Subject: Re: Control of collaborative development projects?
From: "L. Peter Deutsch" <ghost@aladdin.com>
Date: Thu, 11 Dec 97 20:16 PST

> Oh, sorry, no Peter.  I meant that someone who wished to "stone soup"
> a big project like a PageMaker clone might be able to manage it by
> splitting the project into little projects with APIs, and writing some
> stub code that fits the API.  I'll bet that the GIMP works that way.
> A lot of the GIMP are its effects filters, and file-format loaders.
> The code to glue them together probably isn't too awfully large.

I think that could be a great way to proceed, if the APIs are very, very
thoughtfully designed from the beginning so they won't change much or often
after people have started writing code that conforms to them.  (The only
thing that messes up a software project worse than API wobble is mid-course
requirements changes.)  And I believe having this turn out well requires the
APIs to be spec'ed by a very, very small group (with, of course, lots of
participative discussion by people who have ideas to constribute) before
they are turned loose on the world.

If I'd been aware of this model before I started writing Ghostscript, *and*
if I hadn't had the intention of making it a paying enterprise (important
point here -- I think widely collaborative development would make it
difficult for any one person or entity to assert copyright over a large
enough fraction of the result), I would have done it this way.  It probably
would have been done sooner, and perhaps better.

-- 

L. Peter Deutsch         |       Aladdin Enterprises :::: ghost@aladdin.com
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