Important Announcement

  • Dear Zelenka Forum members,

    I regret to inform the forum members that the days of the Discover Zelenka website and the Zelenka Forum appear to be numbered. The website searches and general functionality, and also the whole forum, are strongly based on the PHP programming language version 4. Nowadays, PHP5 is used, and the compatibility between the two is not anywhere near 100%.

    The website is being run on a server that has supported PHP4 until now, but the owner of the server has announced that PHP4 will not be run after the end of April at the very latest, and possibly it will stop earlier than this.

    If anyone has bags of money and can afford to splash out something like $2500 (US) on a programmer's time to bring everything up to date, then the problem might be solved. I don't have that kind of money, so I can see no alternative but to close the shop when the PHP4 functionality ends. I have looked for a sponsor for ten years without much success, and a few weeks is probably not enough time to make a cry for financial help.

    No doubt you will want to comment. No doubt there will be some shock horror. But we have almost two months to talk about it and perhaps find a solution, or at least to exchange e-mail addresses so that we don't lose contact with each other.


  • I am convinced that Alistair's foundation of this website, and the way in which enthusiasts have contributed resources and information to it, have been a most important factor in the rebirth of our composer in recent years.

    It would be a tragedy if the impetus were now to be lost.

    I personally would be happy to contribute $300 to the enterprise of enabling Alistair to engage a programmer to take the site to the new platform.
    How about it, enthusiasts?

  • Dear Alistair,

    David Nelson has alerted me to your important announcement and my quick reaction is to match the figure that David has offered. I guess that there must be at least ten individuals to come forward so that the money is made available and there are also commercial enterprises who would help too.

    Well-established cultural organisations in the Czech Republic and Germany surely would not wish to see your splendid enterprise disappear. A suitable word to the BBC might encourage them to dip into what, for them, would be their Petty Cash box.

    What you have done for Zelenka and for all the Zelenka enthusiasts is of much importance and, provided that you are willing to keep going, please, please give it another (say) five years and ensure that the reins are passed to someone else when you do need to stop.

    By the time David Nelson visits me later this month for another of our twice-yearly listening sessions, I hope that the funding will be in place,

    Andrew Hinds

  • :eek: AN EXISTENTIAL QUESTION (+ ANOTHER 250 [FONT=Times New Roman, serif]$):eek: [/FONT]
    Shock and sadness was my initial reaction to these potentially tragic news: our «Discover Zelenka» website & Forum will disappear within c. 2 – two – months, unless 2500 [FONT=Times New Roman, serif]$[/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman, serif]US [/FONT]dollars is spent on reprogramming the site before then!

    But rather than considering this message a fatal blow, one must face it as a test and a challenge. During the last 5-6 years Alistair has maintained and developed the Zelenka website to the high standards a growing number of visitors has learned to know and appreciate – a burden he more or less has carried on his own shoulders. My sincere gratitude for his immense, heroic achievements cannot be exaggerated. «Discover Zelenka» has been developed into an indispensable, small piece of cultural heritage in digital form. Less obvious perhaps is the trivial fact that such work always has an economical side, as well. Maintenance costs money, and what has happened – not surprisingly – is that we have simply reached a point where this burden has become too heavy for one person alone.

    This potential threath is therefore limited to a question about how many users are willing to share the responsibility. Presented in this manner our problem is quite different, and certainly possible to handle. DavidN and Andrew Hinds' spontaneous and generous offers – as far as I've understood – of 300 US dollars each, gives one a reason to hope. If I follow up their initiative with 250 [FONT=Times New Roman, serif]$[/FONT], more than 1/3 of the money needed has already been raised in no time! Of course no donation to the Zelenka Forum's Paypal account is too small (100, 50, 25 or even 10 dollars). 2/3 still remain...

    Immediate sponsors are welcome but those benefactors will probably mean more in the future. If they need time, it's not crucial. Among potential non-commercial sponsors, the Ministry of Culture in the Czech Republic and corresponding institutions in Germany/ Saxony sound like natural candidates. Regardless of such promotion work, dedicated and enthusiastic individuals is the principal «secret» behind the successful Zelenka revival, just like they stand behind most successes elsewhere in life.

    As a next step, I suggest that Alistair includes his important notification in private messages to all Forum subscribers, with a reference to this thread for updates. Besides, it's of crucial importance to inform as many as possible as soon as possible. Maybe some among you know about others to notify outside the Forum who this issue might concern, having the interest and/ or means required? Spread the word!

    «Discover Zelenka»'s function in our composer's revival is so important that it's not an option for people who believe in Zelenka's greatness to let it die. This is an existential question – in every sense of the word.

  • Thank you so very much for your support. Your words bowl me over and at the same time give me strength to try to find a solution.

    Discover Zelenka
    A friend of mine who knows PHP is taking a look at the code on the Discover Zelenka website itself to assess the degree of modernisation required. This amounts to assessing the financial damage involved! Basically, I am talking about the functionality of the Works searches, the Recordings searches, the Outstanding CDs page, the More Quotations page, and the Further Reading page(s). All of these would appear as usual but cease to function entirely in 2 months' time.

    Zelenka Forum
    The whole forum would appear as an error message in 2 months' time. As the forum software is commercial, it might be possible to give the manufacturer carte blanche to upgrade the software and integrate it with the existing database. There may, however, be incompatibility between the existing database and the hierarchy of tables that the new software expects to find in the database. I will contact them and discuss it.

    I will update you from time to time.

  • Thanks to one of our members, KingMaximilian (see the Parallel Composers thread), the problems with the Works and the Recordings searches are now over. They work in PHP5! There are just a couple of trivial problems to sort now.

    The whole site will still be running under PHP4 until the Forum is updated.

    The cost of the forum update will only be 350 US dollars. I am just about to pay for the annual parking fee (270 dollars), so the total cost of keeping the whole show open in the near future will be 620 dollars - not 2,500 dollars as originally thought by me. Not bad -- the cost has shrunk by a factor of 4!

    If any you are still willing to chip in, please make a donation through PayPal on the front page. I will wait for a few days and then shut the forum temporarily for this essential update.

  • I too hope that we will all contribute through Paypal to ensure that these costs are covered. The service that Alistair and the website perform in aid of our composer's cause is incalculable.

    One benefit from this crisis is that we now know the annual cost [currently $270] that Alistair has borne probably entirely from his own pocket just to keep the site "up there." I hope that we will all continue to remember this and mark the date in our diaries for each year to ensure that he does not continue to carry the burden alone.

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