OHS Project ,
the unfinished revolution

April 20, 2000
previous meeting, next meeting. 1

Agenda: Not available. 2

Present: Listing not available. 3

Minutes: 4

There are no formal minutes available, but in, Date: Fri Apr 21, 2000 9:21pm, Eric Armstrong <eric.armstrong@e...> wrote: 4A

We had a rather good meeting at SRI this month. 4A1

Highlights of the Formal Meeting 
(This was the official meeting, held at SRI.)4B

* Joe Williams gave a high level "markety" overview of the thing we are planning to build. There was  a strong general feeling that the picture he was presenting was not accurate, but the style and sense of focus was good. When *do* have an accurate  picture to portray, I suspect he'll summarize it nicely. 4B1

[One nice thing that came out of that presentation, for me, was that it brought it into clearer focus why I have been wrestling with data types. His desire to identify the "fundamental information unit" of  the DKR made me realize that the real goal of the data structure design I have been doing is to  (hopefully) identify one (or at most a few) "atomic data structures" that can be strung together to make everything else in the system. I think I may be  close (future email).] 4B1A

* Lee Iverson gave a great overview of use case scenarios, describing the activities that actually go on in a software development project. Since we all agree that our initial target is to augment open source development activities, his overview (coming soon to a mailing list near you) provided a good list of activities to start on. 4B2

To anticipate Lee's email just a bit, he divided the activities into 4 general scenarios:

  • a) The (primary) development activities that go on before the product is released (designing, planning, coding, documentation, etc.)
  • b) The (primary) development activities that go on after a product is released (bug tracking, suggestion lists, and enhancements).
  • c) "Breaking in" a new developer (choosing a bug to work on, mining the code for rationales)
  • d) User activities (reading documentation, asking questions)

  •  4B2A
In an effort to prune the list down to the "first cut" activities, it was observed that some of the activities represented "formal language" processes, or "formal processes". Those activities included project management, coding, bug management, and testing. The rest of the processes were "natural language" processes, which means that the system which is effective for one is likely to be effective for all of them. 4B2B

[My inclination is to counsel a sharp focus on those activities, excluding the formal processes for the  moment. The only conceivable counter argument is that the design really needs to take them into account, in order to ensure future compatibility with those systems. For some reason, my "gut feeling" is not to worry about it -- but I want to leave the door open for alternative views. It helps if we can restrict our focus, but...] 4B2C

* Doug is going to work with Lee Iverson to put together a system he can use to demo Augment in the very near future. Whenever that is ready, it will be item #1 on the agenda.4B3

* It is apparent that a large number of projects are currently underway in the "distributed collaborative project" design space. It was felt that we should use one or more of them to replace the fragile email medium we are using, so that we can get a better idea of what needs to be done, and use  whatever the system gives us to help us do the design work. 4B4

[I sent out the list of candidates yesterday. Apologies if I overlooked anyone's past contributions. Send them to me and I'll start v.2 of the list.] 4B4A

* Doug mentioned that Sun had donated a server for Bootstrap use. Whatever system we select might be hosted on that  system. 4B5

* We identified several important agenda items, and prioritized them. [Upcoming email.] 4B6

Highlights of the Informal Meeting
(This was the unofficial meeting, held at the Applewood Gourmet Pizza palace, where they have salmon pizza and barbeque  chicken pizza, and all kinds of good stuff...) 4C

* For maybe the first time, I articulated clearly the reservations I have about the transcoding approach:

  • a) It *could* be a coding dead-end. That is, it might take us part of the way to where we want to go, but leave us with no good way to progress from there. I don't *know* that to be the case, but I'm concerned that it may be. 
  • b) The rather interesting tidbit of information that surfaced recently: That the folks who build the HTML-page-annotation system (Crit) found themselves using EMAIL to carry on discussions -- even though they tried to get each other to annotate HTML pages.

  •  4C1
[This led to the observation that there is something seductive about the email interface -- the immediacy, the way information comes to you, and asks only for a reply. That, in turn, led to the realization that email the right interface, but the wrong data structures. Add good data structures to the system, and the result should be interesting...] 4C1A

* A new member of the group, Debra England from McKinsey and Company (a group that focuses on defining and promoting organizational "best practices") kept asking: What is it that we are building? What are we about, anyway? I came up with one possible statement. Debra suggested that it would be a good assignment for the group to ask *everyone* to  write up a concise statement (a sentence or a paragraph). 4C2

[That "homework assignment" will be in my very next email.] 4C2A




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