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From Mark Hindess <mark.hind...@googlemail.com>
Subject Re: [general] Remove @author tags from code (HARMONY-6348)
Date Tue, 13 Oct 2009 12:56:07 GMT

In message <9623c9a50910122312y7de4b5d5j7568786e226b9ea7@mail.gmail.com>,
Xiao-Feng Li writes:
>
> On Tue, Oct 13, 2009 at 8:03 AM, sebb <sebbaz@gmail.com> wrote:
> > [SNIP]
> >
> > The problem with @author tags in code is that they can very quickly
> > get out of date.
> > After a few years of edits, how much of the original code is left?
> > Have the tags been kept up to date? Does it really make sense to have
> > recognition in the source code?
> 
> Last time when this issue was discussed, my opinion is that:
> 1) Any new contributor of a file has the right to remove the old
> @author tag in that file;
> 2) If the new contributor removes the old @author tag, he/she should
> not add his/her own name in it;
> 3) If a file has no new contributor, the original author tag can be
> kept as is, unless he/she agrees to remove the name.
> 4) Agreed with Tim to keep a name list of contributors if their names
> are removed;
> 5) I support to remove all the occurrences of my name in all the
> files, no matter if there is a new contributor of not.

At what point does a new contributor have the right to remove the author
tag?  When converting tabs to spaces?  When adding annotations?  When
fixing a spelling mistake?  Consider:

  http://svn.apache.org/viewvc/harmony/enhanced/classlib/trunk/modules/security/src/main/java/common/java/security/KeyStore.java?r1=821750&r2=821749&pathrev=821750

While I appreciate Tim's contribution to this file, I'd question whether
removing the @author tag was really justified[0].  What do you think?

My goals are:

1) To give credit where it is due.  As discussed previously, I am in the
process of putting together a more thorough contributors page for the
web site.  I hope that this will provide a more visible reference point
for those wishing to cite their contributions.

2) To be consistent.  While I respect what you are trying to achieve
with list of "rules" for @author tags, I don't see how we will be able
to be consistent without going back over past commits and because there
is too much scope for interpretation with respect to what constitutes a
contribution worthy of removing an existing @author tag.

In my view the only way to achieve 2) is to remove them all and not add
any again.

> > Seems to me it's better to have a "contributors" page, for example as in:
> >
> > http://commons.apache.org/email/team-list.html
> >
> > Much easier to manage - and better visibility too.

I agree which is why I am doing this.

-Mark.

[0] Many @author tags have been removed and I've probably even removed some
    myself; this one was just the first I found that was questionable.



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