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I'm not sure if it makes a difference if I will explain this once more, because everyone seems to like to stick to these misunderstandings. But here goes.
Syllable development has not specifically refocused on Syllable Server. It's just an addition to the lineup. Moreover, since more than 99% of the source code of Syllable Desktop is third-party code, and it is shared by Syllable Server, and they also share the same build system, most work on Syllable Server is automatically also work on Syllable Desktop - even if it is not immediately followed by a release.
It is true that the release frequency of Syllable Desktop has slowed down a lot. However, this is not due to Syllable Server, but due to the build master of Syllable Desktop loosing interest over time. Syllable Server has never had frequent releases yet, and Syllable Desktop has now slowed down to the same pace. We've still been doing alternate releases. The most recent release is of Syllable Server, but before that the previous Server release was as long ago as the Desktop release is now.
Desktop and Server are developed in tandem, witnessed by the REBOL 3 ports to them, and that's how we always planned it.
It is true that our mailing list has dried up in the past two years, but this is not exclusive to Syllable. If you look around at other projects, there are many that show much the same phenomenon. I'm not entirely sure why this is. Personally, I've long predicted the death of email, and I think this is a symptom of it, and people are moving to more modern forms of communication. There's also a real problem that first Ubuntu, and now mobile OSes and also Windows 7, and in our case Haiku as well, have been sucking people away from Syllable. People have to remember that this is a volunteer open source project, which is not propelled forward by complaining or even declaring it dead at every occasion, but by contributing.
You're right that our communication is happening in a different place these days. Weren't you in our AltME system in the past? Anyway, as I've long said, everyone is welcome in there, but again, only few people bother. Everything should be in balance, so if people don't care enough about Syllable to even take a look, for example simply on our public web forum, why would we go out of our way to bring news to them? Still, we've always planned to open this up more, and we're working towards that, so far by constantly improving the websites, where you can read news somewhat regularly, including through RSS feeds. Edited 2010-11-12 00:38 UTC
I am relieved to hear that development has not refocused on Syllable Server. I don't quite agree with the idea that email is a dying medium of communication, especially in Open Source projects. In all projects that I take part in (AGG, WebKit, Haiku, XViD, FFmpeg, ...), email is the major communication channel for discussions, and IRC for real-time conversations. In my experience, many developers don't like forums in particular, since they have to invest more activity than to simply look at their email inbox. For some to me unknown reasons, many users like to use forums, though, especially in the Haiku project there is a disconnection between the forums and the mailing lists, since almost no developer looks at the forum posts. I have no experience with the AltMe platform, but to me it seems that since communication has shifted there, it made the Syllable project much less approachable and transparent. Of course that's entirely up to you guys, just offering my experience as someone who has been following the Syllable mailing list in the past.
Most of the projects you name are major projects with considerable communities and vested interests. If they also go some way back, it stands to reason that mail was their primary communication system and that has stuck. This has grown out of the academic world, but when something like 95% of all email volume has become spam, and you have to take draconian measures to keep it working, something has gone wrong. And that's just a detail; my real beef is with the (non-)organisation of email.
I recognise your description of the developer/user split between mailing lists and forums. The strange this is that for me, it's the other way around. The last time I preferred email was when I had it in Lotus Notes, and I was running my own Notes server to synchronise it over all my machines and work places. I had to let go of that when I migrated to Syllable and Linux, which lost me all that convenience. Since then, I can only simulate some of the same convenience by going with the web and cloud trend.
There's a reason that I like Syllable and other simplifying technologies. It must have something to do with the reason that regular users prefer web forums. It's distinctly different from the old academic mindset that produced email and Linux. It has always been my mission to offer regular people systems made with a different mindset: more convenient and much more integrated. As you can see, I need network technology for that, so clients and servers, and that's why we added Syllable Server and REBOL to the Syllable lineup. All of them are important pieces of the puzzle.
Regarding AltME: it's indeed what they call a darknet these days. But it's not a darknet because you can't get in, but because people don't bother to visit. So here's the situation: people always claimed operating systems sucked and they wanted better ones, we spent a decade of our lifes creating it for them, but people simply refuse to even have a look at the collaboration system that we chose to produce Syllable. It embodies the Syllable philosophy of integration and convenience: it's not a loose collection of email, IRC, FTP, CVS and what not, but a holistic, efficient, cross-platform groupware system with a nice graphical interface. We're not going to degrade our own productivity by dumping it for the sake of lurkers who demand but don't contribute. This street goes two ways. Nevertheless, as I said, we desire to open it up more, and eventually even replace it with our own system, but we're working on that gradually. Syllable Server was the first step.