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SourceForge update and highlights of, the Software Carpentry Project and Udell article

Today's SourceForge newsletter announced some interesting project collaboration updates to this free Open Source project hosting service.

We'll troll this note for a 'sidebar' update to our sXc#24 project's M3 deliverable, the 'Comparables Analysis'.

Of particular interest is the SourceForge roll-out of a 'peer trust rating' system. This is a 'foundation metric' for project collaboration technology developers. Done superficially, it can too often be a glorified 'popularity contest' and of limited team self-management value. I'll have to take a closer look at the SourceForge peer review rating system, but they did cite a 'heavyweight' inspiration.

We're an community member. Trust us, it's a cool place for Open Source Developers.

Raph Levien's Advogato sandbox/community is a brilliant contribution to the Open Source community, in particular, with broad implications for generalizations to 'small is good' self-organizing, self-managing projects and businesses. Levien's graph theoretic algorithms are cogently describes his 'trust networks' metrics in this article.

More quality stuff to be considered as the sXc#24 team writes the Collaboration section of their spec.

Advogato is genuinely MORE than a sandbox for shaking down Levien's trust metrics. The Advogato site itself is leveraging this metric into a lean and clean "Slashdot"-like site that is fun, lively and 'continuing educational'. The diary feature is very interesting as it 'humanizes' this innovative rating-community. The threaded articles are relevant to our project, too.

I encourage all members of this list to visit and sign up for a free account. While you 'stand up to be counted', look around a bit. And if you want to exercise your member-privilege of rating your peer developers, my Advogato 'handle' is 'sohodojo'.

Advogato rocks! Five-stars. No wonder Raph's community rates him a Master!

Along related lines... The Software Carpentry project is broadly chartered and appropriately-funded to create a new generation of easy-to-use software engineering tools, and to document both those tools and the working practices they are meant to support. Basic tools AND the 'working practices' these tools are designed to support. Right on, Carpenters!

The Advanced Computing Laboratory at Los Alamos National Laboratory is providing $860,000 of funding for Software Carpentry, which is being administered by Code Sourcery, LLC. All of the project's designs, tools, test suites, and documentation will be generally available under the terms of an Open Source license.

The aim of the Software Carpentry is to make it easier for programmers of all kinds to adopt better working practices. The project will do this by funding and steering the creation of a modern set of basic software engineering tools, along with documentation to show how and why such tools ought to be used.

While the project's target audience is computational scientists and engineers, the Project leaders believe that anything that makes life easier for them will also make life easier for computer science students, startups, Open Source developers, and everyone else. The project's name was chosen to indicate that its initial focus is those small-scale engineering issues that are relevant to small teams (up to a dozen programmers) working on short projects (a few months to a year).

To give you an idea of the 'world class' nature of the activity going on there, check out this outstanding on-line article, Internet Groupware for Scientific Collaboration which is legendary Byte writer/developer Jon Udell's thoughtful and provocative summary/extension of his ideas pulled together in book form as "Practical Internet Groupware" from O'Reilly. (The book is highly recommended.)

This article, while addressing the niche domain of scientific collaboration, is a goldmine of 'user specs and domain insight' to mine into our SRS with regard to Internet-based team collaboration. Highly recommended free on-line reading by a problem domain authority.

Follow through with a stop by Udell's discussion forum at QuickTopic where Jon is carrying on a lively discussion about Internet-based collaboration technologies with a special interest in available free services.

Comments, experience reports and related pointers welcome as posts to this list.

Best Regards,
Co-Host, Sohodojo - The Entrepreneurial Free Agent and
Dejobbed Small Business R&D Lab

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