[Namaste-dev] Re: Weekly Plan June 2 - June 6

Frank Brickle brickle at pobox.com
Tue Jun 3 08:05:40 PDT 2008

On Tue, Jun 3, 2008 at 12:52 AM, Paul Williamson <kb5mu at amsat.org> wrote:

Fair enough, and your clear statement is very much on point. It makes
explicit a number of important principles which, as Bruce says, are wholly
embedded in the Open philosophy, but which most of the time are left
unarticulated. Making them explicit is, from every point of view, a
thoroughly good thing.

It does leave me with one lingering concern, however.

> Put another way, the OSD has too modest a definition of "source code". For
> our purposes it includes not just the preferred form [of the final
> implementation] for modification of the product [at the implementation
> level]. It includes the thought processes leading up to the creation of that
> form. Without access to those thought processes (via design documents) a
> would-be designer or reviewer cannot really join the project and participate
> fully. And we want them to.

Just to be clear, I don't think you're advocating the such an idea at all,
but it's possible to interpret the intention stated here as mandating one
particular design and development process. For some of us, progressive
sketches of program code effectively *are* the design documents. This is
often the case with thoroughly innovative projects -- you can read that as
"crazy ideas" -- being worked on by small teams, where the developers and
the designers are probably the same individuals. To a large degree this is
how Linux came about. It's aptly described by Linus as evolution and not
intelligent design.

A number of us involved in Eagle and Namaste have long and sordid histories
at that sort of thing. The ones that come immediately to mind are GnuRadio
and the USRPs, PowerSDR, and DttSP, thinking only of the SDR side. I believe
what's served us well is a fundamental commitment to the "publish early,
publish often" rule. (Other users and developers have shown remarkable
forbearance when confronted with early and frequent pieces of my code that
don't actually work and need to be scrapped hastily.)

As I said, I don't believe for a second what you're advocating is anything
other than an agreement on all sides to let everybody know and see what
we're up to in a timely and convenient way. In this regard I think you're
merely entirely correct and on the mark. I do think, though, that to some
observers, the absence of a detailed, uniform development methodology would
be a defect in the project, and your statement could be construed as an
attempt to address that defect, rather than the declaration of a larger
principle to which none of us would take exception.

73 and thanks

The only thing we have to fear is whatever comes along next. -- Austin Cline
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