Open MPI logo

Docs Mailing List Archives

  |   Home   |   Support   |   FAQ   |   all Docs mailing list

From: Jeff Squyres (jsquyres_at_[hidden])
Date: 2007-09-20 16:44:12

On Sep 20, 2007, at 12:06 AM, Richard Friedman wrote:

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

We have an SVN:


The [s] is only necessary for authenticated checkouts (i.e., those
who will be committing).

The Trac is almost functional -- there seems to be a problem with the
login right now (the cookies seem to be conflicting with the cookies
for the main OMPI trac; I'm probably the only person that this is a
problem for ;-) ):

Your trac username/password are the same as your SVN username/password.

> 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.

Excellent. We had some off-list mail about this (before the mail was
setup) and you sent me some URL pointers about DITA, etc. Could you
re-send those so that others can see what you're talking about?

> 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.

Hear, hear.

> 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

I'm for not including those. That information is the spec for MPI
implementations. Our man page have very stripped-down text from the
spec for each MPI function, but then add in any OMPI-specific
information as relevant. I think that's probably as far as we should
do -- let produce the spec documents (there's actually
work under way to update the in the larger MPI community -- not an
Open MPI-specific effort).

> 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.

Per above, I don't think we need to worry about this.

> Is there a chance that Open MPI will become the official MPI? (Or
> am I being too naive?)

Probably not. There's still a lot of vendor / proprietary MPI's out
there that won't go away any time soon. Open MPI has reduced the
number of MPI's, but there's still a bunch.

> What are the deltas between "official" MPI 2.x and Open MPI? And
> how do we document this?

I'm not sure I understand this question...? MPI 2.x is a spec; Open
MPI is an implementation of that spec.

> 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
>, 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.

Ah -- I think that there are 3 main topics here:

1. Knowledge of the MPI spec itself ("book knowledge")
2. Knowledge of how to write MPI applications ("practical knowledge")
3. Knowledge of how to use a particular MPI implementation, such as
Open MPI ("applied knowledge")

I assumed we were only talking about #3. Per your discussion above,
I'm thinking that you also want to document #1 and #2.

I think we don't want to replicate #1. is The
Bible and there is a larger group working on an update (MPI 2.1,
etc.). I think that those documents should stand alone by themselves.

#2 is usually covered by existing books and various tutorials on the
net. Someone cited the NCSA tutorial, which is one of my favorite to
point newbies to, as well. My $0.02 is that we can include some
basic examples of MPI programming in this project, but the real focus
should be #3: how do you use Open MPI itself.

Jeff Squyres
Cisco Systems