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Re: Contributing to SVN (was: Re: [PATCH] Adding tests for some functions in svn_checksum.h in SWIG bindings for python)

From: Shivani Poddar <shivani.poddar92_at_gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 4 Apr 2013 03:35:27 +0530

Hi Stefan,
I appreciate the immense help and guidance given by the subversion
community and agree that the tasks I have been pursuing haven't been
particularly easy for me (although I did cater the confidence that i will
be able to catch up.). You are right in saying that I would instead need to
focus on tasks which match my skill set more than the ones which I would
want to pursue since I took them up in the first place. Thanks a lot for
those options, I will certainly look into those and try being more towards
the contributing side and a little less on the "querying" side.
Yes, being from a CS stream, I would rather prefer coding based tasks,
though it is absolutely justified for me to take up say things like FAQ
maintenance since they will enhance the little knowledge I have as of now.

Thanks,
Shivani

On Wed, Apr 3, 2013 at 5:52 PM, Stefan Sperling <stsp_at_elego.de> wrote:

> On Tue, Apr 02, 2013 at 05:18:46PM -0400, C. Michael Pilato wrote:
> > I confess I'm a bit confused by the early parts of the test changes,
> which
> > appear to be more about testing the 'random' module and less about
> testing
> > Subversion.
>
> Hi Shivani,
>
> please allow me to divert this discussion away from the patch you
> are submitting. I think there is a need to make a more general point
> about your approach to contributing to the Subversion project.
>
> We appreciate your contributions very much, but from my point of view
> it is becoming increasingly clear that your current contributions to
> the bindings do not have a good chance of getting anywhere (and I'm
> quite sure others share this opinion). I hope what I'm about to say
> below will prevent you from eventually giving up in frustration.
>
> I would like to encourage you to drop the bindings task in favour of
> some other task, a task that more closely matches your current skill level.
>
> As I've mentioned before, the bindings task is one of the items I put
> up on the OPW ideas page without much consideration, and it is not an
> easy item to tackle for a novice programmer.
> Based on the submissions you've made during the OPW application phase,
> as well as after, and based on the feedback you've received since,
> I'm convinced the bindings task requires skills that you don't have yet.
>
> And furthermore, I don't think the Subversion community has the capacity
> to teach you these skills. This is not because we wouldn't like to, it
> is because we are only equipped to deal with contributions from submitters
> who are self-reliant in the sense that they can digest feedback without
> requiring further help beyond the hints can we communicate via email
> during patch review.
>
> Teaching things that go further beyond a contributor's level of
> expertise is something that colleges and universities are equipped to do.
> But open source projects cannot do this. Open source projects rely on
> participants to assess their own skill level and pick an appropriate
> task based on that self-assessment, or acquire the necessary skills
> themselves without relying on much help from the community. If necessary,
> participants need to be able to drop a task that they recognize is too
> hard for them and focus on something else. Usually this happens
> automatically, but in your case it seems you need a gentle push ;)
>
> And please keep in mind that not many Subversion developers know the
> bindings
> very well, which means that your patch submissions have a fairly limited
> audience. If you made submissions which can be handled by more people you
> would experience quicker turnaround and get more feedback.
>
> Off the top of my head, here are some alternative tasks I think you
> could work on in a more productive way:
>
> - Share the patch manager role with Gavin Baumanis, see
>
> http://subversion.apache.org/docs/community-guide/roles.html#patch-manager
> This would give you a good idea about the kind of changes others
> are working on. You'll also be paying more attention to the way
> people react to patch reviews. Perhaps being patch manager for a
> while will help you with finding a suitable coding task as well.
> You could also try reviewing patch submissions from others to
> gain more technical experience as part of this role.
>
> - Become an FAQ manager. We'd have to define the exact details of
> this role first, but I think some maintenance work on the FAQ is
> in order as it is partly outdated and probably has many omissions.
> This task can give you broad knowledge of Subversion, since the FAQ
> contains a wealth of information on various areas and subsystems,
> which you'd be maintaining and extending.
> This way, you might find an area that sparks your technical interest
> and that is more accessible to you than the bindings are.
> You might also be able to make important contributions to the
> Subversion book (see http://svnbook.red-bean.com).
> However, this is pure documentation task, so I'm not sure if you'd
> really like to do this. It is a good precursor for a technical task
> though.
>
> - Try to tackle the "Improve 'svn help'." item on the OPW ideas page:
> http://subversion.apache.org/opw.html
> This task involves both documentation and code changes, but the code
> changes should not be very difficult to perform and to review. Pretty
> much any Subversion developer can review patches to 'svn help' so
> you'll have a larger audience when making contributions in this area.
>
> - Try to update the CHANGES file on trunk to list important changes
> that were made during the 1.8 development phase (since 1.7.x was
> branched in r1145993). This is usually done by a group of people
> since the number of changes made since the last minor releases is
> too large for a single person to comb through. However, someone needs
> to organise this effort and find volunteers, which is something you
> could do. See here for how this was done in the past:
> http://svn.haxx.se/dev/archive-2008-03/0088.shtml
> A few changes are already listed in CHANGES for 1.8, but there are
> many more which could be listed, no doubt.
> This is not a technical task either, and has similar implications
> as the FAQ manager task, and also involves community management
> which is a very important aspect of open source development.
> Moreover, it needs to be done, since there is nobody currently steering
> this effort and the 1.8.0 release is approaching. So there is a gap to
> be filled and you're welcome to give it a try.
>
> I cannot think of any other tasks to suggest right now. But I'm sure there
> are more. If you have any ideas yourself please share them. Ideas from
> others
> are also welcome, of course.
>
> Thanks!
>
Received on 2013-04-04 00:06:00 CEST

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