TATTVUM - 2002 Q3 Reports and Plans
Focus on Development methodologies and Linux Analysis
S V Ramu (2002-07-06)
We are now in the third quarter after launching, alive and kicking. Achievements? Well, we have survived this long with the enthusiasm intact! What more can we ask for. 20 weeks and as many launchings after, many things have been learnt, many compromises were made, and few new directions adopted. Slowly we are realizing our interests and strengths in the traditional software business instead of any type of revenue-based reliance on internet. Internet is and will be the main stay for being in touch. Though the hit rate would definitely be an indicator of our growth as a group, it cannot be our focus. We believe in strengthening the root skills of ours for increasing the participation, rather than canvassing the busy public with propaganda. By the way, on the plus side, we can be sure that our Q2 goals of stabilizing our site with articles and other archives, is achieved. More than this, few vital pieces of software development models are clearer now, and it shows up in our articles. With value and value only can we be known. Strength and progress has its own aroma, and will draw the connoisseurs together. So this quarter, as the previous quarters, we will focus on strengthening our core strengths. Internet is our visiting card, our meeting point and of course a useful display board. No more, no less.
A pilot development project
This quarter would be our last chance to test our adaptiveness and our software development acumen, in real time. By the tone of the 2002 Timeline article, we should have completed this sample development project by now. Anyway, by the spirit and practicality, this Q3 should be a reasonable deadline. While being tolerant on our own momentary incapacities, we should also be stern on our own important goals and ideals. We will be. Reasonably completing a real time, almost useful product, with distributed development would be a fitting deadline, before we launch forth into the commercial world. Following would be some of the goals we must keep in mind.
We must work on a concrete product, which has at least mild use to the commercial world. It may not be our main stay at all, but will be useful to at least a specific group, in certain times at least. The point is, instead of working on a complete but dummy project, we should work on an incomplete but expandable realistic project. (I hope I've confused you enough! Well, if we can at least clarify these types of statements by this Q3's end, that should be an achievement by itself).
At least 25% of the development effort should be through distributed collaboration. I think we can and must go beyond this modest percentage, but this should be ok, while not being too dreamy. By distributed collaboration, I mean working with emails, modular code and effective documentation.
We must work out a minimal document structure for communication and code and design documentation. I'm very skeptical about over reliance on documents, but at the same time feel, that recording our proceedings effectively could help us in avoiding ambiguity or disputes due to communication, and secondly in becoming a repository of future tips in trouble shooting and learning. If we can arrive at some sure pointers in balancing these two forces, that would be great. Too much documentation, could derail us from the main focus of product development, and could result in deviant and wasted efforts.
Finally, we need to arrive at a model to synchronize the requirements, modularity and testing of the project in one seamless whole. These three things are inseparable in many ways (maybe the documentation even). So, instead of developing some allopathic-style symptomatic strategies for development, we must find the invariants, and work towards an Ayurvedic-style holistic approach, minus the complexity and non-transparency. Our development style should be self-regulating, and ridiculously simple, but exactly to the point.
An in-depth analysis on Linux
Linux is becoming a more and more important platform. My initial study is exposing me to a whole new world of elegance and simplicity in an OS. Certainly, in both academic and commercial sense it would pay us in the long run to study and master this wonderful free platform. In this quarter there should be good deal of comparative and in-depth articles on Linux model and its usages. It would be vital, that before this quarter's end, we must be as conversant with it as we are with the Wintel. One part of that study would be to explore the Linux equivalents of the essential software like office, editors etc. But software is not all; an effective usage scenario is essential and should be elaborated.
I'm fully aware of the heavy hand waving that went by in the previous sections of this article. I think, this is unavoidable, and often the effective way to expound a dream or a plan. These plans are more a pressure than a leisurely nice-to-have skills. The more we realize the importance of these goals in our bones (so to say), more complete they will be. I'm also aware of the profuse eliding of certain weaknesses and realities; but again, beyond a point, self-torture is no good, and within limits self patting is useful. With that hope, we'll start this quarter afresh.