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Dan Sugalski's Parrot Post Mortem

by Limbic~Region (Chancellor)
on Oct 22, 2005 at 16:48 UTC ( #502226=perlnews: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

For those of you who don't know, Dan was the chief design architect for Parrot for several years. He handed over the hat to chip and then shortly left the project all together.

He promised a post-mortem describing his tenure with the project and what he thought went well and what didn't. While there was wild speculation concerning personality problems, he was able to keep that from affecting the project for the most part. To that end, he waited to release the post-mortem so that it may be looked at objectively.

I write this from a perspective of someone following the list. I was not on the inside so I don't know the whole story. Take a look at the Post Mortem if you are at all interested in Parrot.

Cheers - L~R

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Re: Dan Sugalski's Parrot Post Mortem
by pg (Canon) on Oct 23, 2005 at 00:18 UTC

    After I read that post mortem, a clear picture was painted for me. From my point of view, the real problem is the lack of project management. The role of design architect and project manager were totally mixed up. Dan is not only doing the technical stuffs that he was good at (I assume this, but I am an outsider), but also doing things that he was not good at, such as dealing with people and the management side of the project.

    I also can feel the tension within the project team(s), not just about personality, more importantly different people were(are) pulling the project to different directions, both Parrot and Perl 6.

      You'll be happy to know that Jesse Vincent has now stepped in as the project manager for Parrot and I'm the temporary grant manager for the project. Having a technical lead doubling as the project lead can create tremendous difficulties for large projects. Fortunately, Parrot is back on track and while there are certainly obstacles to overcome, we now have a set of milestones for the project and funding from NLnet.

      I've also read Dan's comments and agreed with some, disagreed with others. I know that many are frustrated by the pace of Perl 6 development and I am too. However, in building and designing a project this large by using primarily volunteer labor, it's still amazing how far the project has come.


      New address of my CGI Course.

        I had a quick look at the "set of milestones" referenced by Ovid. It has the appearence of a dead document: the status of Milestone 1 ends with: "Patrick's expecting a vastly updated engine incorporating subrules and these new features within March 2005." Given today's date is October 2005, this suggests that the status hasn't been updated for at least 6 months.

        Later, we see threads: "Design worked out, but still in Dan's head". Maybe this is still true but, if so, it needs to be extracted.

        Opinions my own; statements of fact may be in error.
        Oddly, I've been working on documenting the threading plan for Cola. Maybe someone can steal it when I'm done :)

        This is really good to know!

      Y'know, you hit it right on the head. Project management was one of the big missing things in Parrot's run, and I'm glad someone's been gotten to do it. Having one would've made things go better, and realizing I was doing project management would've potentially made things go better as well.

      Not that I necessarily would've been great as a project manager -- that's definitely not one of my strengths, and I've some people issues as well -- but at least acknowledging that it was one of the duties would've helped.

Re: Dan Sugalski's Parrot Post Mortem
by BUU (Prior) on Oct 22, 2005 at 21:51 UTC
    I read that and a bunch of the various linked documentation and so now I'm hideously depressed about Parrot and Perl6. Surely it's not all doom and gloom? Someone cheer me up about this whole Perl6 thing.
      :) dont be sad we have larry, wie have damian, autrijus and so on and progress is visible in many areas even as dan sad. And maybe dan will come back. he once wrote he won't write about that explicitly and now he did. he need some rest.
      even the recent slashdot discuss about perl6 and parrot isn't that always negativ as here often claimed.

      I believe that perl atracts people with stronger charakter and some kind of snobism and harsh words seems unfortunatly sometimes unavoidable. but dear brother lets lern from these lesson. lets be more direct, lets say always now what we think without hurting much the other. this all maybe part of a sort cleaning progress of the perl community through this "crisis". but i know i will stay with perl because like damian said "it fits into main brain" and bcause i love it. and on the other side i believe thats

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