It’s been a little over three years since I announced Well, welcome to and in particular my corner of it, The Tim Bray Sun-wiki Ranch.

What does this all mean? Beats me. For three years every Sun employee who wanted one has had a Web podium; they’ve actually turned out to be pretty two-way, starting thousands of often high-value conversations. Now everybody at Sun has a collaborative Web whiteboard, two-way by design rather than by serendipity.


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From: Tony Fisk (Aug 07 2007, at 20:43)

I'll be interested to see how your experience with the 'ranch wiki' turns out.

(Mine has been that the number of people who grok collaborative authoring is miniscule)

Still, even if maintained by one or two people, a wiki should complement a blog nicely: providing indexing links in a non-chronological manner.


From: Martin (Aug 08 2007, at 05:26)

Too bad Sun does not use free tools, like MediaWiki, for the internal Wiki. I manage a high-school reunion wiki, and although the syntax is hard to grok for non-techies, it is flexible and sooo open! It allows me to automate the registration process using some simple Python code between a Google Spreadsheet and the MediaWiki site, hosted freely at Libraries used: Google API ( and

If I had choosen other closed Wiki offering I could not have done all those nice automatic features!


From: padawan (Aug 08 2007, at 10:47)

Martin's comment is so typical. The real cost of a wiki isn't in the licence, but in the development and growth. I've got several real life exemples where it would have cost several times MORE to use MediaWiki than to pay a licence for Confluence and use it out of the box (that's what Sun uses too, and my little finger tells me it's not just a coincidence!). Most open source software (and MediaWiki in particular) absolutely suck at end-user features such as a really working WYSIWYG editor (no, wiki syntax isn't any "simpler" for casual users than HTML, it's just F*cking Ugly Code for them), or usability. And let's compare the complexity and cost of maintaining a bunch of "free" spagetti code (bricolage!) assembled by a geek hobbyist to a product that comes with entreprise support and can be managed by non developers, etc., etc.

Sorry, but for entreprise wikis, the available open source options are simply not up to par with the commercial offerings.


From: Igor Minar (Aug 08 2007, at 13:24)

Padawan's comment is dead on. We picked Confluence because it was closest to being enterprise ready, yet possible to extend or modify if necessary.

And I disagree with Martin's comment: "If I had choosen other closed Wiki offering I could not have done all those nice automatic features!" - Martin have you actually tried to do this with Confluence?

Confluence is distributed with source code for paying customers, but more importantly its flexible and powerful plugin framework can be leveraged to create plugins like the ones that Martin mentioned. It's not an accident that there is so many plugins for Cofluence out there (


Igor (from the SunWikis team)


From: Patrick Berry (Aug 13 2007, at 21:09)

We user Confluence Enterprise on the Academic license at my work and we evaluated every Free wiki would could get our hands on. Nothing had the power and end-user friendliness of Confluence.

Of course, we also use JIRA...we're not exactly unbiased when it comes to Atlassian products.


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