State of the Step - September 2011

where have I been?
I am "rootrider". I ran FPN for a while, then founded I was a member of the LS Documentation Effort, produced daily LS builds, and was very active in the community for many years. I have been away from Litestep and any other shell scene/community/project for a long time. I can't even remember when it was that I last was involved. I slowed down my updates on ShellFront probably in 2005. I gave access to the ftp to someone else so that modules would continue to be updated. I kept paying for the hosting, and I kept paying for the other domains I own. I kept using LiteStep (I've used it every day since some time in 1999. I wouldn't be sane without it.). Basically, I moved my efforts elsewhere.

I would occasionally check in on the Litestep Mailing List to see how things were going there. This year there were seven emails from January to May. I have every email I received from that list since June 1999. There were about 38000 emails from 1999 to 2005. From 2005 - 2011 there were about 1500 emails. This should give you an idea of how popular and active the scene was in the first several years, and how much slower and inactive it has become in the last several years.

the state of LiteStep
Around the middle of September, 2011 I received an email telling me that and were down due to the everydns shut down earlier. I checked in with the people I knew who were involved with the hosting side of those sites (since I only pay for the domains) and then decided to check my LSML email folder. I noticed that the last email was from May. I tried to send an email to the list and got a bounce back. A quick check of the existing/remaining LS sites I was aware of showed no indication of the LSML going down, so I figured I'd check in with the #litestep channel on freenode. After talking to people in the channel I began to realize how much disarray LiteStep was in.

The old, active LS site was The #litestep topic stated that it was down due to host issues. That topic was quite old. I found out that the site had been down for at least a month, and it looked like backups were not going to be recovered thanks to the old host disappearing. LS-Themes hosted a lot of content.. everything from an updated wiki for documentation, new themes, modules, builds (along with updated fixes for Windows 7 and 64bit use), and forums. As it turns out, the server the wiki was hosted on was involved in a data center fire and the backups of that site were lost shortly before the fire. In the mean time the LSML has gone offline, and and (the only two remaining 'active' LS sites) were offline due to the above mentioned issues.

That is the state that I found LiteStep in.

The good news is that there are still people around who are interested in helping out and keeping things going. LiteStep is still an incredibly cool and useful tool for Windows users. The difference between ten years ago and today is that the amount of users have dropped significantly. This is no longer a rather large and well known open source project that is being included on major magazine CD's and mentioned on TechTV. This is now a very small and largely inactive project with an unknown smaller amount of users who have almost no where to go online to share their own knowledge or interest (or to receive help).

mostly starting over...
As such, we need to start operating as if LiteStep is the small project that it is. It needs a good core web site where users can go to download releases and other resources, read documentation, and help add to the community if they like. Other sites can exist, but everything should be very well linked and, ideally, well coordinated. We should combine our efforts as much as possible toward a more singular goal. With our number of active users being so small, splitting efforts between multiple projects and goals only serves to weaken the group as a whole. This effort has begun.

People in #litestep began talking about building a new core web site for LiteStep, setting up a new forum, and building whatever we can from the ashes of the content from LS-Themes. I dumped a lot of the information from those discussion into the bottom portion of this page, and have been updating it since as a way for everyone to keep up with what we know, what we need to know, what needs to be done, and what has been done.

As a result, about a week after discussions started, we put up this site ( and set up forums. This was our first goal.. so that users can have a place to receive help and so that people can help us work on the project if they like. That's our first step. We have a lot of work to go. But that's where you can come in! Check out the information laid out below, and then join the forums or check out #litestep on freenode to see what we're doing. We are open to your thoughts and suggestions, and we'll appreciate whatever help we can get.

The state of LiteStep has been weak. But I think that the future of LiteStep is still strong, in that it still plays a very important part in the usage of Windows for many people. There are still developers who have an interest in writing code or fixing things, and there are still themers who are creating themes, hoping that other users will enjoy their work. We won't abondon those people. Instead we will help them accomplish their goals and provide them with an avenue to make their work known.

-Joel Parker ("rootrider")

screenshot of old (circa 2003)

last updated 2011.10.05 UTC

This page is the sole work of Joel Parker (rootrider) and is a huge work in progress. Please contact 'rootrider' on any LiteStep irc channel on freenode for thoughts or additions, and please don't take any opinions, statements, content, or omission of content personally. I have been away from the community for many years, and I am trying to take a crash course in the current state to help get things back to a useful state in order to help spur on new development and users, and to keep the existing community going.

NOTES (read please):

domains still under friendly control: (owned by Chris Williams), (owned by xclusive), (owned by rootrider), (owned by rootrider), (owned by THC4k?), (owned by rootrider), (owned by tin_omen), (?) (owned by andymon or gothsscecret ??)

existing sites and pages (bookmarks!) (a lot of this is just what I've seen posted since I've been watching irc this week):
(also see #litestep on freenode)

current active people?
jugg, Tobbe, the-golem, Acidfire, THC4k (?), Greywool, rootrider

action items: