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Re: Looking to hire Software Engineers to Help Develop Subversion

From: David Richards <david_at_wandisco.com>
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 2010 17:20:20 -0800


Firstly, thank you for caring about Subversion - we *do*, passionately.

1. The feeling of a lack of progress is not new and it's not just
"WANdisco's big customers" as you put it. I don't think I am blaming any
individual - it's just a fact of life as I said "*We are not happy with the
volume, speed or participation on the project right now*". This is not new -
it's been a criticism since 2007. In fact these [fundamental] requirements
have been around and published since then. What we are saying, in fact, is
that Subversion cannot live in a vacuum - there is no point in us
complaining about a lack of action. That will achieve *nothing* about from
wasting time. As I say at the outset "*We are not doing this for direct
commercial reasons. We are doing this to protect the future of Subversion.
We are doing this because we care. We are doing this because we need to. We
are doing this because it is the right thing to do.*"

2. On the question of the road-map / commit logs. Firstly WC-NG, httpv2 etc
were already in train and we were already working on those things. Julian
Foad, for example, one of our core developers was actually a long way into
obliterate but he *had* to switch over to 1.7. I therefore don't regard 1.7
as an issue with the road-map. There are more immediate issues that *must*
be tackled now, ideally in parallel associated with branching & merging.
 Developers are working hard but there simply aren't enough of us, for
whatever reason, *actively* working on the project right now. Not
a criticism - just a fact of life.

3. On the question about "answering questions on user lists". Note I did say
"*Blogging, or answering questions on user lists are important*" Active user
lists are a good measure of an open source project and so is commits. I have
already received several offers to help code and that is *very* much

4. "unscrupulous committers decide to commit trivial changes in large files
to simply get their stats up." I'm not going to go into that here but I
repeat that the best way to create open source developers is by hiring great
people who create wonderful source code. The core developers of Subversion,
in my experience, are amazing individuals who maintain and create the best
SCM product on the planet I am *not* repeat *not* criticizing or setting any
of you / them in a bad light. that will *never* happen.

Johan, I hope this set's the record straight. We knew that by doing this
that we would open ourselves up to criticism.
We have tried alternative paths to effect change on the project but we feel
that now it the time to act.

Feel free to contact me directly and I am more than happy to talk directly
with you.

- David

On Tue, Dec 21, 2010 at 3:53 PM, Johan Corveleyn <jcorvel_at_gmail.com> wrote:

> On Tue, Dec 21, 2010 at 9:32 PM, David Richards <david_at_wandisco.com>
> wrote:
> > On Tue, Dec 21, 2010 at 12:25 PM, David Weintraub <qazwart_at_gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >>
> >> On Tue, Dec 21, 2010 at 3:03 PM, Pablo Beltran <pablo_at_svnflash.com>
> wrote:
> >> > Hi,
> >> >
> >> > I have no doubt about those all features will be good for the future
> of
> >> > Subversion, from a technical point of view.
> >> >
> >> > On the other hand, the underlaying message scares me. The message is
> >> > clear:
> >> > Apache can't drive the development process by itself and only Wandisco
> >> > can
> >> > do it in the right way and in timing.
> >> >
> >> > And I think that this exceeds Subversion project and undermines
> Apache's
> >> > authority.
> >> >
> >> > Today is Wandisco and Subversion. Tomorrow could be Oracle or
> Microsoft
> >> > doing the same with other project. I would not like see Apache become
> in
> >> > a
> >> > silly Software Factory.
> >> >
> >> > But of course, I have not enough knowledge about how Apache internally
> >> > works
> >> > and perhaps I'm saying a very great stupidness. So, my apologizes for
> >> > that
> >> > if that is the case.
> >> >
> >>
> >> I am going to look at this a bit differently: Has IBM taken over
> >> Linux? A majority of the changes in Linux are done by IBM paid
> >> employees. IBM has its own goals and its own ideas about what they
> >> want to do with Linux.
> >>
> >> However, I believe most people feel that Linux isn't an IBM project
> >> despite the massive amount of work done by a single company.
> >> Basically, IBM benefits from Linux, so they do a lot of code work,
> >> sometimes working on areas that have been previously neglected. The
> >> better Linux is, the more IBM can sell Linux solutions.
> >>
> >> Subversion has had a lot of problems since version 1.5 has come out.
> >> Basically, the merge/branch tracking isn't that great. In fact, many
> >> people prefer the 1.4 version which doesn't make any pretensions about
> >> tracking branching and merging.
> >>
> >> Meanwhile, many people feel Subversion is past its prime. Many open
> >> source projects are moving from Subversion to Git. Actually, this
> >> makes sense for open source projects, but it is beginning to affect
> >> commercial applications. People are starting to push Git as a
> >> commercial SCM package.
> >>
> >> I recently pointed out on another list that I might recommend a piece
> >> of software I don't think is as good as another piece of software
> >> simply because the "inferior" product plays better with the other
> >> software the company uses and because users are more familiar with it.
> >>
> >> I might not like Git as a commercial version control system, but if
> >> most developers are more familiar with Git than Subversion, and 3rd
> >> party products start integrating with Git in better ways than they
> >> integrate with Subversion, guess what I'm going to start to recommend.
> >>
> >> So far, Subversion isn't being forked, and a fork would not be good
> >> for WANdisco. They are heavily dependent upon people selecting
> >> Subverson as a version control system. What they want to do is fix
> >> some of the underlying issues Subversion has had for the last three
> >> years and get the Subversion project to accept them. I can't see any
> >> reason why the Subversion project would reject them. After all,
> >> Subversion was once run by CollabNet which had commercial interests in
> >> Subversion. Yet, no one complained about CollabNet "dominating" the
> >> project.
> >>
> >> I hope that WANdisco is able to fix many of the issues that have been
> >> plaguing Subversion for years. I don't believe that those who are
> >> leading Subversion have "failed", but that a private company
> >> committing resources to an open source project can be a good thing.
> >>
> >> --
> >> David Weintraub
> >> qazwart_at_gmail.com
> >
> >
> > David,
> > Absolutely correct!
> > Your analysis / explanation is much better than my own. Thank you.
> > - David
> >
> I like the "call for action", and the intention to invest more in the
> development of Subversion. However, I do not like the blog entry. I
> may be overly sensitive to this kind of thing, but I'm rather
> antagonized by the paragraph "Hang on a Minute! Didn’t the Community
> Just Announce A Road Map?".
> I can feel the frustration with the lack of progress (or translated
> frustration of Wandisco's big customers). I understand this
> frustration (I feel it too sometimes), and the desire to do something
> about it (that's why I got involved myself). However, this paragraph
> has an undertone of blaming it on lack of involvement/dedication by
> the community and developers, and bad behavior by some developers.
> This is not a good way to motivate the community positively to work
> with you, it's a negative message. At least that's how it sounds to me
> (admittedly, I may not have the full picture of all that's going on,
> but so do probably most readers of the blog).
> I'm specifically talking about the following sentences:
> - In answer to the question "Didn't the community just announce a road
> map?": "Yes they did, but that’s pretty much all that happened (and
> that really pisses us off.) "
> What? I'm subscribed to the dev-list and the commits-list for that
> last year and a half, and I've seen a *ton* of work being done. Yes,
> it can always be more/better/faster or more predictable, but it's not
> that nothing has been done. And I always thought it was kind of
> obvious that work on new stuff from the roadmap would have to wait for
> 1.7 to be finished. Ok, 1.7 is slipping, but it seems it was harder
> than anticipated. Regardless, I see a lot of people working hard. So
> I'd just say: thanks to all the people who keep up the good work.
> - "The commit logs (code committed by developers to the project) tell
> the real story. We are not happy with the volume, speed or
> participation on the project right now. "
> I know (hope) you're probably not criticizing all those volunteers
> spending their free time on Subversion, but it can be read that way.
> As a participant in the user community, and beginning contributor
> dev-wise, I feel kind of personally attacked by your unhappiness with
> my lack of participation.
> - "Blogging, or answering questions on user lists are important, but
> so is writing source code."
> Ok, the software needs to work, and features need to be developed. But
> I do hope you're not down-playing answering questions on the user
> list. I can't stress enough how important this list is to a lot of
> users (and how many people put in countless hours to help out others).
> Also, I think it's great that there are some developers who follow the
> users list closely, answering some difficult user questions with
> detailed explanations, backed by knowledge of svn internals. Ok,
> that's time they aren't spending on coding, but IMHO it's time very
> well spent.
> - "We also believe it’s unhelpful when certain unscrupulous committers
> decide to commit trivial changes in large files to simply get their
> stats up. That behavior has no place in any open source project; it’s
> a bad form and wastes everyone’s valuable time."
> What? What are you talking about? I have seen nothing of the sort. Ok,
> as I said, I only see part of the picture, so I might have missed
> something. But even if it's true to some extent, I don't think it's a
> good idea to make some vague accusations about it in this way. It puts
> all committers in a bad light. Besides, even if this were the case, is
> it really that big of a deal?
> Cheers,
> --
> Johan
Received on 2010-12-22 02:21:20 CET

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