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Re: Emacs contributions, C and Lisp (was: Re: /srv/bzr/emacs/trunk r1013

From: Jorgen Schaefer
Subject: Re: Emacs contributions, C and Lisp (was: Re: /srv/bzr/emacs/trunk r101338: ...)
Date: Wed, 19 Feb 2014 08:05:24 +0100

On Mon, 17 Feb 2014 22:29:47 +0200
Eli Zaretskii <address@hidden> wrote:

> > There are a few other minor problems for me. For example, my last
> > foray in adding a patch to Emacs was so scary regarding the amount
> > of red tape involved in the whole process that I am somewhat
> > reluctant to commit to doing that regularly.
> What red tape?  Emacs is about the most red-tape-less project as you
> can find, as far as the procedure of admitting a patch is considered.

If I want to contribute to Emacs, and I want to be good contributor, I
have the following things to keep in mind:

- Make sure I have done my copyright assignment, and for larger work,
  do the same for all contributors.
- Read etc/CONTRIBUTE and follow all the steps
- Which asks me to read the GNU Coding Standards
- Oh, and "Tips and Conventions" in the emacs Lisp Reference
- Learn a new tool (bzr), for which I have to read
  (and re-read every time I make a contribution, because bzr is close
  but suitably different to my usual tools)
- Make sure I edit the right ChangeLog in the right format
- Remember that the commit message uses the same format as the
  ChangeLog, and not the usual, lighter, commit message format used by
  other (git-based) projects
- Possibly remember the NEWS entry and the manual update
- Remember to add the right "fixes" tag to the bzr commit if I
  fixed a bug
- Have the nagging feeling in the back of my head that if I submit a
  patch for review, and get told "please install", I have to fight bzr
  again, or face the real possibility of being berated and attacked
  publicly on the mailing list, which I have seen happen to at least
  one other contributor. (Though I should say that the last time I made
  some contribution mistake, I got a very friendly mail from Stefan
  asking me to remember the things I forgot next time, a much nicer
  tone than I am used to from some other projects.)

I'd not be surprised if I forgot something.

And if I am thinking about contributing a full package, I have to
commit to following all of that for the foreseeable future, too.

Now, do not get me wrong. I am not complaining about these requirements
(so, re-reading the Wikipedia entry on "red tape" I guess the term was
badly chosen, sorry, not a native speaker; what's a good term for
"*lots* of regulation and rigid conformity to formal rules", as opposed
to "*excessive*"?), but I do think it's important to keep in mind that
these procedures exist. They do exist for various reasons, usually good
ones, but they do reduce the appeal of contributing.

Emacs just thinks it's more important to have those procedures than to
have more contributors. Which is a perfectly valid decision to make.


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