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Re: [Qemu-devel] An organizational suggestion

From: Ian Jackson
Subject: Re: [Qemu-devel] An organizational suggestion
Date: Tue, 3 Jun 2008 16:04:58 +0100

Paul Brook writes ("Re: [Qemu-devel] An organizational suggestion"):
> I'd just like to point out that committing patches is easy. The hard
> (and time consuming) bit is identifying, rejecting, fixing and/or
> making constructive comments on all the bogus patches. The are lots
> of patches that fall into this latter category, e.g. patches that
> have clearly only ever been tested on x86 targets.


>  It doesn't take any special privileges to do this patch review.

That's true, but it doesn't tell the whole story.  Anyone can
criticise a patch (and we do).  But while review by a non-committer is
very helpful, it still doesn't mean that the committer doesn't have to
do review of their own.  After all the committer is actually the
gatekeeper and has the personal responsibility to commit good code.

Also, review and improvement of patches by non-committer contributors
depends on the contributors' expectation that patch will be accepted
when it is good.  There is no point in people reviewing and commenting
on and improving patches if the maintainers don't have the time or
inclination to get those refined patches actually reviewed by them and

As I've written earlier (in, for example, this message which never
even got a response despite being essentially a repost[1]) I've found
trying to contribute here it a very frustrating experience.  I've
submitted over the past months a number of patches to test the waters
and found that even with the best will it is extremely hard work to
get the attention necessary.

It is easy to get (largely constructive) critical comments on the
list, but when all of the problems are resolved and you think you have
consensus, you end up posting repeated begging messages saying
`please, is there something wrong with my patch, why aren't you
committing it?'.

This is very discouraging for people trying to contribute.  I imagine
it is also discouraging for the Qemu committer team because they are
constantly faced with these pleading nagging messages.

It also reduces the quality of the incoming patches, because it is not
worth spending a lot of effort double-checking and testing a
contribution if the likelihood is that it will be ignored for weeks or
months until it no longer applies cleanly.

Do you really think there isn't a problem ?  I see plenty of pleading
messages from other people but if I like their patch I'm powerless to
help.  I also see occasional outbursts of frustration, which obviously
happen even though people prefer not to complain.  After all,
complaining usually doesn't help because it just makes everyone
more demotivated.


[1] http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/qemu-devel/2008-05/msg00809.html

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