Friday, June 23, 2006

Callisto: name, effects and other such things

Mike recently blogged about Callisto culture, and I'd like to add some observations from DTP. As he said, no project was forced to join Callisto and, to be honest, when the first offer came to DTP, I paused, for many of the same reasons Mike describes. But DTP signed up as well, and we're glad to have done so. Being a relatively new project, Callisto offered us a chance to learn about delivering software successfully at As you might imagine, just getting the code in place (with all that entails) is only one part of the puzzle. Working with the entire Callisto team, especially going through the endgame together, was a great learning experience. While everyone involved did a lot of work, Kevin Haaland (of platform fame) provided invaluable experience, and David Williams (WTP) was relentless in execution while managing the update process, despite the fact I clearly remember that he was not present when volunteered to do that job. :-)

And then there's the name "Callisto." Alex recently made some interesting observations about naming at I'll now confess: I liked the original name "Eclipse release train," since I imagined being able to use a particular Ozzie song in my presentations when talking about it... Well, maybe later.

As Alex says, words tend to end up meaning something other than the original intention. I think in some cases this happens because people take the word to mean what they hope for. And I think this is the case in the semantic shift of "get 10 projects to build at the same time" to "get 10 projects' code integrated, remove duplication, consistent UI, etc. etc." The question then becomes: if (certain segments of) the community want the second type of integration, who will deliver it? My answer: the community should! (DTP committers are one part of this community, of course.) I often have conversation like this:

Someone: I'd like to work on DTP....
Me: Cool, what are you interested in? We have lot's of areas.....
Someone: But, you know, I don't have a lot of time to devote to it so, maybe later.

Speaking at least for DTP (and so it seems, based on studies, most other oss projects), being a committer isn't as time consuming as you might think. Sure, there is a core team that spends a lot of time on DTP each day, but there are also a lot of people who contribute occasionally. All of these contributions are valuable, and all of them are appreciated!