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From "Danny Angus" <>
Subject RE: Author Tags
Date Tue, 12 Aug 2003 08:42:51 GMT
Henri wrote:

> Code responsibility means that even though anyone may leap in and hack on
> a piece, the long term future of a piece of code is the responsibility of
> known people. Effectively code-ownership [bad] is implementation while
> code responsibility [good] is design. Author tags signify code
> responsibility.

The James project recently removed @Author tags from all of our code, and
the world didn't end.

In a new project with many new contributors contributing large amounts of
code I would expect that the value of avoiding any notion of ownership and
the rise of fiefdoms would far outweigh the benefit of attribution *in the
code*. Particularly so if the codebase is expanding to such an extent that
only small teams with special interest are actually directly involved with
certain encapsulated (isolated?) packages.

In dynamic projects such as these (Apache) it is my opinion that status and
changelog files are a much better indication of whom to liase with than
historic @Author tags, particularly as the project matures and the people

James provides a page of credits where people can be publicly named and
thanked which I believe is also more appropriate than @Author tags. We have
also discussed the use of CVS keyword replacement "$id$" (is that right?) in
the @Author tag to at least identify the last comitter to work on a file.
The jury is out on the merit of that one, as it is carried into the released
javadocs, which may be problematic as the comitter may not be the actual
author of the changes.

I would expect that any external (non-contributor) requests for help would
be better directed to the appropriate list and not the @Author, and likewise
I would also expect any responsible contributor to review the change log and
relevant commit logs for the code they are interested in if they want to
discuss issues with a specific previous author. Otherwise the normal means
of communication (dev- lists) can be used as normal.


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