[Ironruby-core] IronRuby community and communications

Phil Haack haacked at gmail.com
Tue Oct 2 13:15:34 EDT 2007

Getting access to original commit emails would be a very useful way of
seeing what changes are being made. Is it possible to put that on a mailing
list, if it isn't already?

-----Original Message-----
From: ironruby-core-bounces at rubyforge.org
[mailto:ironruby-core-bounces at rubyforge.org] On Behalf Of John Lam (DLR)
Sent: Tuesday, October 02, 2007 9:36 AM
To: ironruby-core at rubyforge.org
Subject: [Ironruby-core] IronRuby community and communications


I was enjoying my day off with my family and my brother who was in town
visiting when I discovered this thread on my phone. It was fun reading
things go by, but there was no way that I was going to try and respond via
T9. But now that I'm back in the office let's begin anew to address some of
the issues that were raised yesterday:

Charlie Nutter:
>> Are there development discussions happening on private lists,
>> say inside Microsoft within the IronRuby or DLR team? If so,
>> you should really think about moving as much of those discussions
>> as possible into the open.

When I first joined the company back in January, we had a regular set of F2F
meetings called the DLR Design Discussions. Culturally at Microsoft, we do
tend to do a lot of technical discussions F2F since, well, we all work
within about 50 feet or so of each other :) Almost all complex code reviews
and technical design are done in front of a computer/whiteboard in someone's
office. Given a choice, like most people, we will take the path of least

That said, I do think that there are a number of things that we can do to
improve how we communicate with y'all. So let's address some of the issues
raised on the thread and then I'll summarize with some proposals at the end.

Charlie Nutter:
>> there doesn't appear to be any discussion about the runtime and
>> compiler subsystems.

Guilty as charged. Partly because of cultural things above, and partly due
to lack of bandwidth in driving these discussions in the open. I did have
the crazy idea of videotaping our design meetings, but I'm not convinced
that's the best way of getting information out to folks - it's really
unfiltered and if you lack context they're really rather useless. But wait
until the end of this mail to see some ideas.

Curt Hagenlocher:
>> I think some of what we're seeing is a result of IronRuby's dependence
>> on the DLR -- which appears to be far from finalized, and which is not
>> going to be driven by the community at all.

This is true in the sense that the *implementation* of the DLR will not be
driven by the community. However, the *design* of the DLR is absolutely
driven by community feedback. The IronRuby compiler is technically
'community' insofar as the DLR itself is concerned, and there's been lots of
design changes in DLR due to IronRuby.

Jb Evain:
>> I'm a little frustrated as well by this situation, and I'd like to
>> see more technical discussions *between MS engineers* on this list.

Charlie Nutter:
>> I heard five developers, but perhaps that was a couple testers/QA
>> as well.

I'm pretty sure that I talked about our org chart before, but here it is

Tomas Matousek: compiler dev
Haibo Luo: compiler test
John Lam: program manager

John Messerly from our larger team contributes code as well, but only
between stints in his 'real job'.

Most of our discussions happen on the whiteboard in 41/5612. I agree that we
need to fix this, see end of mail.

Some ideas:

1. We hold a bi-weekly (soon to become weekly I think due to the # of times
that I cancel it) meeting for the IronRuby team. We can make this available
via a toll-free conference call # if folks want to dial into it. We can't do
Skype etc. from inside of corpnet.

2. We can put together a weekly summary of changes to IronRuby/DLR so that
folks can see the changes. Right now due to the way we sync with svn, we're
losing some information from checkin mails.

3. In the same weekly summary, we can post about what we're planning on
working on next and folks outside can chime in with status reports on what
they're working on and how it's going.

I'd love to hear some more ideas about how we can improve our communications
/ transparency.


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