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From Bertrand Delacretaz <>
Subject [POLL] author tags and credits
Date Fri, 02 Apr 2004 09:43:07 GMT
Hi all,

We've just had a lively discussion on #cocoon about this: basically the 
ASF is *recommending* (no obligation) that @author tags in our files be 

See also

Basically the outcome of our discussion is that we agree on removing 
@author tags, but we still want to give due credit to contributors, and 
not lose the existing credit information.

Here are our suggestions, please comment!

a) stop using @author tags
Besides the ASF's legal reasons for doing this, they're often out of 
sync after some time, and do not reflect the "importance" of someone's 

At the extreme, someone could add their name as @author when they do 
"housekeeping changes" on files, like when updating licenses. This 
means the value of @author tags is usually low (but read on).

b) give due credit
We all agree that due credit must be given, be it for small patches, 
small modules or big earth-shaking ideas.

Here's the plan:
Committers indicate in the CVS log messages when committing code 
created by someone else

Credit for small things/patches won't go into individual files anymore, 
but in the existing status.xml file (using @due-to attributes in 

Credit for "big earth-shaking ideas" or "important work" goes into the 
existing CREDITS.TXT file, subject to a vote to keep this 
infomeaningful. Things like the Cocoon core, sitemap processor, Flow, 
Forms go there, with a short history of how they came to be.

c) mention CREDITS.TXT in every source file
Do we want to add a "author information has moved to CREDITS.TXT and 
status.xml" notice to each file where we remove @author tags?

d) "levels" of credit
Small contributions and patches are mentioned in status.xml, in 
addition to traces in the mailing lists and CVS logs.

Major contributions are mentioned in credits.txt, subject to a 
commiters vote

e) do not lose existing credit
Before removing @author tags, generate a map of @author names to 
filenames and keep it in CVS for some time.
This allows information that might be missing from the existing 
status.xml to be added, respecting the contributions which might have 
been done without corresponding entries in status.xml


-Bertrand, reporting for FirstFriday #cocoon folks

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