Zanata outage and our reactions
On the 28th March 2019 Zanata,the translation platform we use for community translations of Halcyon,went down for the first time.
It was down for quite a few days but every service has some server problems sometimes so we didn't expect that as a big problem and just continued to use it when it was back online.
There was nothing what would make us think about this happening again soon or even going down forever.
Unfortunately it happened again and was reported on the 26th April 2019 at Zanatas issues page.
This time the outage was one week long - it ended today,the 30th April 2019 - and we gave up the hope that it will work again some day,what was of course wrong but we expect further outages.
While trying to find out more about the service status we found that Zanata is no longer maintained,the Git repository hasn't had any update for months and Red Hat doesn't have a team for managing Zanata anymore.
Knowing this it was clear that we needed a new translation platform but when searching for hosted solutions,we could only find paid ones but good software for hosting a own translation site.
We decided that Pootle looks interesting and may be worth giving a try so we did it and are quite happy with the results.
Yes,selfhosting Zanata would have been possible too as it's open source but it's written in Java what would have put a quite heavy load on our servers and the project is no longer maintained so,thinking of running in long term,that would have been a bad idea in general.
When trying to setup Pootle,we experienced very many problems and it took hours to find the cause and fix it but now we can warn anyone who wants to setup his or her own Pootle instance.
Please don't use MariaDB/MySQL for it as it messes up collations somehow what prevents the initdb command from working and will cause some unexpected error 500s later when trying to use it.
We finally decided to run the whole installation process again using PostgreSQL as database backend and initdb worked just fine and we have yet to experience the first error 500.
First we thought new translations which were made after the release of Halcyon 2.3.0 would be lost but luckily Zanata came back online to allow us downloading backups.
Because Zanata is no longer maintained and outages are getting more often,we consider it bad as long term solution and decided to go with our Pootle instance now even if Zanata may work as a short term solution again.
We imported all data to our new Pootle instance,luckily with zero data loss for the translations,only new user accounts are required.
Pootle seems well maintained with a quite active Git repository so this should do the job for a long time hopefully.
At least we will no longer have to worry about data loss as results of outages because everything is stored on our own servers now.
If you want to help translating Halcyon,you can do that on our Pootle instance from now on.