The team is making progress on a big job, as shown in the meeting at SRI on
The scope of the job is illusory because we start out thinking we "know" what
"knowledge" is and how to manage it; then discover that our intuitive sense
about the meaning of knowledge needs refinement in order to move forward...
Since all KM projects have to work through the same dilemma, the SRI team is
quite a bit ahead of the people at IBM, Microsoft, Intel, and other places
looking into the matter, as evidenced by the lack of work product from others.
Paul identifies significant restraints on the current SRI effort, but these pale
in relation to the core issue which Paul touched upon in his letter on
Paul Fernhout wrote:
> Great post! I'm curious what others on the list will have to say about
> I hope many more people comment. If they don't, then that's your answer.
> At this point, I see the list as probably most useful just as pointers
> to other work in progress. I personally am disappointed by that compared
> to my expectations back in November or so -- although I am glad I have
> participated in the list because I have learned much, and it has helped
> me refine my own goals. I especially liked the early pointer to Dee
> Hock's "Chaordic" organization work.
> The biggest issues I see relating to leadership (off the top of my head)
> * Doug is looking for SRI (or a similar group) to do the heavy lifting
> again. Frankly I believe many of the same forces that killed his work at
> SRI in the past will in the future prevent SRI from doing the right
> thing with it -- not "something", but "the right thing". While SRI
> personnel have done incredible things, SRI is still an entrenched part
> of the pre-internet economic order. It would be a great coup for Doug to
> get SRI to implicitly admit their mistake in letting go of Augment by
> taking it back (like an old lover admitting how wrong they were to push
> one away). The question is, has SRI really changed since then?
> * Bootstrap is a for-profit company and is having trouble making the
> transition to open source, and also lacks some credibility because it is
> * Many of the participants who could contribute are more busy looking
> for a way to survive economically (possibly by selling DKR products or
> services). Those who could contribute a small amount of effort or code
> gratis are somewhat repulsed by this. (These two tensions can also exist
> within the same person!) This is one reason the license has not been
> worked out -- the commercial survival group is still looking to hold on
> to something for an economic edge. However, there are also several open
> source possibilities for licensing, so this is a compelx issue.
> * Taking handouts from Sun and Stanford has created implicit bonds
> (choice of Java, "Permission to use" license) that make various options
> less attractive or prevents them altogether.
> * The project did not start with "a gift of code", and so has no open
> source credibility beyond Doug's reputation in saying that is what
> Bootstrap wants to do. Releasing anything related to Augment under an
> open source license would increase this credibility.
> * The weekly meetings in CA have created an in-group / out-group
> situation with regards to this list. Those who are physically located in
> CA become the in-group with privileged interactions (although thankfully
> summarized on the list), those elsewhere geographically become the
> out-group. While much progress is undoubtedly made with face to face
> meetings, the Apache group didn't meet face to face for years. The
> "in-group" does not seem to have license as a priority, because it seems
> more composed of people figuring out a business model for funding. I
> don't fault them for this, but it creates a tension between them and
> open source advocates on the list who just want to proceed without
> I believe Doug would like others to lead, but these other factors make
> it difficult to do so -- there is much existing baggage and some
> cross-purposes. To put it another way, it is hard for an individual
> other than one formally at these organizations to have leadership
> legitimacy, and the obvious and easier alternative for open source
> developers (leaders or not) is to join an existing open source project
> that is getting stuff done or start one's own.
> I don't quite know how to explain this, but I feel like this group has
> both too much structure and too little structure.
> There is too much structure because there is an implicit hierarchy (or
> inner circle?) related to producing the colloquium, which has not
> translated itself into open source production. (This isn't to denigrate
> what this hierarchy has done, as the colloquium was great.) Also, too
> much structure because "permission to use" prohibits contributions.
> Also, implementing someone else's detailed spec is boring compared to
> incremental prototyping (also perhaps futile because of ignoring prior
> art or alternatives).
> There is too little structure because there is no real open source
> license (or licenses), and there is no ongoing discussion of related
> code open source code (squashed in part because of "permission to use"),
> and there thus cannot be any leadership related to code development
> without overcoming the license issue and "permission to use" first. Most
> open source efforts don;t start with these disadvantages.
> I myself released some open source code related to knowledge management
> last month (check the Python newsgroup), but I did not post the
> announcement to this list because I did not want the code to be
> interpreted as in any way falling under "permission to use". We have no
> way of knowing how many open source developers have lurked on this list
> and abandoned it entirely without any comment.
> A comment has been made in the past that this list was just about the
> colloquium and not developing the OHS/DKR. It was not my understanding
> these would be completely separate activities. Without a rework of
> "permission to use" and a transforming of this effort into an open
> source / free software one, momentum from the colloquium will continue
> to be lost. That will make starting up such an effort harder.
> Here is a first cut at the summaries you asked for. I use "we" loosely.
> Where we are:
> * Some general discussion of world issues.
> * Lots of pointers to related work on the web.
> * Great specs from before the colloquium, somewhat refined by the
> * Great summaries of the last two above (mostly be Eric Armstrong).
> * No license beyond the one sided "permission to use".
> What we are doing:
> * Still expanding on the above points.
> * Some are trying to develop a business model and get funding for it.
> * The beginnings of an "official" user editable DKR via Zope and ZWiki
> have been started on the Bootstrap server by Lee Iverson of SRI. [Sorry,
> but this grates on me a little because my "unofficial" Zope set up was
> ignored. But this is an example of how there is a social hierarchy of
> "legitimate" offerings present in this project (and perhaps most any
> * Occasional discussions of licensing issues (so far without any
> commitment as a group).
> Where we are going:
> * I don't know, hopefully towards a open source OHS/DKR with some open
> source content related to world issues (energy, pollution, biodiversity,
> infrastructure, poverty, health, etc.).
> What can be worked on immediately:
> * Good question!
> * Pointers to related work around the web?
> -Paul Fernhout
> Kurtz-Fernhout Software
> Developers of custom software and educational simulations
> Creators of the Garden with Insight(TM) garden simulator
> UglySpineHead wrote:
> > As I'm watching this group grow and evolve from the sidelines several things
> > have come to my attention.
> > 1) While there is a definitive leader (Doug) and support team (the BI
> > staff), there is a lack of leadership.
> > This is not meant as an insult. There is definitive goal, but many people
> > don't know what's going on, and they want to help, but don't know where to
> > start. It's not that they are completely ignorant of what's happening, but
> > because the scope and size of this project is rather huge. I think it would
> > be very appropriate to have a summary of where we are, what we are doing,
> > where we are going, and what can be worked on immediately. Keeping all this
> > in mind, I would like to thank those members who are being very active by
> > pushing unrev-II further. I am very impressed by you all, and I have the
> > greatest respect for you.
> > 2) The license agreement attached to the colloquium (and by extension this
> > mailing list) needs to be addressed and corrected.
> > I, for one, am *very* uncomfortable with it, as I assume others are. Even a
> > short term solution would be welcome. I don't have anything against
> > Stanford, but it could be used improperly. I think this is more pressing
> > than deciding on a license for any future coding (though it encompasses many
> > of the same issues).
> > -
> > These are just a couple things that have been on my mind lately. I
> > appreciate the time taken to read this message and would like any feedback
> > you might have to offer.
> > Michael Crusoe -- student at large
> > (602) 438 8088 ext 0335
> > [Leave a message, start a dialogue, make something happen]
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