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state of the release: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

From: Graham Percival
Subject: state of the release: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Date: Wed, 26 May 2010 14:39:29 +0100

Time for my monthly report on bugs and the ever-elusive goal of
2.14.0.  I'm building 2.13.22 now; there was a minor problem, but
that's hopefully been resolved.


2.13.22 fixes 3 Critical issues.  In other news, Patrick has been
doing an amazing job as a Bug Squad member, and James Lowe and Colin
Campbell are getting the swing of doc work.  For the first time in
over a year, I'm cautiously optimistic that we can maintain the status
quo without losing important information.


We've found a number of new regressions; we're back up to 14 Critical
issues.  I'm still expecting another 10 Critical issues to be found
before 2.14, but I was hoping to get the code-related Critical issues
down to less than 5, announce a "beta version", then get reports after
that.  I have to admit that not even managing to get into "beta"
status before having a new onslaught of bugs is somewhat demoralizing.

In the "avoid losing info" side of things, although I'm cautiously
optimistic that any *new* info won't be lost, we still have a number
of lost items from the past few months, and no volunteers to go on an
archival dig.  I know that archeology isn't as sexy as Indiana Jones
makes it out to be, but it's still an important job.


We have 10 issues with patches attached; 3 of them fixing Critical
issues.  Some people might view this as a positive thing -- hey, we
have people sending fixes! -- but I'm counting this as "ugly" because
it means that we're not supporting each other enough.  I'd like to see
a more effort put towards reviewing and finishing patches.

I know that checking the "multi-measure rests dependent on prefactory
matter in other staves" patch isn't as sexy as working on new
features... but we've all had the frustrating experience of asking for
comments on one of our patches but having complete silence in return.
I think we'd all feel better (in the long run) if we all bit the
bullet and did a lot more reviewing of other people's patches.  Yes,
it's an unpleasant task -- but if you review A's patch, then hopefully
A will review your patch.

Another "ugly" problem is that we've had a few new people wanting to
help with various tasks.  Again, some people might view this as a
positive thing -- and in general it certainly is -- but we're seem to
be really stretched for developers right now.  And we've all read (or
are aware of) the "mythical man-month"... trying to add new developers
right at the end of development cycle generally doesn't help.  OTOH,
turning away a genuine offer of help is a truly "ugly" thing to do.

The Contributor's Guide is supposed to handle the initial training of
helpful people (or, at the very least, separate the seriously-helpful
from the non-seriously-helpful)... but this doesn't help when certain
parts are out of date.  Anybody feel like working on this?  If not, it
can wait until I'm preparing for GOP -- but that means turning away
genuine offers of help for development tasks for the next 2-4 months.


We're in better shape than we used to be, but LilyPond development
still sucks in many ways.  I'm now estimating 2.14.0 to be six months

- Graham

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