Count us in at the UofA. My initial impressions of Open MPI are very good and I would be open to contributing to this effort as time allows.


Jeff F. Pummill
Senior Linux Cluster Administrator
University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701
(479) 575 - 4590

"A supercomputer is a device for turning compute-bound
problems into I/O-bound problems." -Seymour Cray

Jeff Squyres wrote:
So there are at least a few people who are interested in this effort  
(keep chiming in if you are interested so that we can get a tally of  
who would like to be involved).

What kind of resources / organization would be useful for this  
group?  Indiana University graciously hosts all of Open MPI's  
electronic resources (Subversion, web site, bug tracking, DNS,  
mailing lists, ...) and I certainly can't speak for them, but if we  
ask nicely, I'd be willing to bet that they would add some hosting  
services for a documentation project (if such additional resources  
would be helpful, of course).

I would also be happy to host a teleconference if talking about all  
this start/admin stuff for an hour would save 1-2 weeks worth of  
detailed e-mails.


The only current documentation we have is:

- the web FAQ
- the README in the tarball

What is conspicuously missing is a nice PDF and/or HTML tarball with  
comprehensive documentation.  But I think that FAQ/README also fit  
into the general category of documentation, so it might make sense to  
put all 3 of these items under the control of one group.  The obvious  
rationale here is that all three could stay in tighter sync if  
there's one group monitoring all 3.

One point worth mentioning: Open MPI is all about community  
consensus, but "s/he who implements usually wins".  :-)  So if we get  
an active group working on documentation, the FAQ could be totally re- 
done if the group so decides (for example).

All this being said, the OMPI developers *have* talked about  
documentation a bit over time.  Here's some of the points from prior  
discussions, in no particular order:

- It highly desirable to have documentation that can be output in  
multiple different forms (PDF, HTML, ...whatever).  If possible, the  
docs should be shipped in distribution tarballs and hosted on the  
OMPI web site.

- LAM/MPI had two great docs: one for installation LAM/MPI and one  
for using LAM/MPI.  These might be good example documents for what  
Open MPI might want to do (see,  
regardless of the back-end technology used to generate the docs.   
Source LaTeX for these guides are available if it would be helpful (I  
wrote most of them).

- It would be most helpful if the documentation is written in a tool  
that has free editors, preferably cross-platform and available in  
multiple POSIX-like environments (Solaris, Linux, OS X).  MS Office  
was explicitly rejected because of its requirement for Windows/OS X  
(other Office clones were not really discussed).  LaTeX was discussed  
but wasn't favored due to the steep learning curve and general lack  
of experience with it outside of academia.

- First documentation should be aimed towards users.  Developer  
documentation might follow.

- Once upon a time, we developers started to use doxygen for  
documentation, but it has proven to be lousy for book-like entities  
(IONSHO).  Doxygen is decent for code documentation, but not documents.

- A few recent discussions about documentation came to the conclusion  
that Docbook ( looked promising, but we didn't get  
deep into details / investigating the feasibility.  One obvious Big  
Project using Docbook is Subversion (see  Docbook-produced HTML and PDF seem to look both pretty  
and functional.

- It would also be nice if sub-distributions of Open MPI could take  
the documentation and -- in some defined automated fashion -- be able  
to do the following:
     - insert their own "chapters" or "sections" that are specific to  
that sub-distribution (e.g., Sun ClusterTools have some Solaris- 
specific stuff, OFED have some OpenFabrics-specific stuff, etc.)
     - remove/"turn off" specific sections of documentation (e.g.,  
OFED would likely not include any documentation about Myricom  
networks [and vice versa])
This would go a long ways towards being able to keep the community  
documentation in sync with docs included in targeted/vendor OMPI  

- The OMPI web site is almost entirely written in PHP and is mirrored  
around the world.  It would be *strongly* preferred if the web-site  
hosting of the docs is fully mirror-able (because assumedly docs are  
one of the things that users would want to browse the most).  Hence,  
requiring a new kind of server other than HTML/PHP would require  
very, very strong rationale.  :-)

- The technology of choice for displaying on the web site is PHP.   
But that still leaves open a wide variety of choices for serving docs  
via the web site, including (but not limited to):
     - just posting PDFs (although having HTML-based docs would  
certainly be nice)
     - a PHP-based package or home-grown PHP
     - generating HTML offline (via cron or whatever) and putting the  
results in the web site
     - ...etc.

On Sep 13, 2007, at 1:31 PM, pat.o' wrote:

     I would also be interested. I am getting questions from my  
about the location of documentation.

             Jeff Squyres
     >                                                     To
             Sent by:                 Open MPI Users <users@open->
bounces@                                             cc
                                      Re: [OMPI users] OpenMPI
             09/13/07 10:33           Documentation?

             Please respond
             Open MPI Users

I would be very happy to help setup a documentation community --
goodness knows we need more/better documentation for Open MPI!

Who else would be interested?

On Sep 13, 2007, at 5:13 AM, Amit Kumar Saha wrote:

Hi Richard,

On 9/12/07, Richard Friedman <> wrote:
 Well, as far as I know a documentation community within OpenMPI
has not yet
been formed, but maybe it is time to send out a general call to
the OpenMPI
members to see about creating one.
 I'm new to the OpenMPI community myself, so I'm not yet sure how
this can
be done. But we can find out.
 Thanks for the interest.
Well, some has to take the initiative, and it would be ideal to have
an experienced Open MPI programmer take the lead role and members  
me can be contributors.

Amit Kumar Saha
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Jeff Squyres
Cisco Systems

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