My personal wish for emerging Open Source is for guides, written in English, to the newly available sources. I have not yet looked at the sources for Netscape 5 but I think that only the code is available. Comments written in code are very useful but very seldom cover issues that transcend individual modules. I am a bottom up coder but when I am getting into other peoples code I need a top down introduction. With such an introduction I can quickly get to that part of the code where I might contribute.

I hear a great deal about e-mail as support for remote collaboration. Even if the e-mail is archived, however, it is seldom suitable for newcomers without the shared background of the correspondents. During the Keykos development the developers were within talking distance. Questions would be vocal but usually the responses would be disambiguation of the online documentation. A question would be followed a few minutes later with another question: “Is the manual clear now?”, or “Where were you looking in the manual for your information?”. This was effective in debugging the documentation.

Here is a scheme to do remote comparisons. It may bear on distributed development.