Improving the handling of PR:s

Matthew Seaman m.seaman at infracaninophile.co.uk
Sat Jan 12 02:27:54 PST 2008


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Mark Linimon wrote:

> It's clear that there are several people who want to help process the
> PRs, and we don't have a good answer for them on "how can I contribute?".
> The existing tool, and social conventions, don't allow for non-committers
> to change PR states.  As far as we've done in the past is to grant people
> "GNATS access" rights but not "commit rights", on an experimental basis.
> We've done this twice, and although it has worked well, just two people
> isn't enough.  (One has gone on to become a full committer -- which is
> great!; the other current does not have as much time for FreeBSD work).
> Several hundred PRs were dealt with by these two folks, so I consider the
> experiment a success.
> 
> What we used as a qualification was "track record of responding to PRs and
> questions on mailing lists", fwiw.

Most of my experience with submitting PRs is ports related.   If I
post a PR against a port I maintain then I'm pretty certain that it
will be dealt with in a matter of days.  PRs against other ports take
perhaps a week.

On the other hand, I've put in occasional PRs against the base system
- -- where it's a whole other story.  My favourite is a patch I sent in
to allow using k, M, G etc. as order of magnitude modifiers on find(1)'s
- -size predicate.  It was committed recently after sitting in the PR
database untouched for about 3 years.

As I understand it, I think the reason for this difference in performance
at resolving PRs is because there is a body of ports committers that
basically expect to spend a lot of time committing other people's work,
whereas src committers are generally focussed on their own projects and
tend to commit what they or people closely associated with them have
developed.

Perhaps part of the answer is to create a new cadre of people with commit
rights over parts of the src tree.  These would be relatively junior people
whose principal function would be to review and commit contributed patches,
or bring them to the attention of any of the more senior people if the
contribution warranted it.  Senior people benefit by having fewer irrelevant
distractions.  General FreeBSD users benefit by knowing that contributions
they make will be considered more promptly.  People that volunteer for this
benefit by gaining a broad introduction to the src code base -- surely a
useful step for anyone with ambitions towards full committer-hood.

	Cheers,

	Matthew

- -- 
Dr Matthew J Seaman MA, D.Phil.                   7 Priory Courtyard
                                                  Flat 3
PGP: http://www.infracaninophile.co.uk/pgpkey     Ramsgate
                                                  Kent, CT11 9PW
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