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RE: the big news

Hmmmm ... perhaps someone in the R project would be willing to volunteer to
"adopt" ATLAS? If no one here is on the R lists, I can certainly bring it up

M. Edward (Ed) Borasky, Chief Scientist, Borasky Research
http://www.borasky-research.net  http://www.aracnet.com/~znmeb
mailto:znmeb@borasky-research.com  mailto:znmeb@aracnet.com

Stand-Up Comedy: Because Man Does Not Live By Dread Alone

> -----Original Message-----
> From: R Clint Whaley [mailto:rwhaley@cs.utk.edu]
> Sent: Friday, August 31, 2001 2:45 PM
> To: atlas-comm@cs.utk.edu
> Subject: the big news
> Guys,
> I guess most people know that Antoine left the ATLAS group a bit back.
> This was a pretty big blow, since he was roughly half the group.
> The second
> shoe is now dropping, in that I am going back to school to finish my Ph.D.
> This leaves 0 full-time ATLAS developers.
> Unfortunately, I was unable to find a school with both the possibility of
> doing ATLAS/AEOS stuff for my dissertation and a curriculum that lets me
> get started on it before I die of old age.
> This is not an "ATLAS is going away" message; it's more a "ATLAS will not
> be administered in exactly the same way, who's got ideas?" kind
> of deal . . .
> I am certainly not abandoning the project; I feel that ATLAS provides
> real value to the community, and I am proud of the work I have done here,
> and would not like to see it go to waste.  However, the amount of time I
> have to spend on it will obviously decline enormously.  One thing that is
> obvious is that alone I will never again have the resources to get out a
> stable release, and support it in the way we have previously.
> It is my belief that stable ATLAS releases need to be much more solid than
> many libraries, in that blas and lapack are basic infrastructure
> that simply
> must work correctly.  Therefore, I don't worry about the more cutting edge
> developer releases, which only people in the know should play with.
> Stable releases and their support, though, will need a new
> process in order
> to continue at a decent level . . .
> It is my hope that the community will find atlas useful enough to give me
> a hand with this stuff.  If that doesn't materialize, that in itself is
> an interesting data point . . .
> Anyway, I am leaving full-time ATLAS work in November-December time frame.
> I have been working on some developments that I hope are in the right
> direction to allow for a more distributed maintainence.
> The first of these is finally ready.  The ATLAS developer page has been
> moved to SourceForge,
>    http://math-atlas.sourceforge.net/
> The entire ATLAS source tree is available for anonymous CVS access (read).
> I have posted a quick explanation of how to access it at:
>    http://math-atlas.sourceforge.net/atlas_devel.html
> As I say, this is just the first thing to get done.  It is mainly so that
> work between Antoine and myself is more lightweight.  However, people do
> occasionally want to submit patches or add to ATLAS, and this ought to
> make that easier (at least on me :).  Before, people made their changes
> against a released tarfile, and when I got them, I would adapt them to
> our source.  This will allow them to give me a CVS diff that I can
> evaluate and apply much more easily.  Note that we keep the ATLAS source
> in something called extract, and most may not be motivated enough to
> figure this out . . .
> I'm still getting a feel for what-all I can do on sourceforge.  One of the
> things I hope to get rolling is an ATLAS help mailing list to replace
> atlas@cs.utk.edu.  This is an obvious place where I think the
> community could
> help a great deal.  I would like to get a help list that others can sign
> up for (or better yet, perhaps, just browse when they have time), and some
> questions could be answered by others who have a given problem
> figured out.
> I hope to be able to generate an auto-reply message, telling
> people to scope
> the errata, and that the authors check mail only sporadically.
> If this were
> supplemented by having others answer some of the easier questions, I think
> support can be maintained at a decent level.  Roughly 1/2 of the answers I
> give on this list boil down to "scope the errata", "no, I mean
> really scope
> the errata", and "no, seriously, what about the errata".  It doesn't
> require vast amounts of ATLAS experience to answer these type of
> questions,
> but personal intervention does seem necessary to get people
> directed that way.
> I still don't know, but I'm hoping SourceForge's resources will help with
> this (if you've got some SourceForge knowledge, I'd certainly appreciate
> any shortcuts you could supply) . . .
> Because ATLAS runs so many places, and because everyplace it runs
> is changing
> rapidly, it can suffer bitrot quite a bit faster than many projects (the
> recent problems with gcc 3.0 show how quickly things can go downhill), so
> I think it is important I don't spend *all* my free time in raw
> support even
> if just staying the same place, much less progress, is important . . .
> So, in the remaining full-time months until the end of the year, my main
> goal is to get a solid stable release out before I leave, while
> investigating
> the feasability of various maintainence and development methods.
> If people
> have ideas along this line, let me know.  I feel the time to try
> this stuff
> is now, while I'm still fulltime, rather than try to find a new process
> when I can't concentrate on it . . .
> We have never officially announced the developer stuff that I know of, and
> we already have a small community of contributers.  It is my hope if the
> developer stuff is improved in the next few months, we can then announce
> it to the broader community and perhaps bring in more interested
> people . . .
> Anyway, in the meantime, the CVS is there if anyone is interested . . .
> Cheers,
> Clint