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Becoming a core committer

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Becoming a core committer

Postby bugman » Fri Aug 21, 2015 9:40 am

IAHM-COL wrote in Thu Aug 20, 2015 11:03 pm:
The core committers will adjudicate on any disagreement and reserve the right to revoke commit rights.


O_o.... Power :D

Can I put my name in the ballot to run for Core Commiter...?


There is no ballot system in a meritocracy. To become a core committer, you just need to contribute lots of good stuff to the FlightGear project - directly to the core infrastructure and/or repositories at https://sourceforge.net/projects/flightgear/.

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Re: Aircraft content and the way forward

Postby Thorsten » Fri Aug 21, 2015 9:43 am

O_o.... Power


I guess it's hard to tell someone like you that the admin of a repo is legally responsible for what happens on it. So it goes without saying if your repo is, say, used for distributing pirated products, you are obliged to stop the activity - if necessary by revoking commit rights. Also, you wouldn't possibly consider revoking someone's commit rights if he sabotages your repository because that can't possibly be happen because we all know people never fight and always behave decently with nobody in charge of anything, don't we?

Can I put my name in the ballot to run for Core Commiter...?


So far you've done everything in your power to make sure this will never happen.
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Re: Aircraft content and the way forward

Postby Hooray » Sun Aug 23, 2015 2:14 pm

Subject: Aircraft content and the way forward
IAHM-COL wrote in Thu Aug 20, 2015 11:03 pm:Can I put my name in the ballot to run for Core Commiter...?


As has been explained to you previously, there are several things involved here - but in general, you are unlikely to become a core committer without also having a track record of doing related work. Even more so, your chances of becoming a core committer are much better by being a regular user of the devel list - forum users, rarely, if ever, tend to end up with commit privileges. Regarding the other comments, it is true that you need to be somewhat "accomplished" to be granted with commit privileges, so having a certain reputation certainly helps.

Then again, there's a rather sizable list of FG contributors who made significant (and even unprecedented) contributions, such as the sport's model branch (John Denker) or the osgEarth integration (poweroftwo) who still didn't end up with commit privileges.

Whereas much less accomplished contributors (without any remotely similar track record), did end up becoming core committers.

So becoming a core committer is judged on an individual basis and unfortunately not at all a formalized process - for the project, it would actually be good to conduct regular nominations/polls based on people's involvement (patches etc) to maintain some fresh blood - so far, there are only two project maintainers who are bold enough to provide commit access to newcomers (namely, James Turner (Zakalawe) and TorstenD (Torsten on the forum).

Either way, without having a track record of understanding C, C++ and preferably OSG and some parts of the SG/FG eco-system you are very unlikely to end up with commit access to the main repositories (and rightly so).

For the record, some of the more senior contributors literally spent years contributing through patches before they obtained CVS/git access, as per the devel list comments by Curt, Stuart and others, quoted at: viewtopic.php?f=42&t=26115&start=90#p241400 and viewtopic.php?f=42&t=26115&p=240987
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Re: Becoming a core committer

Postby psadro_gm » Wed Aug 26, 2015 2:41 pm

a bit off topic, but a coworker of mine always listens to the TED talks, and we were discussing this.

TLDR: your 'reputation' index will most likely replace your credit score in the future, effecting things like mortgage interest rates, etc.

https://www.ted.com/talks/rachel_botsman_the_currency_of_the_new_economy_is_trust/transcript?language=en
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Re: Becoming a core committer

Postby Hooray » Wed Aug 26, 2015 4:25 pm

I don't think it's offtopic at all - but I also don't think that you will find much evidence to support the notion that long-time contributors who didn't end up with commit access, are generally not considered "trustworthy", I think this has more to do with being considered a PITA or causing too much havoc - even if that just means that certain patches are too invasive (or simply too much work) to be considered - equally, we've seen recurring discussions on the devel list where core developers would admit that there's a certain "chicken & egg" problem with some patches, because they're touching unmaintained parts of the code, without anybody around feeling qualified/comfortable reviewing/committing those, let alone accepting responsibility (maintenance) for the corresponding commits/features in the long term.
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Re: Becoming a core committer

Postby Thorsten » Wed Aug 26, 2015 6:20 pm

Unless you want to suggest that the existing core developers play it generically unfair, the question seems to be boiling down to a pain to gain ratio.

Gains involve manpower and possibly technical expertise in some sub-field (although people can in principle make use of this expertise contributing without commit rights via patches), pains involve invasive commits without proper understanding, breakage downstream or changes of the direction the project is heading.

You (and others) seem to be of the opinion that it doesn't hurt if fresh people who come with a whole new set of ideas enter the scene and that personality clashes are a sub-leading issue, I (like others) believe that a project can only absorb so much and maintain coherence.
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Re: Becoming a core committer

Postby Hooray » Wed Aug 26, 2015 6:44 pm

I am not trying to suggest anything

unfortunately, you seem to misunderstand - but for the record, I suggest you check out the corresponding postings in the archives, i.e. statements made by those very core developers, who happen to realize that there's a certain attrition rate, as well increasing barrier to entry.

I don't disagree at all with the notion that this also does have its benefits, i.e. stability and long-evity of the project being the foundation for the very pillars of the project, i.e. those who are willing to take up with all this.

While you certainly belong to the camp of people who don't seem to mind all this, you may not be aware of the circumstance that you are also among the beneficiaries of these circumstances, simply because quite a few of your very contributions certainly would have also faced quite some resistance, had there been active maintainers around (thinking in terms of Nasal or GLSL work, that ended up being committed without any formal review).

In particular, Nasal contributions were pretty rigorously reviewed by mfranz back in the day, and other core developers like ThorstenB stated quite clearly that they won't volunteer to re-architect advanced weather or other code, despite not exactly meeting the quality standards of those who are no longer involved in the project.

So I am quite aware of the benefits of something not being actively maintained, and of all the stability and longevity, caused by a certain degree of inertia and lack of momentum when it comes to general project oversight or management.

Yes, it is obviously a pain/gain issue - just like you and I don't volunteer to do certain tasks (chores), unless there's a certain RoI to be expected.
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Re: Becoming a core committer

Postby IAHM-COL » Wed Aug 26, 2015 10:05 pm

Hooray wrote in Wed Aug 26, 2015 6:44 pm:
unfortunately, you seem to misunderstand .


:lol:
I'm not surprised. :oops:
pain/gain....
What kind of masochistic world some of you live at?
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Re: Becoming a core committer

Postby Thorsten » Thu Aug 27, 2015 5:42 am

but for the record, I suggest you check out the corresponding postings in the archives, i.e. statements made by those very core developers, who happen to realize that there's a certain attrition rate, as well increasing barrier to entry.


It's somewhat above my paygrade, but it seems an odd notion that the core developers are all of the opinion that we urgently need more people but for some unknown reason just don't do anything about it.

The inevitable conclusion would be that either the core team is schizophrenic, or that there's some issues perceived with some candidates (which are, maybe for reasons of politeness, not dragged out into pubic view). Making an educated guess, I'd go for the second hypothesis.

While you certainly belong to the camp of people who don't seem to mind all this, you may not be aware of the circumstance that you are also among the beneficiaries of these circumstances


Beneficiaries? Wow.

This actually used to be all fun when AW was still on my harddisk and I could just toy with things myself, never worrying about any bugs I don't see myself... I honestly can't say that commit rights have made me a happier person.

I guess it depends on what your goal is. If it is influence, then I am a beneficiary. If it is working out solutions to interesting problems, then I really am not.

What kind of masochistic world some of you live at?


I guess the fact that you still were not kicked from the forum and only got restrictions for posting on the list despite a month of spreading falsehoods and personally attacking people tells you a lot about how much pain some people are willing to bear in the name of openness.
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Re: Becoming a core committer

Postby erik » Thu Aug 27, 2015 7:40 am

In the end it all comes down to:
1. Are there enough core developers with enough time on their hands to review and commit the patches.
2. If not do we (there is some consulting between core developers) think a person knows enough about the inner workings of FlightGear not to screw up the code too much. Also when reviewing and committing code from others.

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Re: Becoming a core committer

Postby bugman » Thu Aug 27, 2015 8:18 am

I would like to quote some text from one of my favourite references for open source projects - Producing Open Source Software by Karl Fogel - as I think it is relevant for this thread. The exact mechanics of how people become core committers is slightly different between open source projects - the exact example in this text is for the Subversion project - but I believe that the general principles apply here and that the core FG developers already follow all of these principles:

Choosing Committers

In the Subversion project, we choose committers primarily on the Hippocratic Principle: first, do no harm. Our main criterion is not technical skill or even knowledge of the code, but merely that the person show good judgement. Judgement includes knowing what not to take on. Someone might post only small patches, fixing fairly simple problems in the code, but if her patches apply cleanly, do not contain bugs, and are mostly in accord with the project's log message and coding conventions, and there are enough patches to show a clear pattern, then an existing committer will usually propose her for commit access. If at least three people say yes, and no one objects, then the offer is made. True, we might have no evidence that the person is able to solve complex problems in all areas of the code base, but that is irrelevant: the person has made it clear that she is capable of judging her own abilities, and that is the important thing. Technical skills can be learned (and taught), but judgement, for the most part, cannot. Therefore, it is the one thing you want to make sure a person has before you give her commit access.

When a new committer proposal does provoke a discussion, it is usually not about technical ability, but rather about the person's behavior in the project's discussion forums. Sometimes someone shows technical skill and an ability to work within the project's formal guidelines, yet is also consistently belligerent or uncooperative in public forums. That's a serious concern; if the person doesn't seem to shape up over time, even in response to hints, then we won't add her as a committer no matter how skilled she is. In an open source project, social skills, or the ability to "play well in the sandbox", are as important as raw technical ability. Because everything is under version control, the penalty for adding a committer you shouldn't have added is not so much the problems it could cause in the code (review would spot those quickly anyway), but that it might eventually force the project to revoke the person's commit access--an action that is never pleasant and can sometimes be confrontational.

Some projects insist that the potential committer demonstrate a certain level of technical expertise and persistence, by submitting some number of nontrivial patches--that is, not only do these projects want to know that the person will do no harm, they want to know that she is likely to do good across the code base. This isn't necessarily harmful, but be careful that it doesn't start to turn committership into a matter of membership in an exclusive club. The question to keep in everyone's mind should be "What will bring the best results for the code" not "Will we devalue the social status associated with committership by admitting this person" The point of commit access is not to reinforce people's self-worth, it's to allow good changes to enter the code with a minimum of fuss. If you have 100 committers, 10 of whom make large changes on a regular basis, and the other 90 of whom just fix typos and small bugs a few times a year, that's still better than having only the 10.


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Re: Becoming a core committer

Postby Thorsten » Thu Aug 27, 2015 1:59 pm

It strikes me as a very reasonable text.
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Re: Becoming a core committer

Postby erik » Thu Aug 27, 2015 5:09 pm

It occurred to me that I used the phrase 'core developer' wrong. Everybody who submits patches is a core developer. There is just a group op developers doing quality control in the best interest of every user.

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Re: Becoming a core committer

Postby Johan G » Thu Aug 27, 2015 5:20 pm

Thorsten wrote in Thu Aug 27, 2015 1:59 pm:It strikes me as a very reasonable text.

Indeed it does.

I think it also corroborate nicely with the things I have heard in a couple of talks by Brian 'Fitz' Fitzpatrick and Ben Collins-Sussman, though they refer to him themselves. For links to those talks see this and this post.

From those talks, my experiences in this community and the little I have read from POSS, it seems social skills and not contributing too big chunks at a time are far more important than technical skills and even previous experience (whether or not one is a committer).
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