Time to get busy!

Dwight Hughes dhughes@intellinet.com
Sat, 3 May 1997 23:26:07 -0500

I quoted almost all of Ahmed's message below since it keeps me from 
typing in a nearly identical message. I *may* have a bit more experience 
in software engineering and design but I have the same problems in
attacking this project. I am most interested in the LispOS kernel
and lower-level OS design for this project (for now anyway) but my
detailed knowledge of this not extensive and my experience even less.
However, I would like to contribute much more than just cheerleading --
I can do/would do the research necessary to come up to speed in
whatever aspect I am thrust into, but I will need a bit of guidance
too from those who actually know what they are doing.

The APIs and such detail could naturally be worked out in the various
subgroups of interest and communicated to the rest of the project as 
they develop into reasonably stable specs. (Richard, I think you might
need to look at further specializations of the mailing lists beyond
LispOS and LispVM after the subprojects are defined.)

A decision REALLY needs to be made on the foundation OS to begin the
project with so I can set that up as well (I use NT 4.0 for "normal" 
things - yeah, yeah, boo hiss and all that). I don't really think 
we have enough *experts* in the various aspects of the proposed system 
to spread our efforts out to a Flux OStoolkit group AND a 
Linux/FreeBSD/... group for the kernel/OS design. Even if we do, I think
we would all benefit in concentrating on one or the other approach.

Just for the record, I have decided that Mike McDonald's quick start
approach on a Linux/FreeBSD/... system would be most expedient. If we
want to move it to something else after some development we can do so.
In the meantime, we will have to rely on those who know what *must*
be in a LispOS to keep us safe from unix damage.

Now, which is it -- Linux or FreeBSD? If Linux, which Linux -- RedHat,
Slackware, Debian, mkLinux?

Pie in the sky always looks fantastic, but pie in my plate tastes much
better. This project won't happen overnight - lets start with something
that works, even if it *is* unix based for now. We're going to throw
most of it away anyway as we go along, and I would love to be able to
take advantage of the work that has been done on all those damn device
drivers. We might even gain some insight into what must be done to
have a unix subsystem/runtime/whatever as part of the LispOS (calm down,
this means Unix on LispOS NOT LispOS on Unix). I think this would be
a worthy goal eventually if it proves not to be too hairy.

--  Dwight

From: Ahmed <cosc19z5@Bayou.UH.EDU>

| >   OK everyone, enough talk It's time to get busy! :-) Why don't people
| > start picking projects that they're interested in?
| Question:  what sort of time frame are we looking at for developing
| any given module?  Also won't there be a precise set of criteria
| for any given module?  I mean wouldn't there need to be a list of
| requirements for things like API, desired performance, functionality,
| etc...?  Just asking for say "a networking system", seems to be asking
| for trouble since there seems to be a wide range of interpretation
| as to what should and shouldn't be in a given networking system.
| Also what about coding standards?  I'm interested in contributing
| code in Lisp, but I'd like to know for instance, what sort of
| naming conventions should be employed, how should reliance
| on non-ANSI features go, is one free to use functional programming
| techniques (the latter would necessitate tail recursion optmization
| in CMUCL which is what I'm assuming is going to be used for the
| Lisp code at this point).  CMUCL/Linux is our implementation
| right?  I need to know before I go about installing this thing
| and getting familiar with its nuances.
  [ -- snip -- ]
| My software engineering experience is non-existent (I code therefore
| I am), but shouldn't there be more formalism involved than just
| saying "We need a persistent OO store, Make It So!"?
  [ -- snip -- ]
| BTW, do you want those who contribute code to have experience in
| the particular domain in which they are developing?  I have
| zero experience in some of the areas I'm thinking of taking up,
| but I'm more than willing to do the research necessary to teach
| myself what to do if that's not a problem (heck I'm looking forward
| to it since that makes it more of a challenge and will help
| expand my knowledge greatly -- this could be one helluva learning
| experience for me!).