Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Where can I find out about the latest Advogato feature and improvements?

Since October 2006, after a long period of inactivity, there has been new development work on mod_virgule, the software underlying Advogato. New features are being added, old bugs are being fixed, and the site is begining to evolve again. Status updates are posted every week or two by robogato. Reading the robogato blog is the best way to keep up with the changes. If you're a C programmer and would like to get involved, check out the mod_virgule project page and the Advogato project page.

How can I recover my lost password?

The password reminder feature will email your password to you if your account has a valid email address. Be sure to check your bulk or spam folder for the reminder email in case an over-zealous spam filter flags it as spam.

How can I recover my password if the password reminder doesn't work?

If the password reminder didn't work, it probably means the email address listed in your account is no longer valid. Send an email to gato@advogato.org with your real name and Advogato account name. For obvious reasons, it may be necessary to clear your trust certifications when resetting the account if there is no way to verify your identity.

I already have a blog somewhere else. Can I syndicate it to my Advogato account?

Yes! Advogato has a built-in aggregator that can read Atom, RSS, and RDF Site Summary feeds. Your syndicated blog entries will show up in Advogato's recentlog just as if you'd posted them locally. To syndicate your blog to Advogato, go to your Advogato account page, check the box labeled "Syndicate your blog from another site?", then add the full URL of your feed (starting with "http://") in the field labeled "RSS or ATOM feed URL". Note that this feature is only available to trusted users. If your blog feed uses a very old version of RSS (0.91 or 0.92) it may not work unless the optional pubDate tag is included in the feed. Consider upgrading your blog software to support Atom feeds for best results.

I don't like what someone said in their Advogato blog, will you delete it?

No. Advogato is a community blogging site. The content of the blogs is created by and controlled by the users. We will not censor or mediate the content. If you have a problem with something posted in a blog, work it out with the author of the post, not us.

Does Advogato provide RSS or ATOM feeds to syndicate content?

The articles on Advogato's home page are syndicated as an RSS 2.0 feed at this URL: http://www.advogato.org/rss/articles.xml

Each trusted Advogato user's blog is also syndicated via an RSS 2.0 feed. A link to the RSS feed can be found on the user's profile page or you can construct the URL by replacing "{username}" in the string below with the trusted user's Advogato account name:

http://www.advogato.org/person/{username}/rss.xml

The Advogato recentlog is not available as a syndicated feed at this time but there are plans to do so. Stay tuned.

Standard RFC 4287 Atom feeds are not available at this time but there are plans to add them.

Is there an XML-RPC Interface to Advogato?

Yes, the Advogato XML-RPC Interface will allow you to write your own software that interfaces with Advogato to manipulate blogs or trust certifications.

Is the source code to Advogato available?

Yes. Advogato is implemented using mod_virgule, an Apache module. Mod_virgule was originally developed by Raph Levien. Patches and improvements to mod_virgule have been provided by many members of the free software community. On 1 Oct, 2006, Advogato transitioned to a newer version of mod_virgule maintained by Steve Rainwater. Both versions of mod_virgule are free software licensed under the GNU GPL. The current mod_virgule changelog is also available online.

Why doesn't my blog show up in the recentlog? Why doesn't the recentlog page show everyone's diary?

Advogato uses an Eigenvector-based diary ranking mechanism that allows each user to rank the interest levels of anyone else's blog. For diaries that you haven't ranked yourself, Advogato predicts the interest level they'll have for you by looking at the rankings of other users who you've certified. The recentlog page by default displays all diaries that have a ranking of 3 or higher. For more details on how the diary ranking systems works, see these blog posts by Raph:

Why can't I see foo's blog in the recentlog?

Other users you trust have ranked foo's blog as uninteresting. Blogs ranked below interest level 3 are not shown in recentlog. If you rank foo's blog with an interest level higher than 3, it should return to your view of the recently log. Go to foo's profile page and look for the blog ranking form that says "How interesting is foo's blog on a scale of 1 to 10?".

How can I remove foo's blog from my view of the recentlog

See the previous question. Set an interest level less than 3 for foo's blog and it should be removed from your view of the recentlog.

Does the blog interest rating work on users I haven't certified?

Yes. It is not necessary to certify a user through the trust metrics system before rating their diary. You can rate anyone's diary whether you have certified them or not.

Why does Advogato exist?

Advogato is intended to be a community site and social networking site for free software developers. When Raph Levien created Advogato, he said, While "Advogato" is a pun on the word "advocate," the goal of this site is quite different than the usual sense of OS advocacy or free software advocacy. Advogato's advocacy is for developers of free software: to make life more enjoyable, the work more satisfying, and to help balance the tension between the free nature of the enterprise and the human need for tangible compensation. Advogato doesn't care about the market share growth percent of the free software operating systems. What Advogato cares about is how to make the best use of the opportunities, and deal with the challenges, that this growth is creating.

Advogato also serves a testing ground for the use of trust metrics for peer certification.

Who is Advogato for?

Advogato is for, to paraphrase Neal Stephenson, the sort of people who inhabit the intersections of Venn diagrams. Primarily the intersection of people with an interest in free software and open source (FOSS). The diagram in question was created by Hung Chao-Kuei for the Free Software Foundation and graphically represents the relationship between software distribution and licensing methods:

If your interest lies in any of the categories on the left (e.g. free software, public domain, open source, etc.), Advogato is for you. If you develop or advocate proprietary code that falls into one of the categories on the right, you're still welcome to join Advogato as an Observer.

How does the Advogato trust metric work?

Raph Levien has written a concise summary of Advogato's trust metric system. For a more in-depth description, see Raph's Ph.D thesis on Attack Resistant Trust Metrics (PDF format). For a higher level view, also see the video of Raph's 2007 Google OSS Speaker Series talk on Advogato.

Who are the trust metric seeds?

The current trust metric seed users are:

  • raph - Raph Levien, Advogato founder
  • miguel - Miguel Icaza, GNOME programmer
  • mako - Benjamin Mako Hill, FSF board member
  • alan - Alan Cox, Linux kernel programmer

The original four trust metric seeds, set in 1999 when Advogato went online, were:

History of changes to the trust metric seed users:

  • June 2007 - mako replaced federico

User Foo is certified but I think he's a [moron | republican | democrat | witch | Microsoft employee | other despised class of person]. Doesn't that mean the trust metric is broken?

No, the purpose of the trust metric is to certify that a given user account on Advogato is known by the Advogato community to actually belong to the individual who claims it and is known to be a member of the free software and open source community. The user may be an crank, annoying, or of a political persuasion that you don't agree with. What the trust metric attempts to guarantee is that they really are who they say they are and that they are a member of the free software community in some sense. The particular certification level (e.g. apprentice, journeyer, master) also gives a hint at the reputation the person holds within the community.

I've been certified by several people but I'm still an observer. Doesn't that mean the trust metric is broken?

No, each user gains some amount of trust (gato-juice?) from other users who certify them. This trust is then divided up and flows out to anyone they certify. The more users one certifies, the less trust is given to each. If one certifies enough people, it may dissipate all their available trust, causing their certs to have no effect. So, it's possible that you were certified by several people who don't have much trust left to give.

I certified someone as an observer but the cert doesn't show up on their profile page. Doesn't that mean the trust metric is broken?

No, "Observer" is the default trust level of a new user with respect to all other users. In effect, an observer is an untrusted or uncertified user. It may help to think of "Observer" as "None" in terms of the certification level. If you have not certified a user, they are an observer relative to you and explicitly certifying them as "Observer" will have no effect. If you have certified a user at a higher trust level, changing the cert level to observer has the effect of de-certifying them, or setting them back to their default, untrusted state with respect to you.

What software and websites interface with Advogato's features?

Where can I find articles, papers, or books about Advogato and/or the mod_virgule trust metric?

Articles and talks about the Advogato website

Articles/Papers on trust metrics

Books

How do I delete my Advogato account?

There is no user-accessible account deletion function yet. If you need to have your account deleted right away, email us at gato@advogato.org and we'll take care of it. Include your real name, Advogato account name, and the email address associated with the account. If you don't mind telling us, we'd also like to know why you're deleting your account.

On what kind of system does Advogato run?

The hardward includes an Intel P4 2.66GHz dual core CPU, 2GB of RAM, and a 160GB hard drive. The OS is CentOS Enterprise Linux.

Who pays for all this?

At present, it all comes out of my pocket. That includes the server, the hosting costs, and a few hours per week of my time for maintenance, working on mod_virgule code, or whatever else needs doing. At the time of the site handoff, Raph and I talked about several ways to cover costs including asking for donations or possibly adding some minimal Google AdSense boxes, but for now I'm just monitoring things for a few months until I have a good idea of how much the long-term costs will be.

Can I donate money to help support Advogato?

We are not asking for donations at this time. There is no 501(c)3 organization behind Advogato, so donations are not tax-deductable. But, enough people have asked to make it necessary to add this to the FAQ. If you really, really want to donate something towards the hosting and maintenance costs of Advogato, we'll happily accept it. The money would need to go to NCC, the company that hosts the site and provides bandwidth. Click the button below to make a donation using PayPal or a credit card.

Where can I send suggestions for new features or complain about a bug?

Send an email to gato@advogato.org but before you do, please check the mod_virgule ToDo list to see if the feature or bug is already listed. Remember, sending a patch will greatly improve the chances of seeing your feature implemented.

What if this FAQ doesn't answer my question?

You can check Adewale Oshineye's FAQ to see if it has an answer to your questions. If you still can't find the answer to your question, we'll consider adding it to this FAQ if you email the question to gato@advogato.org.

Is this FAQ available in other languages?

Paul Bukhovko created a Belorussian translation

New Advogato Features

New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.

Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.

If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!