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From: Joel de Guzman (joel_at_[hidden])
Date: 2006-10-21 20:07:52

> ----- Mensaje original -----
> De: Robert Ramey <ramey_at_[hidden]>
>> Giovanni Piero Deretta wrote:
>>>> Conduct student-mentor exclusively through public channels
>>> This would also be great. While our mentors have been very helpful,
>>> more comments on our problems would have been useful. I would
>> mandate> that all *technical* communications should be public.
>> I have to say I think this is not at all a good idea.
>> In development of a "speculative" idea, there are lots of failed
>> experiments. Doing this in public would only consume lots of time
>> and distract from job at hand.
>> I think a better approach would be for software developers
>> (us included) to keep a log of what we've been doing. This
>> would include a record of the failed approaches that had been
>> tried and discarded. This would eventually form the basis
>> of the "rationale" and be very handy when a project is submited
>> for review (formal or otherwise).
>> Personally, I think the idea of software development as a
>> collaborative activity is overrated. I see it as more personal.
>> Of course criticism (constructive and otherwise) is a public
>> activity. So I think those public dissicussions which speculate
>> on how libraries should be designed and what they should
>> include and not include are much less valuable than those
>> discussions which revolve around a specific example of the
>> implementation of an idea. The former is sort of more fun,
>> and the later can be more difficult and painful - but I think
>> its ultimately more productive.
> Hello Robert,
> In some sense I agree with you that nothing beats a dedicated
> mind with focus, time and lack of pressure to produce solid
> designs upon which others can later build up, discuss etc. But
> this scenario is different in that it's a student who's doing the
> work, and the whole thing is supposed to be mentored and
> validated by the organization. Some guidance is expected
> and indeed (IMHO) needed, so what the rule about pulic
> communication tries to fight against is the (possibly natural)
> tendency of students to try and do all the work on their own
> without giving the community the possibility to assess the
> progress and orientation of the project.

Hello Robert and Joaquín,

You both have valid points. In the project that I was involved with,
Hartmut Kaiser was very visible and was kept in the loop through all
the discussions, as did Daveed Vandevoorde (to a certain extent
relating to the proposal we were tracking). Hartmut suggested
leveraging some prior work that was unknown to me at the time.
Hartmut also provided lots of insights based on his experience with
the Wave preprocessor. This proved to be very helpful. We still
continue discussions with Lally until now, and it's a good thing!
The project continued even after SoC. I'm quite satisfied with the
results now.

Considering the high risk nature of our project, I think now that
anything tangible wouldn't have materialized without the participation
of Hartmut, given the short time frame.

Having said that, I also see Robert's point. There's also some point
beyond a certain number of "onlookers" where you get diminishing
returns, probably due to the fact that there will be potentially more
resistance from diverging opinions and there will be the danger of
"design by committee".


Joel de Guzman

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