Monday, June 5, 2006

I'm back with UserLand plus Radio UserLand News

This went out to the Frontier Kernel project mailing list this morning:

I'm baaackkkk!

Exciting news. First, I'm once again serving as the product manager for Radio UserLand. Second, I am leading an effort to use the source code base from the Frontier Kernel Project as the basis for the next version of Radio UserLand's kernel.

As you all know, UserLand is a small company with few internal resources, but a very high regard for its developer community. In 2004, the Frontier kernel was released to open source on the hope that by drawing on resources outside the company, some of the lingering problems with the kernel would finally be resolved.

Over the past several months, as I watched the Frontier Kernel Project make progress, I started pitching UserLand on the idea of using the Frontier OSR code for the basis of the Radio kernel. The Radio.root would remain private, but the kernel would be available to anyone who wanted to compile from source. UserLand management agreed and that brings us to where we are today.

Here are some of the more obvious FAQ's:

Q. What does UserLand expect of us?

A. Nothing. UserLand will download the source like everyone else and contribute changes back to the project in accordance with the license and the spirit of the project. I will be the person responsible for compiling the kernel, testing and reporting the bugs and successes.

Q. Will UserLand be contributing to the kernel project?

A. Unlikely in the short term. But by recognizing and adopting the work of the project and using the kernel to create an improved product, UserLand hopes to add momentum to both and thereby attract more interest and people to the project.

Q. What happens if UserLand wants us to do something that we don't want to do?

A. Don't do it. UserLand isn't taking over the Frontier Kernel Project or trying to co-opt it. It is just another participant and user of the OSR. If a conflict with the kernel's project develops (unlikely), UserLand will have no choice but to submit or branch (with its separate contributions being added to the repository).

Q. Who's the UserLand point of contact?

A. For now, it's me (steve@userland.com or steve.kirks@gmail.com) but Lawrence Lee (lawrence@userland.com) is available too. I'm not an employee or owner of UserLand Software, but they are letting me lead this effort and contribute to both the Kernel Project and the future of Radio. I expect to get some compensation for my trouble, but that's mostly to justify time spent on the project to my wife.

Q. Where do you want the Radio UserLand kernel to "go"?

A. What do I expect? Here's a short list:

1. Upload some missing icon files for the Mac build.
2. Work with someone to get a functioning UB build of Radio running on an Intel Mac.
3. Work with someone to get a functioning build of Radio running on Windows using Visual Studio Express C++ 2005

Past that, it will be up to the community for Frontier coders and the Radio community.

To everyone who's contributed to the kernel: thank you for making this possible.

This is very exciting news to Radio UserLand webloggers. The core "kernel" of the software can now take advantage of the kernel group's hard work. In addition, UserLand has a chance to contribute some of it's work back to the kernel group. Win-win!

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©Copyright: 2006 Steve Kirks

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