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Re: Features, releases and team work

From: Garrett Rooney <rooneg_at_electricjellyfish.net>
Date: 2007-03-28 10:52:30 CEST

On 3/28/07, Karl Fogel <kfogel@red-bean.com> wrote:
>
> By the way, I don't agree that Subversion has actually been suffering
> from a lack of focus yet. We've been slow about getting to releasable
> state, but in terms of new features, we're doing great: merge tracking
> is hugely useful, sparse directories is medium useful.
>
> Let's not invent problems that we haven't actually encountered yet. I
> do agree with Erik that some more team focus would be healthy, but
> more for reasons of release schedule than for focus on new-feature
> direction. When we find ourselves sitting around wondering "What on
> Earth can we add to Subversion to make it better now?", then it's time
> to worry! But we're nowhere close to that. We've got distributed VC
> features to add (possibly involving a libsvn_wc rewrite),
> merge-tracking to maintain and develop... The near- and medium-term
> future is by no means a blank slate.

Personally I'm of the opinion that Subversion development feels
different these days than it did in the early days of the project for
one simple reason. The code does (mostly) what it was intended to do,
and thus the driving motivation is somewhat gone. It's easy to get
motivated to work on a version control system when you're stuck using
a shitty one all day long, it's less easy to get motivated to improve
a reasonable one because, well, it often stays out of your way and
doesn't piss you off. Not to say that there aren't things about
Subversion that occasionally piss me off, but they do it rarely enough
that I don't make it as much of a priority.

The lack of a driving goal with built in motivation has two end
results. First, you don't have the same core of developers doing the
work, because they're largely done with what they wanted to do.
Second, the ones you do have (both old and new) really are scratching
their own itches, which results in the kind of development you see
today, smaller features, less big-bang type releases that do
incredible new things, etc.

Honestly, I'm not sure there's a good way to "fix" this, and I'm not
sure it really needs to be fixed anyway. In many ways it just is what
it is.

-garrett

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Received on Wed Mar 28 10:52:48 2007

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