Saturday, February 12, 2005

On Open Source

Despite the fact, that I build commercial SW for several years (in my job), I really like OS. I identified many differences between these two worlds since now I have experiences from both of them. And IMHO this is not about whether you have to/don't have pay for your SW...

  • Release early, release often!
    Basic OS principle that obviously doesn't fit the world of the commercial SW. And it's clear why - while commercial product must be trustworthy, stable and polished; OS is motivated by improvements and progress. It implies that the lenght of the release cycle reasonably differs.

    Open source developers deliver features early (even in poor quality) in order to test them on the users and to get feedback. This approach allows them to make it properly next time in the worst case. Also OS teams are loosely-coupled, there are no hobbling processes, no politics and formal analytical/doc requirements - only concise communication used for coordination. It enables OS community to be flexible and to create SW on proof of concept basis.

  • Reuse here, reuse there,reuse everywhere...
    In the world of commercial SW you have two options - either build everything on your own or to make some partnership/OEM/agreement/etc. Always you have to be very careful. You may become hostage of components you have incorporated into your product - these can be buggy, you may discover serious performance issues too late, you may get unsufficient support/doc, etc. and since it's closed source world, you are unable to fix it - you always loose.

    OS community enables you to build your SW quickly and let you focus on what you want to achive. There are so many possibilities for reuse - you always find what you need. An only obligation you have, is to allow others to do that with your product as well. And that's the synergy that leads to the rapid evolution of the software...

Well, I know that there is a lot of serious analyses on this topic, and these observations doesn't apply to SW gigants. In this post I just wanted to describe my fresh OS experience. Since I would like to make MR to fit this world, I aspire to understand it :-D


Summoning Vodyanoi

I promised a high-level roadmap of future releases - here it is...

As I stated many times ago, my primary goal is to drive MR prototype forward with strong focus on my vision - which is in fact distributed layer on top of MR codenamed Vodyanoi. So here are the - goals/objectives of the major releases:

  1. Interoperability
    The first goal is to provide resource representation that will enable users to freely transfer they thoughts to/from MindRaider in some interoperable form. Unfortunately it is very complicated to choose proper outline representation...

    OPML is designed to prevent interoperability (possibly intentionally). Simply it allows you to do anything you want using very unusual pattern. In addition it's license can be a trap.

    OML seems to be promising and I like it, but there is almost no progress for a long time.

    PML is in its early draft stage.

    HEML is supplementary standards to be used for timelines visualization.

    The last release includes experimental OPML and TWiki shorthand export. But this is just a beginning :-) in the future I plan to provide import/export for each of the specs listed above (order matters).

  2. Data Model Finalization
    Although MR data model is designed, it is not implemented at all - (low-level technical issues).

    There is still missing RDF model for Folders which will enable creation of recursive thematical domains, Attachments are not represented in resources and categorization is not used at all (in spite of the fact that ontologies are already prepared).

    In order to minimize changes of the data model (backward compatibility), I would like to solve all this stuff before Vodyanoi will be released for the first time.

  3. Vodyanoi Foundation
    After the interoperability and model stabilization milestones will be reached, I plan to deliver the Vodyanoi prototype. Again, analysis is already finished - I will just need some spare time to implement it ;-)

    Vodyanoi will allow you to surf your Folders/Notebooks/Concepts using browser. XHTML representation of these resources will follow state of the art RDF/XHTML symbiosis following the SW ideas. You will be allowed to subscribe for Notebooks of you friends and to annotate their Concepts with your thoughts. Thus the Vodyanoi empire will be spawn...


Sunday, February 06, 2005

OPML/TWiki Export Released

Brand new MR release brings export of Notebooks to TWiki shorthand
and OPML. Also it fixes bugs related to Graph navigator and streams.

Enjoy ;-)