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From "Antonio Gallardo" <>
Subject Re: @author tags (WAS: RE: ASF Board Summary for February 18, 2004)
Date Fri, 27 Feb 2004 11:24:32 GMT

I agree with this POV. Initially, I had concerns about how to know who is
behind what code to later be able to ask about. Now, I think the maillist
will be enough to ask.

Another related issue:

In Cocoon, we have some HTML docs in the Website that are related to the
authors. Need we to remove the author tags there? Example:

See the down right corner of the following pages: : "by cocoon-dev" "by Cocoon community"

The samples, show we have not settled a "standard norm" to this label in
the website. We need this label? If so, then how we will fill it?


Best Regards,

Antonio Gallardo.

Dirk-Willem van Gulik dijo:
> On Feb 27, 2004, at 12:45 AM, Conal Tuohy wrote:
>> I don't think the ASF should discourage developers from keeping useful
>> metadata about the code inside the source files. What better place to
>> put the metadata than in the code? This makes it more likely to be
>> used and kept up to date than if it was stored somewhere else, IMHO.
> One way to look at this is that @author tags are in a way factually
> 'wrong'; in most cases it just signals which person wrote the  first
> skeleton of that code; but subsequently it was fixes, peer-reviewed and
> looked at by a whole community. Also do not forget the many people in
> your community which help with QA, Documentation, user-feedback and so
> on. To put  one person in the (hot) seat for what is essentially a
> group effort is not quite right.
> Looking through the CVS logs of a few tomcat files: each block of 30
> lines seems to have had commits of at least 5 persons; with a median of
> 6 and an  average of 9. The average number of @author tags on those
> arbitrary blocks is about 0.5. And that is not counting QA, docs,
> suggestions of mailing lists, bug resolutions, user support. I.e. those
> things which make tomcat such a great supported product.
> Secondly what we 'sell' as the ASF brand is a code base which is peer
> reviewed, quality controlled and created by a sustainable group which
> will survive the coming and going of volunteers. One where knowledge is
> generally shared and not just depended on one single individual. This
> is one of the key reasons why large companies, governments, etc have a
> lot less qualms about using apache than using most other open source;
> we mitigate  the worry that it depends on a single person, and can
> implode or fork without warning, right from the get-go.
> Finally - a lot of developers do live in countries where you can get
> sued. The ASF can provide a certain level of protection; but this is
> based on the KEY premisse that there is oversight and peer review. That
> what we ship is a community product; and that everything is backed by
> the community and cannot be attributed to a single person. Every commit
>   gets peer review; ever release requires +1s' and are backed by the
> community as a whole. @author tags are by necessity incomplete and thus
> portrait the situation inaccurately. Any hint or suggestion that parts
> of the code are not a community product makes defence more complex and
> expensive. We do not want to temp anyone - but rather present a clean
> picture with no blemishes or easy go's.
> And to give this a positive slant; be -proud- of this culture; be proud
> of being part of something larger of incredible  quality. Each of you
> did not just write a few pesky lines of code surrounded by an @author
> tag; but where instrumental in getting the -whole- thing work ! And if
> you are ever trying to understand why cocoon made it this far, and
> other commercial/open-source projects did not, then do look there;
> quality and a sense of long term stability.
> Take Care, Have fun,
> Dw

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