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GAP Centres

In March 2005 the GAP Council and the GAP developers have agreed that status and responsibilities of "GAP Headquarters" should be passed to an equal collaboration of a number of "GAP Centres", where there is permanent staff involvement and an element of collective or organisational commitment, while fully recognising the vital contributions of many individuals outside those Centres.

The Centres will work together, with outside individuals, to sustain and develop GAP, concentrating in particular on coordination and on those tasks which are not naturally a part of anyone's research programme, but are needed "for the general good". Some examples of possible tasks are listed below, loosely grouped into areas.

To these ends, the Centres may set up Working Groups, made up as appropriate of Centre representatives and/or invited individuals, to perform particular tasks and reach decisions on particular questions.

At the present time (March 2005), GAP Centres in the following places have agreed to cooperate in this way:

This list may change, if new Centres emerge, or existing ones withdraw.

Representatives of all the Centres can be contacted via the usual support email address support@gap-system.org.

Possible Tasks for Centres

User Support

  • Ensuring the provision of email support; responding to reports of installation problems, requests for guidance in how to apply GAP to a problem, feedback from users, bug reports, usage reports and installation reports.
  • Ensuring bugs are fixed and releasing bugfixes.
  • Running the website, providing servers, maintaining the material, developing new material.
  • Guiding users to appropriate third party GAP related material.
  • Providing specialised support for more advanced users, such as help with project planning, feasibility studies and package development and access to development versions of GAP.

Promotion of GAP

  • Running workshops and meetings.
  • Representing GAP at other conferences and events.
  • Delivering GAP training during visits to other institutions.
  • Advertising GAP releases.

Resources

  • Trying to raise money to pay for manpower, travel, servers, etc.
  • Encouraging volunteers to do useful work.

Development

  • Maintaining and operating development tools, such as CVS servers, mailing lists, testing tools, etc.
  • Defining releases, enforcing release timetables, wrapping.
  • Considering longer-term development strategy.
  • Encouraging and supporting new developers.
  • Trying to arrange for "needed" development, that is development needed by users, or for further development, but not of sufficient interest for anyone to undertake it for its own sake.
  • Defining development processes.
  • Arranging recognition of developers' contributions.
  • Seeking as far as possible to ensure that key packages remain available and backward compatible.

Communication

  • Ensuring adequate communication between ourselves, other developers, the GAP Council, and the actual and potential user communities.
  • Specifically liaising with GAP Council in its role as editorial board for packages, which we fully support.

Evolution

  • Recognising the appearance of new Centres and the withdrawal of existing ones.
  • Ensuring that if this arrangement ceases to be appropriate and feasible, some appropriate successor arrangement is put into place.