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Re: Hurd/L4 as a class project

From: Matthew T. Brewer
Subject: Re: Hurd/L4 as a class project
Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2005 02:35:14 -0500 (EST)

This particular class' purpose is to get students to make significant
contributions to open source OS projects under licenses like the GPL, or
the BSD license. So we can certainly work on GPL'd code, and contribute it
back. Collaboration with the current developers of the project is
strong encouraged, so we really don't need exclusive access to some chunk
of the source code. It's our problem as students to explain what it is
we've actually done.

Any interesting project has unsolved problems and thus somewhat changeable
interfaces etc. It's no fun writing code someone else has written before.
My questions come more out of interest in efficiency, and avoiding work
duplication, just like any other developers working on this project.
We're not asking for hand holding, merely trying to avoid doing work
someone else is already doing, and avoid writing code that someone else
will have to rewrite later, because it wasn't what the l4-Hurd
development group as a whole wanted. Writing a bunch of code that will not
be accepted back into the source tree would be a purely academic venture,
which (ironically enough) is not the goal.

Really, the fact that we're doing this partially for a class is relevant
only to the fact that we want to try and lay down an EXPECTED time frame,
which of course, will no doubt be modified heavily as all good project
time frames are. Thank you for bringing up these issues though.

Any interesting project has unsolved problems and thus somewhat changeable
interfaces etc. But thanks much for the warning. If your curious about the
class were taking here's the URL. The website lists other projects people
are, or have worked on for said class. The class is still in the stage of
project proposal though, so some projects (like ours) have no info posted yet.

anyway, here's the URL:

- mbrewer and Ivan

On Mon, 7 Feb 2005, Marcus Brinkmann wrote:


generally, if I am not mistaken, class projects have some of
constraints that are somewhat incompatible with free software
development (ie, you need some part of the system which you did for
yourself without help from others, whereas free software development
is often cooperative and incremental), but that shouldn't hold you
back.  It's just that those are issues you will have to cope with some
way or the other.  There is more than enough to do, you'll find
something interesting and useful I am sure.

We appreciate all help, and all interest in general.  Our own
resources are quite limited, and our task is huge, so you can not
expect much hand-holding as far as your class project is concerned
(Mathieu will hopefully agree, though, that we are able and
happy to hold hands if we march in lock-step).

I am not sure if we can assign you something and then promise to stay
out of your way until your class project is done.  If that is a
requirement for your class project, then that could be a problem.  If
you think this might be an issue, it may be useful to talk to your
teacher about the nature of free software development and how
important sharing knowledge and cooperation is.  If it helps, me or
Neal might be able to write something about your contributions at the
end of the project, if that would allow more cooperation during the
project.  All this assumes that you are serious about writing code for
inclusion (something that we will probably only find out much later).

Another issue: If you want to write code for inclusion, we need
copyright assignments to the FSF.  This might require a disclaimer
from your school.

You should also realize that this project is under rapid development
and many things, even quite fundamental design decisions, can change
from one day to another.  Depending on what you choose to work on, it
can get a bit rocky.

Sorry if my understanding of the code is still a little flaky, but I'd
like to feel out the project development process as soon as possible.

We are here, being feeled :)

Welcome to the Hurd, and happy hacking!


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