Linked by Kaj de Vos on Tue 8th Jun 2010 22:07 UTC
Syllable, AtheOS

The Syllable project is pleased to announce that the reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated, and that the new version 0.4 of Syllable Server has been released. This release focuses on maturing existing functionality, improving security, ongoing system restructuring, and making the system a suitable base for third-party package managers. Although the project admits it hasn't brought its unicorn factory online yet, extensive work was done on the nitty-gritty, so the full change log is quite long.

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RE[6]: Cool, I guess...
by Neolander on Wed 9th Jun 2010 20:01 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Cool, I guess..."
Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

The keyword here is "seems", and an amount of exaggeration. People have very fixed obsessions (I don't mean to single you out). People surf the web all the time, so they tend to take website news items as the measure of all things, but really, this is very superficial. There are many channels through which things happen in a software project, and we make them publicly available, but few people bother to consult them. That would be fine, but people still tend to form opinions that are much stronger than warranted based on the limited information they are willing to consider. And then once they have formed an opinion, they tend to magnify it and discard opposing new information. Our news item from before Server 0.4 was halfway January, and it's now early June, so there were four and a half months between them, not six.

(...)

This happens when you measure a software development project by its news releases. The news slowdown you talk about was exactly caused by the frantic work to produce Server 0.4. Surely one can complain that we should publish more than we already do, but we're a software development project, not a news production project. We have to set the right priorities with the extremely limited resources we have.

I tend to understand you on this issue, but maybe it's because I'm in OS development too ^^

There are times where one designs things, and there are times where one codes the things he/she designed. The design decisions can be described and explained in blog posts without issues, but how can you, seriously, imagine writing weekly news when you're coding ?

"Today, I fixed bugs #124564, #245535, and #256644. Thank for your attention"
"I wrote a code which loads a GDT in GDTR. I have been busy at work, so I couldn't do more."

Coding is a boring activity. That's one of the reasons why only few people bother to learn how to do it. While you can write long and detailed posts full of excitement about design, and get in interesting discussions in the comments, code is... well... just code. Until it's complete, there's nothing much to say about it.

Yet, we spend a large amount of our time on communication, and the larger slowdown in both Syllable Desktop and Server releases was caused by a necessary shift of focus to our communication and management systems, in particular the development of my CMS. When you have those extremely limited resources that we do, a strategic hopping between goals means that you can't develop all goals equally at all times. But as I said, people seem to be obsessed, so they refuse to see our strategy when they feel that their pet item they chose from it gets neglected.

Again, I perfectly understand. People like to get attention, but when you're a small team, you have to make a choice before talking and actually working on stuff. It's a complicated trade-off. Writing random posts about personal ramblings to let people know that you're still alive may help, it's a strategy which I've often seen applied and try to apply myself.

The current release is the next step in our strategic plan. I can tell you that it has allowed us to ditch all other Linux distros from our systems in the past few months, including our desktops, laptops and servers. The result is not yet suitable for publication, so we use it internally, but it is a major step towards eating our own dog food.

Well, could you give, say, some SVN access ? ;)

Just joking. I personally think that long-term evolution of desktop OSs requires completely getting rid of the UNIX legacy and making something which is really optimized for the job from the ground up. But that's a somewhat extreme approach that won't give serious results until many years. If it does give results.

In meantime, I might get tempted by switching from Linux to another development platform like Haiku or Syllabe, if they provide the right tools and that innovative bit which makes the system funnier and a pleasure to work with ;)

Keep up the good work !

Edited 2010-06-09 20:07 UTC

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