Re: [unrev-II] Two Open-Source Activities: BeOpen.Com and Collab.Net

From: John J. Deneen (
Date: Thu Apr 20 2000 - 13:34:53 PDT

  • Next message: Eric Armstrong: "[unrev-II] Collaborative Systems Development Efforts"

    Collaborative Virtual Workspace

    This is what Undersecretary of the Navy Jerry MacArthur Hultin says
    about MS-Netmeeting/Wireless Knowledge/Windows-CE technologies:
    “I’m going to Microsoft at the end of this month to say to Steve
    Ballmer(CEO), ‘You talk about how you create a business group process
    system, but I’ll tell you [that] you don’t come close to giving us what
    we need,’ ” undersecretary of the Navy Jerry MacArthur Hultin said. He
    spoke at the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association’s
    West 2000 conference in San Diego.

    The Collaborative Virtual Workspace (CVW) is an office automation
    environment that enables people to converse, collaborate,
    and interact regardless of their geographic location. CVW establishes
    and manages a collection of persistent virtual rooms;
    each room incorporates the people, information, and tools appropriate to
    a task, operation, or service. CVW users can move
    from room to room just as they would in a building, meeting team
    members, discovering collaborators, entering group
    discussions, providing knowledge, seeking information, and performing
    all the other functions they normally would.

    A Uniquely Human Activity

    Collaboration is a uniquely human activity, and CVW preserves the human
    element critical to the success of any such
    computer-based system. CVW mimics the semantics of the physical world as
    closely as possible, giving users the illusion of
    physical space that permits natural social behavior to occur. The only
    break in the physical metaphor is when something is
    deemed particularly useful, such as the introduction of a proxy (a
    replica of an individual user), which allows a person to
    collaborate in two places at the same time.

    "The system actually allows for chance encounters when moving from room
    to room," observes Rhode. "Just as in a real
    building, you can bump into someone in the hallway and get to talking;
    as with a face-to-face meeting, this sometimes leads
    nowhere, but other times provides the key ingredient in solving a

    MITRE has developed a CVW prototype to demonstrate the system's
    applicability and usefulness. A number of detailed
    demonstrations have convinced our customers of the potential of the
    system to better accomplish their missions; based on
    these demonstrations, several customers have asked to have CVW deployed
    as an experimental pilot to various organizations
    within the intelligence community and the military; these prototypes are
    assisting our customers in a variety of applications,
    from conducting current operations to the formulation of future
    warfighting concepts.

    Immediate Benefits for Collaboration

    "As our customers gain more experience with CVW, their initial feedback
    indicates that the system yields immediate benefits
    for collaboration," remarks Lucy Deus, MITRE lead engineer. "It also
    stimulates thinking on potentially far-reaching effects on
    the future workplace." Geographically distributed teams were more
    efficient since members were able to share resources and
    communicate more effectively; in addition, the system enabled team
    members to form the interpersonal relationships critical to
    effective teams.

    "The ease with which team members can share resources has led to shifts
    in thinking about the underlying processes of an
    organization and inter-organizational interactions to achieve higher
    productivity, efficiency, quality and responsiveness to their
    customer base," observes Spellman. "In addition, the system made it far
    easier to capture interaction between participants,
    documentation, and information relevant to a specific crisis or team
    effort for later analysis, helping to understand the process
    as well as the function and effectiveness of tools used to gain insight
    into successes and failures."

    "We are continuing to develop CVW to add new capabilities in response to
    our customers' needs," remarks MITRE Lead
    Engineer John Kordash. "For example, further research will extend the
    mobility of CVW through the increased use of wireless
    communications. We have implemented an initial Java-based CVW capability
    in our drive to achieve platform independence
    and provide CVW access from a Web browser. In addition, new
    server-to-server communication will expand the ability to travel
    from one virtual workplace to another."

    Moving to the Commercial Sector

    "Due to overwhelming enthusiasm and urging from our customers," Rhode
    continues, "we are moving CVW into the
    commercial sector so that vendors can begin producing the appropriate
    components. To that end, we have begun to
    aggressively pursue discussions with interested vendors, and have
    provided detailed demonstrations of CVW in operation."

    "We are also investigating the application of CVW to different mission
    areas," remarks Rhode. "These missions include
    counter-proliferation and counter-narcotics efforts, battle management,
    doctrine development, command and control, mission
    planning, and information warfare."

    Many questions about the effectiveness and efficient use of
    collaborative environments remain; MITRE is currently investigating
    issues such as organizational motivators for collaboration, team
    building, privacy, security, and individual interaction. "We are
    continuing to investigate innovative means of promoting teaming and
    collaboration," concludes Spellman, "in our drive to help
    improve productivity even in the face of shrinking resources."

    Doug Engelbart - Bootstrap Institute wrote:

    > BEOPEN.COM: Just learned about this last saturday: new, for-profit enterprise,
    > but totally oriented to facilitation of open-source software. Its founder is a
    > long-time acquaintance of mine, Bob Weiner -- who also is an old friend of
    > Chris Nuzum. Very ineresting business plan.
    > <>
    > NOTE: They are having a sort of business-launch reception tonight, from
    > 6:30, at their office suite:: 160 Saratoga Ave, Santa Clara, CA 95051 /
    > (408) 985-4700
    > COLLAB.NET: Founded in the past five months, by Brian Behlendorf and the
    > O'Reilly and Associates. Apparently has very explicit and direct endorsement
    > by hp.
    > <>
    > FYI, Doug
    > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
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