[Python-Dev] GSoC 2010 is on -- projects?

Stephen J. Turnbull stephen at xemacs.org
Wed Mar 31 10:41:47 CEST 2010

anatoly techtonik writes:

 > I would vote for allowing student work on community infrastructure
 > tasks. Tracker, Wiki, Web site management tools are all outdated and
 > everybody who cares agrees that they've seen a better tools.

I've also seen *much* worse tools in actual use.  You don't have to
look any farther than macports.org and GNU Savannah for examples of
implementations of individual tools that are much worse, and overall
usability that is clearly worse, than Python's environment.

Over and over again I have seen short-term volunteers pick the best-
reputed software of the day, run out of steam just getting the old
data ported over to the new host software, leaving behind a disgrace.
(This is what happened to MacPorts Trac, it would seem -- it took 4
years for them to get an explanation of how to search for bugs on a
given port on the top page of the issue tracker, and you still have to
type queries like "?PORT=python26" by hand in the browser address
field![1])  In other cases, the old data is never successfully ported
at all (a common way to migrate from one VCS to another).  So while
improving the infrastructure is clearly a good thing, it is not a good
idea to have people without *long-term* commitment to maintenance
*changing the tools themselves*.

I would recommend changing the tools only if *current* maintainers are
either planning to step down (and so we face the problem of how to
support maintenance in the future in any case), or are willing to
supervise (ie, the people who will come back and fix problems in the
future find the proposed "improvements" to be real improvements).  Eg,
MvL should be intimately involved in any move to use different
software for the tracker.  If the GSoC student(s) is (are) willing to
work within the constraints of the existing software (ie, incremental
improvements), then the constraints on mentors could be substantially
relaxed to any of the senior folks who have recently contributed in
those areas.

[1]  Actually, it may be even worse than it looks -- IIUC, macosforge
has paid staff!

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