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From: Richard Friedman (Richard.Friedman_at_[hidden])
Date: 2007-09-20 00:06:50


Well, here's some status, just so we can keep everyone involved.

Jeff is working to create an infrastructure of a docs project within the open-mpi.org. We should have a formal project established real soon.

Meantime, I'm doing some research to find out what are the right tools to consider for collaborative docs development. And tomorrow (Thurs) I'm meeting with one of our experts on DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture) at Sun. There are a number of free, open source, tools for authoring, building, maintaining, and publishing various kinds of documents collaboratively. There's DITA, docbook, and maybe more. (I'm pretty sure we don't want to use TeX)

Personally, I haven't kept up with recent developments so I'm giving myself a crash course in all this, and it's quite a lot to take in. I should have something to say about tools next week.

The next steps might be to figure out rules of engagement, what needs to be done, organize teams around tasks, and set up some kind of milestones. The goal is to provide a complete (or, as complete as possible) set of user documentation for Open MPI that is accurate, manageable, extensible, yadda, yadda.

Lots of questions rush immediately to mind, like:
  • What should be in the user doc set?
    • reference manual
    • user guide
    • man pages
    • tutorials
    • release notes
    • code examples
  • Where do we stand with regard to the "official" MPI documents from mpi-forum.org?
    • Can we cut/paste and edit content from the 2.x reports into an Open MPI reference? Or do we have to worry about copyrighted content?  Who "owns" the content currently?
    • How do we keep in sync with the "official" MPI documents.
    • Is there a chance that Open MPI will become the official MPI? (Or am I being too naive?)
  • What are the deltas between "official" MPI 2.x and Open MPI? And how do we document this?
As I said in an earlier email today, I'm new to this community and I'm not fully aware of its dynamics, how it works, who the people are, and what to expect. But, I'm in the door. This all started a few weeks ago when I told my manager that I needed to find out more about our (Sun's) ClusterTools, which is based on Open MPI, because it is an important part of Sun's HPC software stack. This led me to open-mpi.org, looking for the documentation. The ClusterTools documentation only describes how to use the ClusterTools package, not how to program with Open MPI.  Which is appropriate.

But Sun is committed to working with open source communities, and so my manager gave me the green light to go ahead and see if a docs project could be started.

I'm glad to see that a number of people are out there interested in doing something in this area. The devil's in the details, but so's the fun.

We may be a bit slow in getting things to the point where we're writing and putting back content, but we're going to get there. First, lets set up a working framework so things go smoothly. 

But here's a question we might want to discuss among ourselves over email in the meantime:
I'm curious to find out how you (or programmers you know who are using MPI in some form or another) learn about MPI. Where do you/they go to develop these skills? What books/articles/courses do people use?  Programmers are not born with innate knowledge of MPI. So where to they attain those skills.  Thoughts?

Thanks
<R>