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From Marvin Humphrey <>
Subject [KinoSearch] Release strategies (was "fields and swish3")
Date Wed, 13 Jan 2010 21:56:33 GMT
cc to lucy-dev...

On Tue, Jan 12, 2010 at 07:50:46PM -0600, Peter Karman wrote:
> one-to-one field names is cool as long as FullText is sortable.

OK, glad that'll work.

> Of course, my next question is predictable: when will 0.30 be fully cooked? 

The goal has been to get the KS dev branch file format and API stable before
displacing the stable branch.  However, there are still difficult file format
problems to solve, particularly with regards to term dictionaries and posting
lists -- such as support for multi-stream posting formats and indexing of
non-text field types.

I haven't really been working on those problems too much lately.  After
reaching our goals for index opening speed and integration of memory mapped
sort caches last year, I could have gone back to that -- but instead, I've
gone to work on Lucy.  Lucy isn't that far off at this point: N months.  

There are some people who are using stable branch KS and who would be
disrupted if we simply clobber the stable branch by releasing the dev branch
on top of it, e.g. the MojoMojo folks
(<>).  I'm reluctant to do that, since
we haven't reached our goals for file format and API stability.  Yeah, they
were warned by the "alpha" label, but KS has also been promising a level of
stability which we have yet to deliver.  A one-time painful switch might have
been OK, but forcing them back into an ongoing dev cycle isn't.

To avoid disrupting such users, we could take one of two paths:

  * Fork the current stable release under "KinoSearch0" and expect existing
    users to switch.
  * Move the dev branch (svn trunk) under "KinoSearch2" and release it as an
    alpha.  (I lean towards this option because it sets a precedent for how I
    think we'll need to handle versioning in Lucy.)

If we'd managed to launch Lucy by now, this question would be academic,
because Lucy would have become the successor to the KS dev branch.  And I've
kind of been working on Lucy with that in mind.

Lucy remains my main goal.  From a marketing perspective, I'm not sure that
it's ideal to launch "KinoSearch2" as an alpha, then deprecate it in favor of
Lucy a few months later.  And once Lucy is launched in earnest and people
outside our small circle start contributing, KS will have to be deprecated
because licensing issues will eventually prevent us from backporting some
important chunk of Lucy code to KS.

So that's why I've been kind of keeping my head down and working feverishly on
Lucy.  I figured we'd get Lucy out as an alpha, grow its user base by
releasing Ruby and Python bindings, then harness the excitement from that to
work on the difficult problems that have held back KS.  Designing a pluggable
indexing framework is hard; it's almost impossible without a large user base,
since only a small subset of users will be in a situation where they can test
drive the pluggability features and help us refine the API.

> And, how can I help?

You and Nate have been very helpful with regards to code and API review.  If
we go down the current path towards Lucy, I'd ask you to continue exploring
new areas and providing feedback about how it went.

If we decide to make a formal CPAN release of dev branch somehow, there will
be some mechanical work to do.  If you wanted to do that, you could -- but I'm
under the impression that you don't have that much time (compared with the 60
or so hours I've been putting in each week) and I don't want to squander a
limited resource.

If I could go back in time, I would have released the KS 0.20 branch under the
namespace "KinoSearch2" and the 0.30 branch under "KinoSearch3".  Maybe that
points the way forward.  Whatever we do, though, I'm determined not to let
progress towards Lucy flag again.

Marvin Humphrey

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