About" discussion, but it seems to have evolved from a discussion
of some sort of automated ping to a way to allow users to register
with GNOME.

But for the GNOME foundation we need something different - we need to
track the people that we "do business" with...

 - Friends of GNOME contributors
 - Event attendees (GUADEC, GNOME summit, and so forth)

This would include things like:

 - email addresses
 - whether they've opted in to receive GNOME updates
 - when available, snail mail addresses
 - contribution history
 - event attendance history

There is obviously care that has to be taken here to protect privacy
concerns ... we should not release information about individuals to
anybody or send unsolicited email, for example, but having this
information available is important to a lot of things that the 
foundation does:

 - Gathering statistics to allow planning future events 
 - Keeping in contact with past Friends of GNOME contributors to
   let them know what GNOME has been up to (and thus, why they
   should donate again)

While I don't know much about Drupal, it doesn't seem very related to
this sort of "customer database". My guess is that the appropriate
technology is simply a custom-written PHP frontend to a MySQL 

If we password protect the web interface at the HTTP level, then 
a lot of the security concerns with custom-written PHP code go away.

Setting up such a database and maintaining it (importing data from
events, etc) seems like a perfect task for someone who wanted to
get involved in GNOME sysadmin and/or the GNOME web site.


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