Fare Rideau rideau@nef.ens.fr
Mon, 28 Apr 1997 13:46:56 +0200 (MET DST)

Dear Os-list and Tunes readers,
   here is a reply to Malte Kroeger's latest email to os-list@aros.net
which might be of interest to Tunes project members, too.
Because the original message didn't make it to Tunes,
it is almost entirely quoted here.

NB: on another subject, some of you might want send a message containing
"subscribe foo@bar" to the address <lispos-request@math.gatech.edu>...

> I think the biggest problem at the moment is the effort people put into the
> project. I don't see what's so hard about reading and writing some mail,
It's not that it's hard. But it's not productive.
E-mails get dumped or filed after being read. That's

> I got some interesting feedback about why there is no Progress in the project.
> 1) Lack of project management
> 2) Lack of desire, or passion, or effort, or interest or all of these...
> 3) Lack of accomplishments
I'd add
0) lack of precise project goal.
OS-DVL seems even worse than Tunes with this respect!
The worst about Tunes (my fault) is it doesn't have a precise HLL
specification, so no coding can begin.
OS-DeViLs has no specs at all!

> I would like to add my ideas about these three theses and maybe some way to
> solutions.

> 1) We do have a rather strict project organization. We have project leaders
> and we have groups for several topics and they have group leaders that
> should organize the work and write summaries so people not in the group can
> follow roughly what's going on.
> Obviously group leaders don't take this job very seriously! :-(
> I asked for reports in the group leaders mailing list, but got no response.
> The only group report that was of some help was from the language group and
> that was some time ago too.
> I told some groups what needs to be done and nothing happened.
> This leads to number two.
Don't blame the project group leaders:
they are not paid, and nobody claims to do better after all
(if someone does, make him group leader instead of the current one).
After all, blame them, but blame yourself (myself, too) even more.
Well, actually, let's not blame anyone, but get things done instead.
[easier said than done, granted].

> 2) I think desire is not the problem. We all have our desires and that's
> why we are in the project. Interest is not the problem for the same reason.
> Passion is a hard question. I don't know.
> I think effort is a problem! People don't put much effort into the project.
> It starts with the group leaders that don't write reports and then there is
> no discussion or work assignment carried out in the groups. There is enough
> that needs to be done, but people don't want to invest the effort to look
> something up or find something out and write about it. The Communication is
> rather poor, especially across groups, since there are no reports. So we
> reach deadlocks, cause the independece group needs results from the
> language group and the other way around, but they can't coordinate. :-(
> They don't even know about each others work!
There is enough desire and passion, but not enough understanding,
and not any concrete document to work on.
I'd suggest that people contribute to a common hyper-document,
like the Tunes WWW pages...
Only the Tunes WWW pages are hand-maintained with coarse-grained access,
and there is no software to allow secure internet-wide codevelopment
of documents in a meaningful way yet;
building such software is somehow the Tunes project,
but that's a bit of a chicken-n-egg problem.
Maybe there is a way to transform a mailing-list discussion
into an interactively enriched hyper document?
If someone can produce specs for such software, that'd be great.
In any case, it can only rely on persistent objects...

> 3) Accomplishment can be a Problem.
I admit I have such problems.
Obviously, people with the feet firmly on the ground,
who can accomplish difficult projects,
aren't the kind of guys who adventure in etherate netwide projects.

> In the independence group we wanted to
> start the implementation of a small forward compiler, but we didn't get to
> it yet, cause there are still things that need to be worked out before we
> can start.
See 0) lack of precise goals

> But if there is no discussion, there can be hardly any decisions
> and then we can't get any work done!
Things do not come like that. Committees have never created anything;
committees exist to produce a standard out of existing, working, ideas.
Before people can discuss and agree,
there need be some a common basis of discussion.
But in our netwide OS projects,
people come with different background and goals,
with different knowledge of what has to be done and how it can be done.

> We need to decide at least the basics
> before we can start. Details can be worked out along the way and several
> things will be decided later, after a test implementation has been coded
> and proven to be good or bad.
So the conclusion is: someone has to get things done on his own,
without waiting for the others,
but still submitting his "baby" to other people's critique...

> So what it all adds up to:
> I think the biggest problem at the moment is the effort people put into the
> project. I don't see what's so hard about reading and writing some mail,
> maybe read an article or work out a short assay about a given topic, so
> people can discuss and decide about it. This should take a few hours a
> week. I think most of you can invest this time if you want to. It's worth it!
Effort in WHAT direction? Everyone on the list is at a different point
in his tastes and knowledge, and we're too far away from each other to
synchronize. Unless YOU (whoever reads this message, including I)
lead the way, and show the direction, everyone is lost.

> The start would be to read you email as often as possible (every two or
> three days at least) and also _write_ about your ideas and reply to others.
> But remember not to discuss only details as it easily happens when replying
> to others again and again.
> Also read other sources of information that you have access to.
By over-reading your e-mail, you'll only become an obsessive geek like me.
Instead of contributing e-mail,
it'd be better to contribute persistent documents,
like pages on the Tunes WWW site, or software to manage it,
or any kind of software.
Any taker to take over publishing of the Tunes mailing-list with
a search engine?

> As a good example I can again state the hardware independence group:
> Over the last two or three month we dicided on a concept how we can achieve
> hardware independence at the application level and how we can addapt the OS
> itself to different hardware platforms easily. We startet to work out the
> details of a simple forward compiler and about a binary format. First
> implementations can start in a few weeks I hope. Anybody interested?
Look very much like the VM topic currently on the lispos list.
Again, don't ask people to walk when they have no direction to walk in.

> I know that there is no report about the progress eather. :-(
> I learned a lot during this time and I think the others as well. And most
> important of all: It was a lot of fun!
Proposals of binary format specs is the typical thing
that could be added to the Tunes WWW documentation.
Tunes has not accomplished much, but the WWW pages are still some kind of
capital, whereas a project like MOOSE died without living anything behind
(but my message archive).

> So please do something! Don't wait for group leaders to ask you to take
> over some work! This project lives and dies with the people that work in it.
I know too well, but I'm the principal guilty
of things not going on in my own Tunes project...

> I know we all want this to succeed, but this will take time, strengh and
> effort and there will be rocks in the way again and again, but they don't
> dissapear by themselves...
> Let's MOVE iT!

>    Malte Kroeger
> Project leader of the OS-DeViLs-Project
> Contact me if you are interested in developing a new operating system.
> Also check our homepage: http://www.effect.net.au/os-dev/os-devils.html
> -------------
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== Fare' -- rideau@ens.fr -- Franc,ois-Rene' Rideau -- DDa(.ng-Vu~ Ba^n ==
Join the TUNES project for a computing system based on computing freedom !
                TUNES is a Useful, Not Expedient System
URL: "http://www.eleves.ens.fr:8080/home/rideau/Tunes/"