ALERT project consortium was present at the Open World Forum 2012 event held at Paris which is the leading global forum intended for decisions-makers, developers and users from all over the world to cross-fertilize Open technological, business and societal initiatives to shape the digital future. ALERT partners organized a showcase of the potential of the ALERT software system, highlighting special uses for the system on different scenarios and types of organizations such as Open Source Communities and Software development Companies, and also for small development teams and stand-alone developers as well.
The event was conducted by Oliver Barreto, from ATOS Research & innovation Group exploitation team, and consisted of an introduction and description of ALERT and the participation of representatives of three of the major Open Source Communities and Groups, and some of the project’s partners, who talked about the benefits of ALERT system in some ways related to their experiences.
The event started with an introduction to the project by Ms. Ljiljana Stojanovic ALERT Project Coordinator, who highlighted the main innovations of the ALERT project, which is an R&D project partially funded by the European Community through FP7 Program with the participation of nine partners from the research, academic, scientific and industrial sectors (Forschungszentrum Informatik, Atos, KDE, Linagora, CIM Group, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Institut Josef Stefan, Greece Institute Communication and Computer System and Corvinno Technology Transfer Center). She also defined ALERT system as “The ALERT system improves coordination between open source developers by maintaining awareness of community activities through real-time, personalized and context-aware notification.”
Then, it was followed by five presentations showing ALERT value from different points of view. In first place, Clara Pezuela, Head of IT sectorfrom ATOSR&I Group, talked about ATOS’ plans to adopt ALERT system into ATOS development processes. “We are a big company, but we love Open Source Software, and we expect to incorporate ALERT system to reduce the amount of eMails sent by our developers by embracing this type of tools that facilitates collaboration and communication of our teams, especially when they are geographically disperse as is our case”
In the second place, ALERT commercial value was briefly outlined by Oliver Barreto who defined ALERT’s value in two words: “ALERT can be defined in just two words: #FocusedCoding and #CodeTogether, because they are ALERT can definitely help developers concentrate on writing beautiful code and improve the team performance because ALERT creates an interactive environment that gathers and processes tons of information from multiple information sources, searching for relevant events and notifies developers using the notification system”
In third place, Stuart Jarvis described how KDE works and how they are organized to produced their software, and provided real figures about their software development process. He stressed the importance of having tools that can access multiple information sources because, their experience on KDE, one of the largest OSS communities in the world, they have the experience that developers use several different communication tools to report and discuss about issues and bugs “We have a lot contributors, but most of them can only work for a few hours per week, so we have to be able to provide solutions for maximizing their productivity and involvement on the community, so they don’t go away. We need to be able to answer questions like - do issues go to the right person?, can new developers find a task? or does a change cause issues?. And we hope ALERT that would help us.”
Then, Dario Freddi, KDE developer,talked about the importance of having tools that can help the community to improve the way they work, “Make no mistake, developers are lazy, and we need this kind of automated tools to gather and bring valuable information of what they are doing into the system for analysis and then push relevant information back to developers. ALERT system can give us a chance to improve the way we work in many ways: aiding duplicate identification to clean up our issue tracker; aiding single view of information on an issue from many sources; providing assistance finding the right developer to help to solve any issue; helping to find issues you can fix, and even when reported in the wrong place; or providing an overview and sending alerts on trends in activity and issue solving… and make KDE software better”
In fourth place, Jesús M. González-Barahona from Universidad Rey Juan Carlos LibreSOFT Open Source Software research group, talked about how can ALERT be used, and especially highlighted the future path to position ALERT as a stand-alone
Component that can be easily integrated with multiple tools and systems, providing relevant information; and the case of ALERT complementing a software forge, where he finds quite an opportunity to extend and evolve those systems with the overall capabilities of information analysis provided by ALERT “Imagine the case of annotating the forge with links or pop-ups to ALERT system; or displaying embedded information or showing notifications from ALERT; or the case where developers can work in an enhanced environment if we complement the IDE with a plugin that sends search queries to ALERT and retrieves information that is immediately displayed directly on the IDE without having to go to other tools to search for it”.
Last, Laurent Lacôte, from LINAGORA talked about the specific use case of ALERT on the Petals Community, and also provided some possible ways of expanding ALERT system that would significantly impact on large communities “ALERT has a lot of room for improvement, imagine the system improved tomorrow with notification models and tight integration with major ITS: tackle the duplicate before it's even actually created!”
Around25 people attended to the workshop, and also was very engaging especially at the end when the ALERT team engaged question and answer’s from the public. The ALERT consortium also announced at the conference that the first public release of the system will be ready for download before this month ends (October 2012).
About ALERT (Active support and reaL-time coordination based on Event pRocessing in open source software developmenT) Project: ALERT is an EC partially funded R&D project that started 1st, October 2010 and has a duration of 30 months with a Total Budget of 4,019,835.00 € (EC Funding 2,948,856.00 €) made up of 9 partners (FZI Germany, Atos Spain, CIM Serbia, Corvinno Hungary, ICCS Greece, IJS Slovenia, KDE e.V. Germany, Linagora France and URJC Spain)