TOSP Quarterly, issue 2

Aaaand… It’s been three months already ! So let’s review what happened to TOSP during this second quarter of year 2013.

Following the previous observation that I needed more regular milestones in the TOSP development process, in order to boost my motivation and have better visibility on what’s going on, I took a look at agile software development methods. From this, I came to the realization that having such milestone releases involved a more elaborate planning process, where long-term goals are already defined in writing, although in a fuzzy form, while short-term goals are specified in great detail so as to allow for precise project timing.

Consequently, I started to prepare myself for such a combination of coarse-grained and fine-grained planning, defining a project vision and a number of coarse-grained user stories. There still is a lot left to be done, though, such as writing user stories related to the software development experience (both at the system and application level), deciding how future development should be done and what should happen of existing code, and only then starting to plan and begin a first iteration of these new plans.

Meanwhile, I also explored the qualitative questions of system resource organization, screen tearing mitigation, and what a work-oriented operating system should be like, then took interest in the Ada programming language and discovered that it had promizing abilities for system development. In particular, its integrated RPC functionality made me wonder once again about what was the best way to implement RPC, and while I was at it, I also tried to consolidate my previous thoughts on task-based scheduling.

The main issue during this quarter was that I could not provide TOSP with all the care it deserves during May and June, due to a combination of a trip to India and a professional rush to get my current physics research in a publishable form. I have since explored using the Pomodoro technique to ensure that the share of my spare time that is dedicated to TOSP remains constant. It started to give some good results these past few weeks, but one needs to wait a bit more to see if this approach is truly sustainable.

And that’s is for this quarter’s events! Plans for the immediate future include general planning of the software development experience, including that of system services, and a discussion of the “meta” universe around TOSP such as website matters. If everything goes well, I might also be able to define and start a first iteration of TOSP’s new development process, but I may also need the fourth quarter of 2013 for that. Only time will tell…

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