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The Hula Project

More from LinuxWorld Expo:

We got the Hula announcement went out today and www.project-hula.org is now open. This announcement was a really taxing effort for us to get ready—the time between identifying that it was the right thing to do and when the right time to do it (LinuxWorld, Boston) was pretty short. Getting everything together was a fast ride.

I continue to be impressed with the speed that Nat Friedman can get use his personal network to make things happen. Having OSS heavyweights like OSAF’s Mitch Kapor, Mozilla’s Mitch Baker, OSDL’s Stuart Cohen backing the project with their endorsements is all Nat’s doing.

Right after Jack Messman’s ketnote, Novell held a press conference and amid the other significant announcements from Novell, Hula commanded the first three or four questions. The Gartner Group’s Senior Analyst covering collaboration, Maureen Grey, called to ask questions (and remind us that we should give her at least a little heads-up on something of this magnitude). So, a good reception so far.

I haven’t used this blog to talk much about collaboration. And, I’ve been sitting on a half-composed rant about what has gone wrong with email (why do so many now loathe email, when it was once such a boon to doing business).

I’ll also probably do a fair amount of talking about GroupWise, which is Novell’s traditional full-featured collaboration offering. I cover marketing for GroupWise as well Hula/NetMail, and I’m getting ready to become very vocal about where we’re taking GroupWise, as seen in last week’s roadmap announcement.

2 Responses

  1. One of the problems with e-mail, and other tools in fact that are *useful* for collaboration is that they are not contributing to some kind of enterprise knowledgebase or data mine.

    I think this is best illustrated with an example:

    Let’s say I read and respond to 100 e-mails a day. Several of them may prompt an IM discussion or two, and maybe even an IM/IRC meeting of minds to discuss and develop ideas. I may need to take some thoughts back home and think about them, and later I’ll blog about them to get some more input and help me develop them in my own mind.
    Perhaps I also decide to take pen to paper and scrawl a few ideas down, draw a picture or two and eventually I’ll get some sleep.

    In this scenario I’ve had a pretty productive day – and I’ve used 5-6 different mediums to express ideas and build them. Each of these mediums are all valuable in their own right… but when it comes to actually completing the idea or referencing it at a later date, how many of those mediums are accessible ?
    If I’m really disciplined I would’ve filed them somewhere together. But the chances are that I didn’t.

    How many ideas do you have in a day? And how many of them are actually put somewhere where you can reference them later and follow up on them? Then think about how useful that reference would be to others in the idea-making business… and how accessible are your references to them?

    Collaboration is not solving this problem. It’s compounding it. It’s fragmenting instead of consolidating. It’s limiting instead of allowing freedom of expression.

    All the bits and pieces are available to allow technology to enable collaboration like it happens in a room with people in it… but it’s not bringing it together.

    Technology should be enabling collaboration and multiplying its usefulness.

  2. Beagle seems to get at some of this problem by enabling cross-desktop search, so that you can search for ‘foo’, and get at all the different formats you mentioned foo in. Of course, getting at this personally doesn’t really solve any collaboration issues- it is just a personal solution. A brainstorm with a former co-worker of mine led to an interesting idea- what if you could share beagle://my.ip/query.cgi?foo with co-workers, and let them peek at all the docs related to foo on your system? I think in practice the permissions issues are probably too difficult to work out, but if you put those aside, or alternately, if you could beagle on a shared ifolder space and made it really trivial to add chats, drawings, etc. to the ifolder space, some interesting results could come from it.

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