using programs separately or in combination to get the job done, rather than doing it... by monolithic self-sufficient subsystems, or by special-purpose, one-time programs.
Understanding what made Unix a success is key to understanding why the classic Workshop has failed, and why any attempt to create a "lite" version of Workshop by simply removing a few troublesome (but essential!) features, is also bound to fail.
The classic Workshop conceptually combines six simple tasks into a monolithic activity:
[the assignment] The statement of the work to be done
[the assessment form] A form defining the assessment criteria that will be applied to the work when it is submitted
[the student submission] Submission of the assigned work by the student
[the teacher submission] Submission of an example of the assigned work by the teacher
[assessment] The assessment of a submission by a participant using the assessment form. NOTE: All possible combinations of submission and participant must be possible: (1) student assessment of his own submission (a.k.a. "self assessment") (2) student assessment of another student's submission (a.k.a. "peer assessment") (3) student assessment of a teacher submission (4) teacher assessment of his own submission (5) teacher assessment of a student submission
[distribution] Distribution of student submissions for peer review
The complexity (and the main reason why Workshop is monolithic) arises from the final task:
[grading] calculation of the final grade
The six individual tasks could stand alone as a more-or-less independent Moodle activities which would be useful in combination with other activities, and not only as part of a Workshop:
[the assignment] We already have several distinct types of Assignment, so let's use them, rather than inventing yet another type of assignment like the one currently bundled with Workshop.
[the assessment form] A new activity created by lifting the assessment form code and user interface out of Workshop and making it a standalone activity. Assessment Forms can be created (and potentially reused) by teachers, and can be filled out and submitted by teachers and students. They are linked to assignments by id.
[student submission] This is already handled by the Assignment activities. For offline assignments, submission is a no-op (imagine that students post their work on the bulletin board in the classroom). For online or upload assignments, submissions can be linked to in a moddata directory and the directory exposed as a resource visible to students. Each student submission should have a opaque id but no other identifying information.
[teacher submission] If assignments are offline, the teacher posts the examples on a bulletin board. If assignments are online, teacher uploads examples to a moddata directory and exposes a directory resource to students. Each teacher submission has an opaque id.
[distribution] Distribution of student submissions for peer review can be implemented with a new general-purpose randomizing activity like Blind Choice (see MDL-10055). Students use Blind Choice to draw one or more id's randomly from a pool of id's. The id's are then used to identify the peer submissions those students are expected to assess.
[assessment] The Assessment Form activity allows users to fill out the form and submit it. Assessments are linked to submissions by id.
All that would be left for a umbrella "Workshop" activity would be to combine the grades from the loosely-coupled individual activities listed above and push the final grade to the gradebook. Thus, the stripped-down Workshop would encapsulate little more than a grading policy. It seems to me (as someone who knows very little about Moodle gradebook or other Moodle internals) that the most difficult work here would be adding new functionality to the gradebook.