2010 Progress PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 08 October 2010 14:32

It has been so long that I have submitted an update that I kept passing the opportunity by because I forgot how to do it.  The good news is the project is coming along really well.  Many systems that were only wishes are now facts.  Yet life seems to be passing me by, there is still not the unity of structure I would like behind the project.  The good news is that in all this time the state of the free software world has moved immeasurably forward.  Each new day brings new surprises.  I will now proceed to give an overview of the state of the system.

I do not yet have the todo list systems working properly.  The mechanisms for reporting which tasks have been accomplished are therefore more or less lacking.  For this reason, I cannot give a precise list of the accomplishments.  Moreover, there is currently no estimation of the value of a particular task, although some code exists which computes it in a suboptimal way.  So I cannot readily prioritize the announcements of which tasks have been completed.  So, I will simply talk stream of consciousness.

Thanks to the Zlatan's influence, much work has progressed on the usability of the project to a wider audience.  Therefore, several GUIs have been developed.  The advantage here is that the infrastructure for rapidly developing GUIs is moving forward, and that certain processes that are ultimately easier to perform with GUIs can be or have been programmed.

 The two most significant GUIs thus developed are SPSE2 and Paperless Office.  SPSE2 is the shared priority system editor.  It is useful for establishing and editing a big picture model of the project.  Unfortunately, for it to be truly useful, there still remain serious obstacles.  But it already functions and can even export temporal plans based on the facts.  It uses FreeKBS2 as the backend and runs reasonably fast and is highly efficacious, just not perfectly so.  Paperless Office as well has been implemented, enabling the full cessation of Windows use as Paperport is no longer required.  While being a very substantial program, it also requires a lot of improvements to become the system it is meant to be.

 Releasing the project, which has been its central bane, is coming along.  We had one grant for the release rejected, but with the help of some allies we are developing a grant writing campaign manager that should see some funds make it to supporting the release.  As well, a video game under development has now been made to use the FRDCSA, tying its release to the project and hopefully accelerating it.  Lastly, the Virtual Machine release has been accomplished and we now have build instructions for the project.  This means that with a little work we can build the frdcsa-common package.  It also means that, for those who apply and are approved to receive a pre-release version of the Panoply GNU+Linux, as it is called, can start using the system and get to know some of its aspects.  It is also hoped that those who use it will be able to eventually contribute to its release, by means of a distributed GUI system for "declassifying" or rather deidentifying personal information from the codebases.

 Currently the system is available in two forms and a third will soon be made available.  The virtual machine appliance may be shipped via a storage device like a hard drive or USB stick, it may be downloaded (caution 20GB), and soon a multi-DVD release will be made.  As the git repos are continuously filled and new software of use to others becomes available, the VM images will be upgraded and released.

 But to pretend that this was all the news would be to reduce the tremendous progress all across the project to a few special areas that have taken only a fraction of the development time.  There are just too many fascinating subjects to explore and it does not seem appropriate to mention one in favor of another, so I will simply conclude with an appeal to apply for the pre-release version and to become active in what may someday become the FRDCSA community.  Oh, POSI is being woken from the ashes.  It's website had to be moved because the original domain name lapsed, so it is temporarily being placed at http://posi.frdcsa.org .  As POSI was conceived outside the range of the FRDCSA and is not a project (although it uses the FRDCSA tools), it is not an appropriate location and will be fixed when the resources are available.

 To all who have helped, your contributions have meant more than you probably know. 

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