TUNES Activity

Jecel Mattos de Assumpcao Jr.
Wed, 29 Mar 1995 23:18:26 -0300

On Mon, 27 Mar 95 21:07:05 MET DST wrote:
> Dear joyous Tunespeople,
>    forgive me to say you do not look like as joyous as you used to do.
> I can find many people, including you on the list, who say they'd be
> happy for TUNES to succeed, but few who are ready to take active part in
> TUNES development, at least until it reaches some critical mass not
> determined.

Unfortunately, this is to be expected. I have the same problem with
Merlin. It is unrealistic to expect the same results as the people
who do GNU stuff ( see GNUStep for a recent example ). Their work is
already well defined before they even start as they work from existing
specification. Tunes is in the design phase and no good design ever
came out of a commitee.

It is almost impossible, at this stage, for Tunes not to be *your*
project. Other people may hang around ( and Chris is really working
hard too ) but I don't think many people will pitch in until you
get to the application writting phase ( you can expect a lot of help
with drivers and porting *after* that :-(  ).

>    I'd like you to help me determine this mass, so I can focus on reaching
> it sooner (any other kind of help also welcome):

Look at the history of Unix and you will get a good idea. I know a lot
of people *say* they would like to help design a new OS, but you won't
get more than vague comments from them. They'll pitch in once you have
a language running on something that will boot on a hardware they have.

> What exactly do *you* expect from an OS that is clumsily done ?

It doesn't have to be clumsily done. The core ideas must provide a
good foundation. As another example, look at the history of Smalltalk/X

The more you need people to help you, the less they will. The more
you have done so you no longer need their help as much, the more they
will want to join you.

> What criticism can you make of the work being done ?

As long as you want to do something different, you will have these
problems. Otherwise we would have lots of neat OSes rather than
a bunch of free Unix clones. I can give only one advice - don't give
up. What made Windows better than GEM, Topview, VisiOn and so many
others? Nothing, except that Bill Gates was the only one not to
give up.

> What ideas would you like it to integrate ?

Just the absolutely necessary to run at all, Later a nice UI.

> What would make you feel more like participating ?

I am trying to actually write some code for Merlin. I have devided the
project into smaller chunks like this:

                - Tiny Self in Smalltalk/X ( interrupted due to bugs in
                  the early version of STX that I have. Skipping to next
                  step to save time )
                - Tiny Self in C on Linux ( I have FTPed gc code for C
                  from so as not to
                  worry about this until later )
                - New Merlin/Tiny Self WWW pages
                - Tiny Self for Linux released on the internet ( free )
                - bootable Tiny Self
                - "Learning to Program in Self" added to WWW pages
                - bootable Tiny Self released on disk ( 45 dollars )

Later releases will take the system to the full Merlin specifications.
I think that Tunes and Merlin might come closer with time, so I think
that the best way for me to help Tunes is to actually implement things
in Merlin.

> P.S.: though I've made *many* changes to the TUNES stuff (particularly
> LLL ideas and i386 coding), that are available by ftp or http at usual
> addresses, patch is delayed a bit because of bad floppy problem,
> booting still uncomplete, and Interfaces subproject to replace UI.
> Once it is released, I'll be less available for some weeks because of exams
> I have to prepare ): but I'll still be here to integrate any patch that you
> may send to me.

These little problems can add up to long delays :-(. There is nothing
we can do but work around them one by one.

BTW, I am an alpha tester for Self 4.0. It is the most fantastic
thing I have ever seen!! It has a great user interface which is
*very* easy to program with. Merlin's UI will have to be changed
to be compatible with it, but that won't be a problem.

-- Jecel