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From "Geir Magnusson Jr." <ge...@apache.org>
Subject Re: [project policy] Author credit and attribution
Date Sun, 02 Oct 2005 04:55:18 GMT

On Oct 2, 2005, at 12:22 AM, acoliver@apache.org wrote:

> I prefer them.  I've never had any of the problems that happened in  
> Avalon or other projects in any project I've been involved in.   
> Author tags do not signify ownership, they signify "I wuz here".   
> They are also a principle reason that a lot of newbies get involved  
> in open source because they can point potential employers to look  
> at code that they wrote (I know a few of this).

Sure, but not having an author tag doesn't take that away.  I really  
like them for newbies, but I also have no empirical evidence that  
people contribute more eagerly with an author tag...

> They also make it WAY more convienient to say "Hey andy why did you  
> do this dumb thing here?" rather than have to figure out who did  
> that dumb thing.

Author tags don't actually solve that either when there are more than  
one author.  You still have to go look at the log.

> I do recommend omitting email addresses as those just help spammers  
> and tend to create useless name change commits.
> I'm also the most guilty offender of forgetting to include my  
> @author tag on projects that require it :-)

They are very seductive, but I think can be a negative in the long term.

Being aggressive on recognizing the contributions on the contributor  
page and AUTHOR files should balance the somewhat debatable theory  
about newbies.


> -Andy
> Geir Magnusson Jr. wrote:
>> Might as well do this, now that we are getting in code by the  
>> bucketful.
>> One of the fundamental notions of an Apache project is the notion  
>> of  community ownership - that this is _our_ project,  
>> collectively.   However, this collective project is composed of  
>> significant  individual contributions, contributions which we want  
>> to recognize.   So the problem we have to solve is how to balance  
>> these two ideas.
>> The Apache Board has recommended that projects not employ author  
>> tags  in their source code.  The main motivation for this  
>> recommendation is  to remove "territorial ownership" from code.
>> I've worked in projects that did it, and some that didn't.  When  
>> tags  were there, I think it gave people a chance to 'sign' their  
>> work, and  I'll be the first to admit that when I did my first- 
>> ever commit that  had my name on it, I was proud!  It's a natural  
>> thing to be proud of  our work.  The flip side was that I've seen  
>> it lead to people  believing they "own" a piece of code because of  
>> the tags, I've seen  "keeping up with the joneses" where every  
>> contributor adds an author  tag, no matter what, leading to  
>> strange feelings about what is the  level that makes on an  
>> "author"....  For example, reformatting w/  eclipse?
>> When we started Geronimo, we decided to not use author tags, and   
>> we've never looked back - it just didn't matter.
>> Now, if you look around the foundation codebases, there are  
>> author  tags historically, and some projects just chose to ignore  
>> the  recommendation and use them.
>> My preference is to not have them here in Apache Harmony, but  
>> that  said, I want to make sure that contributors are recognized  
>> for both  general participation as well as significant 'bulk'  
>> contributions.   To solve that, I can think of two things offhand :
>> 1) We should have a page like the HTTP project (you know, the  
>> "Apache  webserver")
>>    http://httpd.apache.org/contributors/
>> where we have a list of our committers and their ongoing  
>> activities,  and a section noting the contributions that the  
>> project accepted.
>> 2) In order to get attribution closer to the code, we could also  
>> have  an "AUTHORS" file per module, so that we'd easily know who  
>> is working  on what - if you are a committer working on a module,  
>> you'd add your  name to the list.  Additionally, if there was a  
>> bulk contribution  that seeded a module (like the three contribs  
>> we have now), we can  have a note about that at the top of the  
>> AUTHORS file such as  "ArchieVM originally contributed by Archie  
>> Cobbs"  (yeah, I know we  aren't calling it ArchieVM...) or  
>> something like that.
>> Thoughts?
>> geir
> -- 
> Andrew C. Oliver
> SuperLink Software, Inc.
> Java to Excel using POI
> http://www.superlinksoftware.com/services/poi
> Commercial support including features added/implemented, bugs fixed.

Geir Magnusson Jr                                  +1-203-665-6437

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