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Re: What a modern collaboration toolkit looks like

From: Eric S. Raymond
Subject: Re: What a modern collaboration toolkit looks like
Date: Tue, 1 Jan 2008 15:57:57 -0500
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.15+20070412 (2007-04-11)

Alan Mackenzie <address@hidden>:
> > IRC functions as a kind of triage on such changes.  If we can't resolve
> > a problem in real time, we fall back to the mailing list.  This happens
> > much less often than I myself would have expected before I became used
> > to this style.
> Again, how can the Emacs developers do this?  Some of us live in North
> America, others in Europe, East Asia and New Zealand, possibly other
> places too.  We're never all going to be on line at the same time.

No, and that's true on the Battle For Wesnoth project, too.  In
particular, we have for some reason a large contingent of developers
in Germany, including the release manager.  But the project founder is
West Coast US; I and a couple of the other most active senior devs are
East Coast US.  So we're spread from GMT-1 to GMT+8.

It works out, though.  We all monitor #wesnoth-dev constantly.  Well, OK,
my IRC client is often minimized, but the task-bar entry for it glows
discreetly orange when Chatzilla sees my name mentioned.  

> Surely this process would promote a minority clique who would be making
> all the decisions.

You do gradually gain status by being available when you're needed.  And 
you do lose influence when you're not around for a while.  But there's
no cliquishness about it -- all you have to do to have a place in the 
discussion is show up, really.

I went from newbie to senior dev in about four months by (a) pitching
in doing a lot of work, and (b) often being available because I was
working late at night when the Germans were waking up and joining IRC
for the day.

After a while the Germans started feeling unwilling to make large
decisions without having me in on the conversation and partly adapted
themselves to *my* schedule.  I think one of the tipping points there
was when the release manager (not a native English-speaker) started
always having me spell-check the release announcements before he
shipped them.

> For me, silence means _nothing_ flashing or moving on the screen (except,
> perhaps, a cursor), no garishness, {scroll,tool,menu} bars switched off,
> and absolutely nothing like a dialog boxes exploding in my face.

Chatzilla is your friend, then -- no flashy bits.  Avoid Xchat.
> OK.  So we'd be modifying our goal of "bug free, exhaustively tested at
> each major release".  This might be good, might be bad.

More likely we'd relax our standards for point releases at the six-week
marks and do maybe two or three major releases a year with careful 
                <a href="http://www.catb.org/~esr/";>Eric S. Raymond</a>

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