Re: PATCH keyword, again

<quote who="Christian Neumair">

> Actually, this mockery notably reduces code quality and end user
> experience. Some damn useful patches are in Bugzilla since 2.2 or even 2.0
> days and nobody feels responsible. So average beginning hackers say "I
> don't write patches for module x, they won't be reviewed anyway".  This
> mail is not meant to insult overloaded maintainers but to clarify how sad
> the current situation is.

Perhaps it seems like a sad situation (or a "mockery", but I think that's an
unnecessarily offensive way to describe it), but it takes a lot of work and
TLC [1] to get hard-working maintainers to pay attention to your priorities.

But the good news is: You CAN help.

  * Summarise a list of patches that you care about and send it to the
    appropriate mailing list. Making sure maintainers understand the
    benefits and implications really helps if it's not in their field of
    interest or expertise. Not everyone groks internationalisation or a11y
    issues intimately - help them understand.

  * Send it again! Sometimes maintainers have an overflowing inbox, and find
    themselves handling new mail only - if you resend your patch, a summary,
    or a description of a problem (not every day, but in a reasonable time
    frame), the maintainer is more likely to see it, or understand that it
    is a serious problem. I can guarantee from experience on both ends that
    this *does* get results, and maintainers will often thank you for your
    persistence. Look at Patch-O-Matic in the Linux kernel community.

  * If it's a module you enjoy working with, or have significant interest
    in, establish a working relationship with the maintainer. Help them out
    where you can. Offer to commit patches after initial review, test things
    out and provide feedback, and so on.
  * If you excel at the previous point, and earn the trust/respect of the
    maintainer you may even have a shot at becoming co-maintainer or even
    full maintainer if they feel you're doing a great job. This is not some
    kind of sadistic collegiate initiation process - this is the circle of
    life in Free Software! Get Darwinian on maintainers arses! :-) [ This is
    great stuff if it happens, because it lets the original maintainer
    concentrate on other things, and you can have the satisfaction / fame /
    girls / sunglasses that are the hallmarks of GNOME maintainer success. ]

If the maintainer says no, well, not much you can do about that but appeal
to a wider audience (such as sub-projects and so on). But it's everyone's
responsibility to help maintainers get their stuff in - we have to help them
out as much as we can. :-)

You said above "so nobody feels responsible"... *Your* energy can kick it
off. :-)

- Jeff

[1] Tender Loving Care. Which roughly amounts to being nice. :-)

-- 2004: Adelaide, Australia
   For a list of reasons why technology has failed to improve our lives,
                              please press 3.

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