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Re: Doc build hanging (with memory leak?)

From: Graham Percival
Subject: Re: Doc build hanging (with memory leak?)
Date: Mon, 14 May 2012 16:00:53 +0200
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.21 (2010-09-15)

On Mon, May 14, 2012 at 01:48:54PM +0200, Joseph Rushton Wakeling wrote:
> On 14/05/12 11:41, David Kastrup wrote:
> >
> Before saying anything more, I'm sorry if my earlier email was
> offensive or intemperate; it wasn't meant to be.


> I was writing out of concern for the ease of contributing to
> LilyPond (more on that in a moment).

I agree that it's harder to contribute than it should be.
However, I am confident in stating that the summary for
experienced developers is the best we can offer new (experienced)
contributors given our current system and the amount of
time+effort+interest the current developers have in mentoring new

It's not ideal, but it's the best compromise I can find.

> If I understand correctly, Rietveld is a server-side app.  My
> objection isn't to Rietveld per se, but to the requirement to use a
> custom app on my system to get my code _into_ Rietveld.  This seems
> to be Rietveld's fault, so I'm sorry if it seemed like I was
> apportioning blame to the LP team.

You can upload to rietveld without our custom app (but using a
different one); I think you can even upload without any app at

The reason we push our own git-cl (custom app) is that this keeps
track of patches for us.  Before we started using it, we lost
approximately 10-20% of patches.  "lost" as in "hey guys, I sent a
patch three months ago, has anybody looked at it?".  Or even
sadder, not having any follow-up at at all and completely losing
that work.

Of course, even in the "three-month inquiry" case, it sometimes
still led to completely losing that work because git master had
changed sufficiently that there were many conflicts (or else the
patch just didn't make sense any more given the changed

If you think that's a horrific record, then I quite agree.  If you
think that somebody should take responsibility for new
contributors / new patches... well, that would be nice, but that's
historically been lacking in lilypond.  Best compromise?  put the
onus on patch submitters to submit with our special tool, which at
least ensures that we won't lost their patch.

Assuming that our current amount of interest in new patches stays
constant, I am certain that turning away contributors unwilling or
unable to run git-cl is doing them a favor in the long run.

> I was just astonished to be asked to run a tiny doc
> patch through a code-testing service.

If you're lucky, somebody might offer to handle the "red tape" for
you.  But that would be a matter of individual luck and somebody
individually offering.

> I'll add an extra story which may give some context to my reaction.
> That experience may have coloured my reaction when a small and
> easy-to-include patch, knocked off as a friendly gesture to try and
> make sure someone else didn't have the same scary experience I did
> with the new doc build system, got in response a terse instruction
> to submit it via a complicated and unfamiliar set of custom tools
> whose whole raison d'etre is to test code, not docs.

It was terse because I'm on vacation but I still need to deal with
lilypond crap because it's likely that nobody else will.  I've
spent 6 hours sightseeing in Munich, but I'm spending the rest of
the day in the hotel room doing lilypond, reviewing academic
conference papers, and if I'm lucky working on my thesis.
Tomorrow I'll go see the "science and technology" museum (maybe 4
hours?), then spend the rest of the day in my hotel room again.

> I'm not trying to suggest that anyone is evil, bad or stupid, but it
> really didn't seem to me to be the best way to handle things for a
> case like this.

Given the numerous problems that new contributors face, I believe
that the most honest response is to discourage them.  No, it's not
easy.  No, you won't get a lot of help.  If that's not for you,
then please wait a few months and try again -- hopefully things
will be better then.

This is not a pleasant policy, but I'm trying to save you guys
(there have been other new contributors as well) a lot of
heartache.  It would be easy for me to write a "feel-good" email
that encouraged you to keep on trying, but that would be dishonest
since I know how hard it will be.

- Graham

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