DMS: The Distributed Make System
     DMS Distributed Make System
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       We wrote this FAQ partly because someone asked us a question about DMS, and told us that it would be good to publish our answer. You can find the mail exchange here.


- What is DMS ?

DMS stands for Distributed Make System, and is aimed at distributing compilation tasks within a network. Thus, It should significally increase the speed of a compilation process. The general rule is : the more computers you have, the more speed you get. But the performance should still be very increased with a small number of computers : if the compilation process is distributed within a network of two computers, the time taken should be divided by about two.

In the future, we would like the user to be able to compile source code for different architectures, without the needed cross-compilers, and by choosing groups of computers matching the target architecture, then asking DMS to compile the project on this group of computers, and finally get the results back.


- Is DMS strongly coupled with Make ?

No, the word "make" in "Distributed Make System" brings confusion, and the project name is not good. DMS only wraps the gcc command line invocations, and then distribute a task whenever gcc is called. So typing "gcc -c test.c" on the command line will distribute the compilation process the same way than it would do for make commands, or any command issued by another build system (Ant, Cook, cons, etc.).


- What is the state of DMS ?

The project has just started, but it's progressing quite fast. We are currently able to distribute the compilation of huge projects (Python, Emacs, Perl, etc.), whose command lines are often generated by autotools, in a client server fashion. We just need a basic scheduler to distribute the tasks across a network of more than two computers.


- Why do you put up a Web page while your project has just started ?

We just want people who would like to know more about the project not to be disappointed by the lack of information. For instance, you could want to contribute, share great ideas or very relevant informations, and we don't want to miss them. We don't like vaporware, thus we won't advertise our project until it gets real. You're supposed to be at least slightly interested by the project if you are reading these words.


- Can I try DMS ?

Not yet. Well, you can checkout the source code from our CVS repository, but it's really not usable by people who are not members of the project. We'll probably make an experimental release by the time we get the basic scheduler, so you can figure out better what is DMS.


- Can I contribute to DMS ?

Not yet. DMS is a school project until the end of September, so we don't have the right to accept external contributions. However, you can share your ideas with us, and we would be glad to hear from you. Fell free to send us any comment (ideas, impressions, book titles related to distributed computing, URLs, etc.).


- What are the programming languages used by DMS developpers ?

We mainly use the Python programming language and we might use C in the near future, in order to get system informations that are not provided by Python for example. We also use PyUnit as a unit testing framework. If you don't know the Python programming language, don't be afraid, it is really easy to learn and fun to use.


- On what platform will DMS run ?

The first releases should be usable on Linux. Then we'll try to make DMS usable on the most Unix platforms we can use (currently FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, Solaris, MacOS X, Digital Unix).


- How does DMS compare to other similar projects ?

Our project is very similar to distcc and TeamBuilder. Actually, our goal is to achieve the same level of functionnality than both of those projects for the first release.


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