Re: [unrev-II] DKR for Open Source: Viability

From: John J. Deneen (
Date: Tue Feb 08 2000 - 16:22:36 PST

From: "John J. Deneen" <>

Background on implementation of OHS-based technology for "High-performance
Virtual Teams" and Robert Buckman's (Knowledge Mgmt. pioneer) affiliation with
the Applied Knowledge Group (AKG).

WebFlow's "SamePage/WebProject" technology
( is a derivative of
Netsystem/NetForum ( and Virtual
Diplomacy ( which is an integrated
system of World Wide Web (WWW) based collaborative "groupware" tools that
enable the secure "virtual" electronic interaction of teams of professionals.

... "WebFlow is on target for phase two of corporate Intranets, where
server-based applications accessed by universal clients drive new frontiers in
inter-department collaboration," said Dr. Eric Schmidt, Chief Technology
Officer and Corporate Executive Officer at Sun Microsystems. "I am impressed by
the design decisions that WebFlow has made in SamePage and am enthusiastic
about the natural synergies between their work and ours to create ever more
powerful applications for the evolving extended enterprise."....

Barbara Davis, formerly managing director of the IT & Computer Security Center
at LLNL, lead David Gutierrez, Kris Chubb, Pamela Harris in developing this
OHS-based technology coded in Perl. In 1997, the Institute of Peace's 'Virtual
Diplomacy' conference explored the impact of the global information revolution
on nations, institutions, and communities

More info about the University of California Institute on Global Conflict and
Cooperation to use the Internet for electronic conferencing, part of a proposed
"virtual diplomacy" initiative for dealing with Environmental
Threats & National Security can be found at:

Also, as a bases for co-founding and starting up the Applied Knowledge Group
(AKG) ( she was granted a licensed by LLNL in 1997.

"Knowledge sharing drives business today. Many companies like Buckman
Laboratories have embraced this paradigm. Buckman Laboratories is a specialty
chemical company serving the pulp and paper, water treatment, leather,
coatings, agricultural, and wood treatment industries worldwide. K'Netix®, The
Buckman Knowledge Network, brings Buckman associates in over 80 countries
together to share knowledge in solving customer problems through creative
chemical treatment technologies and technical service. Buckman Laboratories is
the recipient of the 1997 Computerworld Smithsonian Award, and Robert H.
Buckman has been named a Distinguished Delphi Fellow by the Delphi Group.

Robert H. Buckman joined AKG in April 1998. He remains fully engaged as
President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Buckman Laboratories, based
in Memphis, Tennessee. Under Mr. Buckman's leadership, Buckman Laboratories has
been widely acclaimed for its success in creating a knowledge sharing culture
throughout the company, measurably improving its profits and ability to compete
in the specialty chemical marketplace. Buckman Laboratories researches,
develops, manufactures, and markets chemical products for industrial use.

Mr. Buckman's affiliation with AKG enables us to offer our clients his rich,
pioneering experience in knowledge sharing. Mr. Buckman has encouraged a
culture within Buckman Laboratories that facilitates the communication of
whatever information is needed throughout all levels of the company, so that
the entire company works together to help everyone to be the best they can be.
As a result, the company and its customers are able to take immediate advantage
of new ideas and business opportunities.

In 1996, Buckman Laboratories received the Arthur Anderson LLP Enterprise Award
for Best Practices: Knowledge Sharing in the Organization. The company received
a 1997 Computerworld Smithsonian Award for its visionary use of information in

Contact Bob at
Or call 888-442-2785

Eric Armstrong wrote:

> From: Eric Armstrong <>
> John \"sb\" Werneken wrote:
> >
> > Eric, my thanks for all the work you put in to your presentation!
> >
> Thanks. Great to hear from you.
> > I am NOT a computer person (except in the sense that a fairly good
> > driver might be a "car person", lol). But I have done DOS keystroke
> > macros that went on to several thousand lines, so I have some idea
> > of what you are talking about when you discuss linking design
> > decisions comments and so forth in to the code in an acceptable way.
> >
> I disagree. You ARE a computer person.
> Quite a good one at that.
> The impetus to automate difficult tasks, and the tenacity to learn
> a language necessary to do it, are all it takes. Plus the persistence
> to get the d**** things working. You obviously have *all* the
> required characteristics.
> :_)
> > And the Doug had to say what he seems destined to say about
> > EVERYTHING: "I was doing it in the 1960's".
> >
> Yeah. You gotta love him or hate him.
> If you're not inclined towards jealousy, there's only one option.
> :_)
> > Maybe he was. Maybe he's an RMS who never found his ESR.
> >
> Now you got me. What's an RMS? What's an ESR?
> > By analogy, to Microsoft and to Apache: Microsoft made it possible for
> > people like me to learn how to do mundane tasks with a computer. A
> > 'faster-better-cheaper' by order(s) of magnitude, as far as how much
> > training I needed before I could figure out how to get some kinds of
> > things done. All of a sudden, Microsoft is everywhere; I think that is
> > why.
> >
> Good observation. I think there attention to user interface issues is
> responsible for their wide public acceptance, too. They were the first,
> and still possibly the *only* software company to fully understand the
> importance of the user interface. To otherwise is to disregard the
> importance of *my* time, but Microsoft appeared (appears?) to be the
> only company that "gets it". They invested millions in an interface
> department, and gave them veto power over product shipment. The result
> was a set of consistent interfaces previously unknown in the industry.
> Since then, I've found they have a seriously impaired sense of ethics,
> so I cannot in good conscience be an MS supporter, but up until then
> I was an MS-rooter all the way.
> > Then Apache and Eric S Raymond et al evangelizing open source. Apache
> > makes it possible for the majority of world web sites to have a server
> > that is beyond doubt cheaper and is apparently at least as stable and
> > capable, maybe more so. Now Apache is everywhere. "faster-better-cheaper'
> > by order(s) of magnitude.
> >
> Definitely a strong proposition. However, their revenue-proposition
> lacks a little. I think there must be a way to combine "open source"
> with a "profit proposition", but I'm not sure what it is just yet.
> > Somehow using links to comment code does not strike me the same way.
> > I don't see a ten or more fold expansion in the number of people able
> > to do significant programming. Or a ten-fold increase in programmer
> > production.
> >
> Another very good observation. I agree with this, to a point, but there
> are some other aspects...
> > So is the first "breakout" use really this?
> >
> > I WOULD agree that if programmer productivity COULD be increased
> > ten-fold, that that WOULD be a real breakthrough killer use of the
> > concept. I just don't see this, doing that. Perhaps because as I
> > said I don't program.
> >
> In my book, you *do* program, and you are making astute observations.
> Now for the counter points:
> 1) When it comes to coding a problem you understand, no, I don't
> think this is a "killer" app.
> 2) But when it comes to arriving at a consensual understanding of
> a problem you aren't sure how to tackle, I think the kind of
> system we are talking about will prove to be worth it's weight
> in gold.
> Example: There are many parts of the application that I am
> really unfamiliar with: mail protocols, for example. We have
> dozens of people with expertise in different areas, and we need
> to hammer out a design that works. That kind of collaborative
> design should be enhanced with this kind of system.
> 3) The Open Source environment currently does *not* work for such
> problems. Open Source works when you put out a small kernel
> early, so people begin to grasp how it works. Then they start
> improving it. Over time, it grows in complexity and scope, but
> at a body of expertise grows at the same time. When someone new
> jumps in, their email is answered by one or more knowledgable
> individuals, which allows them to come up to speed.
> Open Source currently does *not* work when a) There is no code
> to start from, and b) When a huge body of code which no one
> understands is put out all at once. (I'm indebted to "The Cathedral
> and The Bazaar" for making that clear. It's available in book
> form these days.)
> When no code exists, there is nothing that "brings it all together"
> for developers. An email/document that allows for *reduction* into
> new document versions would allow developers to a) explore the
> design space, b) record design decisions, c) save alternatives, and
> d) create a uniform "design picture" out of rambling discussions.
> To date, open source efforts have been limited to extending and bug
> fixing. This system could make it possible to initiate an open
> source design in an open source way.
> When a large body of code is released all at once (like Netscape's
> mozilla), the opposite problem exists -- no one can "wrap their
> head around it". You look at code and ask "Why is that there?" and
> there is no one around to answer the question. Linked explanations
> provide the possibility of answering "why", which means makes the
> code that much more accessible to new people. (Interestingly, open
> source code has much *more* documentation than is typical for the
> industry as a whole. This system provides better mechanisms for
> capturing the information.)
> 4) For large commercial projects, maintenance costs over the life the
> project *dwarf* the initial cost of development. A company can spend
> as much as 5 times on maintenance as it cost to build the project
> originally. The *majority* of the time spent by maintainers is in
> "getting up to speed". Any system which allows system understanding
> to be recorded in an usable way stands to greatly improve the speed
> and cost of maintenance.
> So, even if initial coding is not dramatically improved, the ability
> to explore the design space intelligently and augment maintenance
> capabilities should more than justify an investment in installing and
> learning to use such a system. In addition, I suspect that most
> developers won't miss having to find misplaced braces!
> Thanks for the opportunity to further clarify some of my thinking!
> :_)
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