[Idle-dev] What to do with languishing patches?

Alexander Belopolsky alexander.belopolsky at gmail.com
Sun Jul 18 19:46:45 CEST 2010

On Sat, Jul 17, 2010 at 7:45 PM, Mark Lawrence <breamoreboy at yahoo.co.uk> wrote:
> On 17/07/2010 22:57, Terry Reedy wrote:
>> I am certainly reluctant to recruit others to help, as I did for #9222,
>> if there will be no action indefinitely.
> This is standard Python behavour.  The worst case I've come across is a
> patch that dated back to 2001 that had not been dealt with.  But I'm
> staggered as to how a third party supplies a patch for (say) 2.3, it doesn't
> get applied, then the issue tracker simply keeps updating the version
> targeted until we're now at 3.2.  That of course doesn't mean that anything
> will get done, better wait until py4.7?

If this is the reputation that Python gets as a project, I think it is
alarming.   I was going to dismiss Mark's comment as over dramatizing
the situation, but unfortunately it is not.

Let me focus on a specific example not because it is important, but
because it illustrates many different problems in an easy to
understand case.   The issue is http://bugs.python.org/issue1699259,
which is a very simple patch submitted back in 2007.   I came across
that patch a year an a half later and posted a review.  OP responded
the next day and posted an updated patch.  I gave the resulting patch
a positive review, but the timing was unfortunate because it was
during RC phase for 3.0.

At the time, I made a prediction that 'deferring [the patch] to 2.7
and 3.1 [was] virtually equivalent to closing with "won't fix"'.
That was quite right:  the next comment came a year later with "Moving
the 3.1 target to 3.2, since 3.1 is out" only to be forgotten for
another year to be rediscovered in Mark's recent crusade.

As I said, the issue is not an important one, but I noticed that OP
did not submit any other patch or commented on any other issue since
then.  It is impossible to tell if he was turned off by the lack of
attention to his patch, but I think it is likely that Python is
loosing contributors when they submit a patch, respond to reviews and
see their patch languish for no specified reason.

I think there is at least one improvement that we can make.   We can
set up a mechanism that will assure that acceptable patches that don't
get applied because they come at the wrong time in development cycle,
get applied early in the development of the next release.

We already have "posponed" and "remind" resolutions, but these are
exclusive of "accepted".   I think there should be a clear way to mark
the issue "accepted and would be applied if X.Y was out already."
Chances are one of the resolution labels already has such meaning, but
in this case it should be more prominently documented as such.

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