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From robert burrell donkin <>
Subject Re: [math][all] Mentoring for Google's Summer of Code program
Date Fri, 03 Jun 2005 10:19:20 GMT
On Thu, 2005-06-02 at 22:58 -0700, Al Chou wrote:
> Questions of scope of Commons-Math aside <gasp>, what is the scope of the
> summer project?  The scope of Ryan's proposal seems mighty ambitious, even if
> you remove the parts that aren't currently in scope for Commons-Math.  

i think that it would be useful to separate the question of scope from
the question of mentoring and community. 

i definitely agree that the commons-math group is the right one for
mentoring this code. i also agree (with simon) that jakarta commons is
the best community for growing this code (whilst math remains here, of
in terms of scope, IMHO there are two separate questions: is the
proposed codebase in scope for the jakarta-commons and is it in scope
for the commons-math component. opinions on these questions welcomed :)

if the codebase is not in scope for jakarta-commons then i'd be willing
to sponsor this as an incubator project (when it is ready). it could be
developed in the sandbox until then.

if the codebase is in scope for jakarta-commons but not in scope for
commons-math then one solution would be to factor the out-of-scope code
into a separate component with it's own scope.

so, i see no reason why the project couldn't be pushed forward whilst
the questions of scope are argued about.

> If you
> intend to stay true to Apache's charter, the code will have to be developed
> firsthand, not copied from any other source, unless the license of the source
> is compatible or the author(s) are amenable to adding an Apache-compatible
> alternative license to their code or changing over to an Apache-compatible
> license.  Coding that much from scratch and providing JUnit tests will be a
> heck of a lot of work (maybe a little onerous if you do TDD).  And forgive my
> skepticism, but code developed for coursework is unlikely to be as bulletproof
> as the proposal aims for.

it does sound ambitious (but there's nothing wrong with that)

IMHO one of the first jobs of the mentors will need to do will be to
study the proposal and create a realistic core tasks together with a
more ambitious list of additional tasks. (this should ensure that ryan
is not unfairly financially penalised for his ambition.) it's hard to
estimate a priori what the quality and quantity of any code produced by
ryan will be but i agree that the code will need to satisfy the current
standards especially in the area of development best practice. the
mentors will need to work with ryan to ensure that he knows what's
expected particular when it comes to using code developed by others.

> Also, specifically what parts of the proposal are not already addressed by
> existing libraries such as Colt?  I thought we were over the licensing hurdle
> for Colt, so anything it already does probably should not be duplicated by code
> newly written for the proposed project.
> All the above said, I'm not trying to be discouraging, and in fact I would be
> willing to participate in mentoring (I'll probably learn something new
> myself!).  I just want reasonable expectations and goals to be set.  And
> perhaps we can all ride the wave of youthful exuberance to grow a library that
> looks like the beginning of an "Apache-Math-Java".



- robert

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