Hi Bob,

        I think you`re missing the point of Steve Bachinsky`s email.
Steve is *very* knowledgable about what open-source is and what needs
to be done to make it work.  I should know -- I`ve worked with Steve
and his group for many years in conjunction with the development of
ACE  and TAO
, which are two highly successful
open-source middleware frameworks that are used in many commercial and
defense projects, including the HLA/RTI (as well as many projects at
Boeing ;-)).  Before starting the ACE and TAO projects, I worked on
the GNU C and C++ open-source projects, so I`ve got a lot of
first-hand experience on this topic.

        I think Steve`s point is that open-source is a great idea, but
in order for it to work in practice for HLA/RTI there needs to be a
coherent business and technology evolution strategy.  In other words,
simply putting the HLA/RTI source code on a Web server someplace isn`t
going to magically solve the hard problems that Steve raises in his
email.  Having written and/or supervised the creation of millions of
lines of widely used open-source software for ACE+TAO, I concur
wholeheartedly with Steve`s assessments.  For example, the reasons we
were so successful with ACE+TAO is not just because the software was
open-source, but because:

       1. We had an excellent core group of developers who maintained
          the ``architectural integrity`` of the software base and
          provided very good support for ACE+TAO users.

       2. We created a larger user community that was dedicated to
          maintaining a single open-source base and who could help
          with myriad QA, porting, and enhancement tasks that we
          couldn`t afford to do with our core development team.

       3. We received ~7 million dollars in funding from various
          companies and government agencies in order to keep the group
          focused on developing, optimizing, maintaining, and
          enhancing the open-source base.

        Naturally, there were other issues involved, as well.  Check
out www.cs.wustl.edu/~schmidt/interview.html for a synopsis of my
thoughts on the importance of open-source if you`re interested in
knowing more.

        At any rate, I encourage you to re-read Steve`s original email
from the point of view that he`s trying to find ways that open-source
can succeed for HLA/RTI and is asking for constructive input from the
simulation community to make it happen.  The questions he`s asking are
the important questions that other folks up the food chain in the DoD
community will ask, so we need to make sure that there are good
answers to them.  After more than a decade of being in the center of
the open-source tornado I can assure you that it takes a lot more than
good intentions and desires to make open-source work scalably and
durably in practice!

        Take care,

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