How are [MAINTAINER] patches handled and why aren't PRs FIFO?

Matthias Andree mandree at
Thu Apr 28 18:52:39 UTC 2011

Am 27.04.2011 13:54, schrieb Jerry:

> Personally, I believe that the current system, if not partially broken,
> is far from ideal. I would prefer to see a system where each submitted
> PR is assigned a specific number (I believe it is actually) and then
> assigned in numeric order to the next available committer. That
> committer would then be responsible for either committing the
> PR/Port/Whatever within a preset time frame, or informing the original
> submitter why the said article was not/could not be approved at the
> present time. Allowing a submitter to languish while pondering what has
> become of their document certainly does seem justified.


I know from the times when I wasn't a committer that it was sometimes
frustrating if PRs were lingering for weeks.

Your idea of assigning ports to committers rests upon the assumption
that all port/update submissions were equal with respect to the
sub-tasks to be performed by a committer, and/or the required skills.

I for one am not knowledgeable about Ada or the related build systems
such as GNAT ports, so I'd not usually pick up such a PR - Robert Huff
mentioned something similar yesterday.

Then there are many more non-trivial commits, with downstream
dependencies, or dangerous to other ports, and these require more
thorough testing, building downstream ports, possibly an experimental
build of ALL ports, the so-called -exp run, documenting updating
requirements and so on.  These take time, and I've recently returned a
port which, thankfully, mentioned "-exp run advised" or similar, that I
couldn't tend to due to vacation, lack of time for holiday preparations,
never having requested an -exp run before IOW I'd need to get acquainted
with the procedures, and all that.

> I am sure that the old, "But they are all volunteers", or some such
> tirade will erupt. It must be remembered that those who submit items for
> approval are also volunteers. They deserve at least as much respect as
> those who are actively working on those submitted items.

True enough, but I think that committers are not disrespectful.  I know
that intent and feeling are different matters.

I agree that transparency of the "why hasn't my PR been addressed" would
be desirable to maintainers, but I don't see a technical solution to
that, meaning that it requires manual action by committers.

One idea might be to team up maintainers with committers somehow (I
don't know how yet), so some kind of who-is-who list that Robert
mentioned, might be useful. Providing it's up to date. But it requires
setting up and maintenance, too.

Again, I don't believe this kind of neglect is deliberate, as
frustrating though it may be.

Yes, we committers can do better, and it seems we're in some kind of
unfreezing before a non-trivial change, and that thinking and talking
about *how* to change our procedures has started and looks promising
IMHO, and I've also skimmed Charlie-Hester's-stepping-down thread with
pity (although I believe some misunderstanding, possibly across language
boundaries, on both sides was a major part of that problem)

It all will require some work before we will have changed though,
procedural changes don't happen in a few days.  Not with 20000+ ports
and established policies and procedures behind us anyways.

So if we can abstract away from the frustration of individual ports not
getting addressed to ideas HOW we can PRACTICALLY improve, we may
actually achieve that desired improvement.

I hope you can bear with us while we ponder the required changes.


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