We had two meetings today and Giovanni, Trishan, and Antonio spent much of the day fixing various problems. An updated look at the VM Module:
The 9:30 AM meeting was a Skype voice conference with our IBM-NYC team contact, Gang Chen, originally from Sichuan province. (He told us that he has been in touch with relatives in China and all of his family are safe.) We gave him an overview of our efforts so far and discussed some of the problems we encountered. He was able to login through VPN to test the current Sahana demo on the China server. He agreed to conduct a thorough test of VM module, focusing on missing or erroneous translations and get back to us at this evening’s team meeting.
The evening meeting was a short but significant one. The IBM-China team reported that they had met with the Chinese government and the government is very interested in Sahana, especially Disaster Victim Registry and Inventory Management, and they plan to move ahead immediately on deployment of these two models. They also expressed interest in the VM module and plan to deploy it after successfully deploying the other modules.
IBM China has also identified some local project managers and team leaders who are familiar with LAMP and will now create a team in ChengDu to take over further development of the deployment. They have a training session scheduled for today and will begin deployment of a pilot Disaster Victim Registry immediately thereafter.
For now, the working arrangement vis-a-vis both the Sahana core team and VM team will be on “as needed” basis. The IBM-China team will appoint a new development team leader in ChengDu and set up a CVS repository in China. The ChengDu team has asked us to provide documentation and to stand ready to help out as questions and problems arise. We will have access to the IBM-China’s CVS server.
This is the beauty of free software. Users have the freedom to customize the software to suit their needs. If Sahana were a proprietary system, this hand off of control would have been fraught with legal and bureaucratic and (possibly) financial issues. Instead, the development process has moved closer to the end users, where it is most effective. Hopefully, as they develop new functionality, they will contribute it back to Sahana. Who knows–if the free software movement catches on in China, perhaps it will lead to increased freedoms throughout society.
For the VM team, this gives us a day or so at least to finish incorporating the paging functionality–a crucial feature if you’re going to have hundreds of registered volunteers and projects. Last night Giovanni worked out a design based on Sahana’s paging library and tested a quick prototype. The plan is to finish that up today.