Ensemble community venues

Clint Byrum clint at ubuntu.com
Mon Apr 11 19:33:56 UTC 2011

Excerpts from Kapil Thangavelu's message of Mon Apr 11 10:05:43 -0700 2011:
> Excerpts from Clint Byrum's message of Fri Apr 08 15:42:07 -0400 2011:
> > Ahmed, everything below sounds great... once there is an actual release.
> > 
> > Ensemble team.. I know you've set goals for Budapest. How about one of them
> > being to release a version where we don't expect the fundamental formula
> > format to change. I'm already feeling the despair of having to rewrite all
> > of Principia to work with the new hook semantics. We can't ask people
> > to start writing formulas if thats going to happen again.
> > 
> > Until there's a release, its just a research project.
> I don't think we're ready to commit to a frozen formula spec yet. We'll need
> to let things evolve to meet the needs of the community. That said we'll
> definitely weigh compatibility concerns with any incompatible changes. If it
> comes to it we can introduce formula spec versioning. 
> On a related note, I think the ensemble team is going to need accept broader 
> responsbility for maintaining principia through any formula/hook changes. Its 
> effectively our only demo of functionality so making sure that's in good shape 
> is key for new users.

You guys may have heard this one before,

    "Release early, release often"

Seeing as Ensemble's community is almost non-existant at the
moment, its fair to say that the formula spec can change in
non-backward-compatible-ways,  and it won't affect many people.

But until it stops changing radically, we'll have no community, so it
feels like a chicken and egg problem.

I don't feel comfortable demo'ing principia anymore, as it does not work
with ensemble trunk, which has a lot of important things in it.

The whole ensemble dev team is already granted commit access to principia
and should definitely take an active role in pushing new features and
concepts into key formulas.

However, be careful in the level of responsibility. Being too involved
in principia might mean that you delay the community involvement
we're looking for. Yes, you guys are going to be the best formula
writers. However, Neo probably wouldn't be the best kung fu teacher in
the Matrix, because he can see how it works and just go in and change
whatever he wants. Likewise, you guys have way too much influence over
the inner workings of ensemble to be universally effective at building
the project in a way that will be accessible for contributors.

We have the same problem with Ubuntu. Since we're devs, we always run
the latest dev release of Ubuntu. Problems are fixed instantly. But
users have to deal with the release cycle and SRU policies, and because
of that, often times they have a much greater insight into how to *use*
Ubuntu than we do.

Think about the story I will be telling at the MySQL UC this week when
I talk about ensemble casually.

"Well you can try this sort of kind of release I made, v0.0.2, but
anything you do with it won't work with any future releases, and I can't
even tell you that what you make work today will work in the future."

I understand it was a pre-release and I knew things would change. But
I don't have any way to know when they will *stop* changing, and so,
I have no incentive right now to pick the work back up and update it to
be current, or to even write new formulas (I have some really cool ideas
for some formulas, but I'm not going to write them until they have some
kind of known shelf-life).

I'm virtually on my knees here begging. Please lets set a date where
we will stop changing the formula spec in backward incompatible ways,
even if that means it is not perfect. This is our "warty warthog"
release. ;) Then we should set another date in the future where users
will need to read the release notes and update their formulas again.
I suggest.. April for the first one.. and.. October for the other. ;)

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