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

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[7]: Cool, I guess...
by Kaj-de-Vos on Wed 9th Jun 2010 23:25 in reply to "RE[6]: Cool, I guess..."
Kaj-de-Vos Member since:
2010-06-09

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.

Yes. There are two considerations for us here. One is that we've already been babbling every day for more than half a decade in our groupware system. That's among the contributors, people who make an effort for us. Other people have always bluntly refused to take part in this. I know it's a darknet, and there's a big difference between the internal and external views of the project, but we're not going to compromise the efficiency of our internal work communication for people who only want to lurk and refuse to make an effort.

The other consideration follows from this. It's much less efficient for us to publish to public places such as the web, so we need to optimise that to make it acceptable. For this, I develop my CMS as a strategic solution. Such a thing takes time, so it's another part of our development plan. Our web sites have been running on it for a few years now. It supports translated web sites and the translators can post their own articles, but it's not comfortable enough yet that they use that opportunity a lot. A year ago we added comprehensive RSS feeds, so together with all the SourceForge and Ohloh output the lurkers are already catered to quite well. We will continue to extend this. We're working on making the content of our groupware system available on the web (the web sites themselves are managed in it, but there's also chat, a calendar and check lists). This will be running on Syllable Server, so everything will come together there.

"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 ? ;)
"
Yes and no. We don't do Subversion. We are still on CVS because there are many considerations for us in choosing an alternative. However, what I'm talking about is simply in our CVS just like Syllable Desktop and Syllable Server.

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.

Our fundamental approach to this is REBOL.

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 !

Thanks!

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[8]: Cool, I guess...
by Neolander on Thu 10th Jun 2010 08:16 in reply to "RE[7]: Cool, I guess..."
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Yes. There are two considerations for us here. One is that we've already been babbling every day for more than half a decade in our groupware system. That's among the contributors, people who make an effort for us. Other people have always bluntly refused to take part in this. I know it's a darknet, and there's a big difference between the internal and external views of the project, but we're not going to compromise the efficiency of our internal work communication for people who only want to lurk and refuse to make an effort.

The other consideration follows from this. It's much less efficient for us to publish to public places such as the web, so we need to optimise that to make it acceptable. For this, I develop my CMS as a strategic solution. Such a thing takes time, so it's another part of our development plan. Our web sites have been running on it for a few years now. It supports translated web sites and the translators can post their own articles, but it's not comfortable enough yet that they use that opportunity a lot. A year ago we added comprehensive RSS feeds, so together with all the SourceForge and Ohloh output the lurkers are already catered to quite well. We will continue to extend this. We're working on making the content of our groupware system available on the web (the web sites themselves are managed in it, but there's also chat, a calendar and check lists). This will be running on Syllable Server, so everything will come together there.

Well, that's a choice, but I think that you're being a bit harsh about the "lurkers" curious guys who just want to learn what the project is about and how it's doing without wanting further implication at the moment. They happen to be pretty handy when your software needs testing, and, what's even more important, they form the vast majority of your future customers so they should be handled with care ;)

A little post from times to times, written in a way that's comprehensible even for non-participants, maybe together with a screenshot which shows how great you're doing, does not cost much time and can be very well-perceived... Look at Gimp's or KDE's design blogs for examples...

Our fundamental approach to this is REBOL.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/REBOL
+ search results in the same vein, no matter which additional keywords are being used
= Fatal error. CRC checksum failed...

Edited 2010-06-10 08:23 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[7]: Cool, I guess...
by cipri on Thu 10th Jun 2010 10:09 in reply to "RE[6]: Cool, I guess..."
cipri Member since:
2007-02-15

"Keep up the good work ! "

I can not stop laughing about that :-))

If they really keep up that kind of good work, the next syllable desktop release will be..... I don't know... very far away :-).

You should inform youself, and take a look at the changelog since the last release (which is more than a year ago). Take a look at the bus that were fixed in the last year.

In a lot of cases, if there is someone, who finally decides to write a bug-report, the answer is more or less "formally", somethink like: "if is not on our high-priority list, so it will not be fixed in the near future", or another answer is "thank you, for the report".
Quite visible bugs, like the bug of ListView and TreeView, that were reported about 5 years ago, have not been solved even today.

Basic, and necessar, and easy to implement features, like saving the value of the sound volume, so that the volume-settings are not resetet after a restart, have not been implemented in the last 4 years.

I don't want to give a lot of details, but since I spent a lot of time with the syllable api, I know very clearly how many bugs (and of course even unreported) are in the syllable api, and how many basic features a missing.
A little example, you want to create a window, with a green button (not the standard gray one), how do you proceed? Let's see if Kaj will provide the source code to that little problem.
Yes you can change the background color of that gray button, there exists a global Variable which you can change with your c++-programm, and then you have the nice result, that all buttons on the syllable system change from gray into green. Yes this is great, I'm asking myself who was that c++-genius who introduced such a global variable ;) .

Edited 2010-06-10 10:14 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1