Yes, we're all entitled to a little ranting now and then.  So I'll rant 
a little, and end with a few practical suggestions.

As to who's in charge:  Arved is the man, but Arved has recently started 
a new job, so you can imagine what his current situation is. 
 Nonetheless, he is preparing a new maintenance release at this time. 
 He is also concurrently involved in the design of the C/C++ version. 
 Keiron is leading the redesign effort against the current code base 
with Karen heavily involved.  Tore is the reference for all things 
fontish.  That group is our active expertise on the current and 
immediate future code base.  There are others who have worked on the 
code and documentation, e.g. Kelly and of course James Tauber, but who 
are not currently active.  Bernard is the rtf guru, and he is looking at 
the integration of his rtf work into the project.  My apologies to those 
I have missed.  I am looking at some alternative ways to approach the 
design, and that, as far as current users are concerned, makes me 
completely useless.

Given that the available time of contributors is limited, and that that 
availability can change dramatically and unpredictably, mapping out 
timetables is a demoralising business.  It has been attempted, but the 
actual results have varied so far from the predicted that I think we are 
all gun-shy.  A large part of the difficulty is that this particular 
problem has not been solved by this group before.  In that sense it is 
uncharted territory.  I saw an old movie about Christopher Columbus a 
while ago.  He is back in the Spanish court and one of his enemies makes 
disparaging remarks about what a trivial matter it is to sail to the New 
World.  Frederick March (Columbus) picks up a boiled egg and asks the 
bloke if he knows how to stand the egg on its end.  The guy and the King 
and a few others attempt to balance the egg, unsuccessfully.  Columbus 
raps the blunter end on the table, crushing the air sac, and stands the 
egg on the crushed base.  "It's easy when someone shows you how."

Your comments about the relationship of the users to the makers are not 
*entirely* fair.  Yes, users are entitled to expect that bugs and 
lacunae in the product will be fixed, without being told to "do it 
yourself."  Without non-participating users an Open Source project 
cannot expect to be very widely used.  We need to know about user's 
requirements, and this group has made great efforts over the time that I 
have been involved to respond to those requirements.  However, to demand 
that we display a level of "professionalism" (a word I always put in 
scare quotes) that I don't see from large software companies, including 
MS, is a bit unfair.

This project has a well-defined goal: a fully confomant product ASAP. 
 We are at a stage of re-definition.  As has been stated on many 
occasions, the existing design has exhausted its usefulness, and 
requires a serious rethink.  The result has to be capable of realising 
the afore-mentioned goal.  That takes time.  When it is completed, a map 
of sub-goals and sub-projects can be drawn up, and a vaguely useful 
timetable might be possible.  Keiron and Karen are the primary 
references for this, and if they are not drawing up such a roadmap, I 
expect it is because they are still struggling to subdue the design.

Keiron has indicated his interest in running some kind of school or 
seminar on the redesign for those who are interested, and I hope this 
comes to fruition.  Keiron is committed to building on as much of the 
current base as possible, so I expect that we will learn a lot about 
that base.  This will, I think, be important for moving the project 
forward.  Some of you will have noticed that the current CVS branch does 
not do a lot.  We need to begin to fill in those gaps, under direction 
from K&K.  If you want to help to increase the coverage of FOP, this 
will be the way to go.  Keiron and Karen will need to mark out a number 
of places to which the toe of the crowbar can be usefully applied, and 
then talk people up to speed.

We need some documenters to maintain and extend the web pages, and to do 
more detailed documentation on the design and implementation.  I would 
hope that we could have two or three active in this area.  The prime 
responsibility would be the web pages.  I would imagine that one of the 
documenters would do all of the web page committing, but would keep the 
others up to date on all of the changes.  If he were unable to continue 
with that responsibility, temporarily or permanently, a handover could 
be arranged within the documenters' group, and if necessary, a call 
could be issued for a replacement member or members.  A fop-documenters 
mailing list may be appropriate.


Matthew L. Avizinis wrote:

>OK, so how can I help?

>Btw, who's in charge?  It doesn't seem clear to me.
>And reluctantly, but while I'm at it, what the hey (certainly Keiron's
>always very patient comments didn't provoke the following), (everyone is
>entitled to a little ranting now and then, yes?):

>Well, I've had my sayso, and I feel better.  Now I can calm down again.  :-)
>thanks all for your consideration,

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