[Python-Dev] Encouraging developers

Phil Thompson phil at riverbankcomputing.co.uk
Tue Mar 6 00:26:46 CET 2007

On Monday 05 March 2007 9:38 pm, Thomas Wouters wrote:
> On 3/5/07, A.M. Kuchling <amk at amk.ca> wrote:
> > >From <http://ivory.idyll.org/blog/mar-07/five-things-I-hate-about-python
> >
> >         4. The patch mafia. I like everyone on python-dev that I meet,
> >         but somehow it is annoyingly difficult to get a patch into
> >         Python. Like threading, and the stdlib, this is a mixed
> >         blessing: you certainly don't want every Joe Schmoe checking
> >         in whatever crud he wants. However, the barrier is high enough
> >         that I no longer have much interest in spending the time to
> >         shepherd a patch through. Yes, this is probably all my fault
> >         -- but I still hate it!
> >
> > FWIW, I have a related perception that we aren't getting new core
> > developers. These two problems are probably related: people don't get
> > patches processed and don't become core developers, and we don't have
> > enough core developers to process patches in a timely way.  And so
> > we're stuck.
> >
> > Any ideas for fixing this problem?
> A better patch-tracker, better procedures for reviewing patches surounding
> this new tracker, one or more proper dvcs's for people to work off of. I'm
> not sure about 'identifying core developers' as we're all volunteers, with
> dayjobs for the most part, and only a few people seem to care enough about
> python as a whole.

I don't think that that is true. I think a lot of people care, but many can't 
do anything about because the barrier to entry is too great.

> Putting the burden of patch review on the developers 
> that say they can cover it might easily burn them out. (I see Martin handle
> a lot of patches, for instance, and I would love to help him, but I just
> can't find the time to review the patches on subjects I know much about,
> let alone the rest of the patches.)
> While submitting patches is good, there's a lot more to it than just
> submitting the 5-line code change to submit a bug/feature, and reviewing
> takes a lot of time and effort.

So there is something wrong there as well.

> I don't think it's unreasonable to ask for 
> help from the submitters like we do, or ask them to write tests and docs
> and such.

Of course it's not unreasonable. I would expect to be told that a patch must 
have tests and docs before it will be finally accepted. However, before I add 
those things to the patch I would like some timely feedback from those with 
more experience that my patch is going in the right direction. I want 
somebody to give it a quick look, not a full blown review. The process needs 
to keep people involved in it - at the moment submitting a patch is 


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