[unrev-II] On evolvable software

From: Jack Park (jackpark@thinkalong.com)
Date: Sat Aug 04 2001 - 19:49:40 PDT

  • Next message: Eugene Eric Kim: "Re: [unrev-II] The other OHS"

    While pondering structural computing, I stumbled on something called
    "Ectropic Software" and found a page with a paper.

     From the paper:
    "Imagine hundreds of people working on the same program at the same
    time. Imagine if those people do not
    know each other and, in fact, do not individually have overall
    knowledge of the program but merely want to adapt it
    in order to solve their own particular problems. Imagine each of them
    being able to contribute their fixes and
    enhancements to the program while sharing the same code base.
    This is the vision of the Open Source movement, responsible for such
    popular software as the Apache web
    server and the emacs text editor. However, Open Source suffers from
    two limitations: the inherent nature of all
    evolving software to lose its design coherence over time and the
    specific reliance of Open Source on a central
    individual to coordinate the evolution of the software.

    Ectropic software is an attempt to leverage the advantages of Open
    Source while overcoming the disadvantages.

    Ectropy is the inverse of entropy. Ectropic software evolves over time to
    become more highly structured and better able to accomplish the goals of
    its users. It consists of two key ideas: Ectropic Design is a design
    method by which order and structure are created out of the efforts of
    multiple, unrelated software developers. An Ectrospace is an active
    collaboration space to support Ectropic Design."

    Ectropic Design (feature-oriented design) enforces conceptual integrity
    during distributed development. Development emerges not from a
    predetermined and static design description, but from continual accretion
    of new features.

    Well, it's not all that simple, but the paper is worth reading.

    A homepage for ectropic software is http://www.cc.gatech.edu/ectropic/

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