[python-committers] RFC: Process to become a core developer

Nick Coghlan ncoghlan at gmail.com
Sat Dec 9 02:41:17 EST 2017

On 8 December 2017 at 04:21, Antoine Pitrou <antoine at python.org> wrote:
> Le 07/12/2017 à 19:01, Victor Stinner a écrit :
>> IMHO the current blocker issue is that it is too hard to become a core
>> developer.
> I don't think so.  It should not be harder than it was in 2010, yet we
> are promoting way less core developers than we did.  See previous
> discussion.

I'll note that one thing that *has* changed since then is that we've
been putting a lot more emphasis on software distribution via PyPI.

Part of that is the Python 2.7 feature freeze (so if you've wanted to
deliver new functionality to Python 2 users, you've *had* to use PyPI,
even if you're already a core developer), part of it has been improved
tooling and other enhancements (pip was first released in 2011, and
first bundled with CPython in early 2014), and part of it has simply
been recognition that CPython rollout cycles through the full
redistributor network are inherently slow (even 7 years after its
initial release, Python *2.7* is at less than 100% penetration, with
some infrastructure projects only just beginning to drop Python 2.6
support now).

So while better enabling folks to bypass us entirely may seem like a
weird thing to celebrate, I think it actually is worth celebrating,
since it takes both us and our redistributors out of the critical path
for the evolution of the Python ecosystem as a whole - we can serve
more as popularisers of concepts & techniques initially defined
elsewhere, rather than having to drive that exploration of the
available design space ourselves.

I think we've also had a lot of success in bringing the developer
experience for core devs and non-core-devs closer together - while
*technically* we can push directly to the main repository, very few of
us actually do so. Even when we end up self-reviewing a change, we'll
still typically run it through the PR process so Travis et al get a
chance to run their pre-merge checks. Changing from "I need someone
else to push the merge button for me" to "I push the merge button" is
now more a difference in level of responsibility than it is a marked
change in the contribution experience.

That said, I'm still happy that Victor is taking the initiative to
investigate our processes here, and look to make things a bit more
objectively data-driven - when volunteers are mentoring and managing
other volunteers, it's even easier for unconscious biases to come into
play than it is in a more explicitly professional setting.


Nick Coghlan   |   ncoghlan at gmail.com   |   Brisbane, Australia

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