Gentoo Archives: gentoo-dev

From: Daniel Drake <dsd@g.o>
To: gentoo-dev@l.g.o
Subject: [gentoo-dev] Making the developer community more open
Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2006 23:03:58
1 "more open"? I can't think of a decent way to phrase the subject line
2 which might make it sound it was coming from a native English
3 speaker..ahem..anyway:
5 I read a complimentary comment from a Gentoo user recently (can't
6 remember exactly where, so this is from memory). It was something along
7 the lines of "Gentoo is great and will continue to be great for the
8 foreseeable future. You have built the required structure to keep up
9 with the rate of change in your environment (i.e. the increasingly rapid
10 rate of development of open-source sofware)."
11 (if anyone can point me to where I read that, I'd appreciated it).
13 I think there's a lot of truth in that, especially the way that he/she
14 highlights the fact that simply keeping up with what goes on around us
15 is key to our "survival".
17 I won't go as far to say that I *don't* think we can keep up with our
18 current "system", but I think there is plenty of room for improvement.
20 One of the bigger problems is that we have a huge user community who are
21 keen on contributing, but we have such a high barrier for entry to the
22 developer community. Quite rightly so - we're dealing with a live tree,
23 so we can't give out commit access on the street.
25 At the same time, I feel that we're missing out. Comparing Gentoo with
26 some other large open-source communities that I am personally involved
27 in, I feel that we're too closed.
29 A developer recently compared Gentoo dev-ship to a marriage. In an ideal
30 world, sure, we'd love for every single person who makes any kind of
31 contribution to the project to become a full-time contributor who never
32 goes AWOL or sleeps with another project. But more realistically, I
33 think we need to become more open and flexible - as volunteers, people's
34 interests change, some people will stop contributing after they have
35 fixed whatever problem motivated them to contribute, etc. How can we
36 handle this better?
38 We have a large expense on both sides when adding a developer to the
39 project. I personally have lost developer candidates, undoubtedly more
40 technically experienced than myself, who simply did not have the time to
41 go through a month-long recruitment process which involved studying
42 various documents not even relevant to the small area they would be
43 contributing to. On the other side, it's a fair expense to add a
44 developer to the project due to all of the
45 quizzing/assessing/account-creating/access-elevation/...
47 Additionally, a significant percentage of developers who have joined
48 recently have gone AWOL after a few months. That hurts us, given the
49 expense we went through recruiting and adding them, and the time needed
50 to reverse that and retire them.
52 I am not claiming this is an easy problem to solve - we do need to be
53 especially careful that any changes made do not decrease the quality of
54 commits to the live portage tree. This is why I am asking for help.
56 I'm looking for ideas - preferably big, drastic, shiny ones. Ignore any
57 issues relating to migration away from our current system. What would be
58 the _ideal_ way for Gentoo to handle contributions from anyone? (note
59 that I'm dropping the user/developer community separation in that
60 question, as the boundary between those could change in these ideas)
61 How would an ideal recruitment process work, if there would be one at all?
63 Please try and keep replies on-topic - I'm not trying to start a
64 discussion/flamewar on the current recruitment system or anything like that.
66 To get you thinking, I suggest reading the section titled "Open
67 Development Team" at
69 which is part of a (very good) larger article detailing why Linux kernel
70 development works so well.
72 Any ideas?
74 Daniel
75 --
76 gentoo-dev@g.o mailing list


Subject Author
Re: [gentoo-dev] Making the developer community more open Ciaran McCreesh <ciaranm@g.o>
Re: [gentoo-dev] Making the developer community more open Bret Towe <magnade@×××××.com>
Re: [gentoo-dev] Making the developer community more open George Shapovalov <george@g.o>
Re: [gentoo-dev] Making the developer community more open Alin Nastac <mrness@g.o>
Re: [gentoo-dev] Making the developer community more open Thomas Cort <linuxgeek@×××××.com>
Re: [gentoo-dev] Making the developer community more open Brandon Edens <brandon@××××××.edu>
Re: [gentoo-dev] Making the developer community more open Stuart Herbert <stuart.herbert@×××××.com>