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From Todd Lipcon <t...@apache.org>
Subject RTC vs CTR (was: Concerning Sentry...)
Date Mon, 16 Nov 2015 17:53:22 GMT
[editing subject since the discussion has veered away from Sentry]

On Mon, Nov 16, 2015 at 7:56 AM, Ralph Goers <ralph.goers@dslextreme.com>
wrote:

> And I have to disagree with you Joe. To me, a mandatory RTC policy says
> “we don’t trust anybody”. Sure, it doesn’t discriminate, but it is also a
> PITA. One project I mentored uses RTC along with ReviewBoard and mandates
> that you cannot commit your own work and every commit must be formally
> reviewed. I have found this process to be so onerous that I have never
> committed any code to the project, even though I really would like to.  I
> find the pace of this project to be fairly slow.  But it seems to fit
> within the corporate culture that most of the committers seem to work in.
>
> OTOH, I am involved in a project that uses CTR but where feature branches
> are frequently created to allow others to review and improve significant
> new work before it is integrated. As a consequence, new features are
> introduced at a much faster pace in this project.
>

I've seen this RTC vs CTR discussion come up a number of times over the
last ~6 years that I've been involved in ASF projects. For every strong
opinion in favor of CTR (like yours) there is a strong opinion in favor of
RTC (like mine).

The quick summary of my viewpoint is:

1) You're right, I don't trust anybody to make code changes to a complex
project with zero oversight. I currently work on a project that I
originally started, and was the only engineer on for a few months. Even
when I make changes to code that I wrote 100% of the module, I get others
to review my work, and you know what? It turns out better for it. Sometimes
they find bugs. Often they find areas where I didn't comment the code well,
design it as well as I could have, or missed potential performance
optimizations.

Coding's hard. Coding on complex projects is even harder. Some projects
aren't complex, and maybe on those a CTR policy makes a lot more sense. But
distributed systems, database storage engines, etc, are pretty hard to get
right, even for the "experts". I'm always glad to have a second pair of
eyes before I introduce a bug that takes down critical infrastructure.

2) Regardless of trust, code review helps build _shared ownership_ of code.
In community projects, without code review, it's easy to end up with "pet
features" or areas of code that only one person understands. When that
person moves on to new employment or new interests, the project is stuck
with a bunch of source code that no one understands how to maintain.
Forcing the original author to get some reviews before committing ensures
that there is a more likely path to project continuity after they move on
to new pastures.

3) Code reviews are a great way for engineers to learn from others in the
community. Earlier in my career, I certainly learned a lot from the
committers on projects like Hadoop and HBase where I "cut my teeth". And
even as a long-time committer on these systems, I still learn new things
from reviewing code written by newer members of the community. Review is
where a lot of the cross-contributor interaction takes place, so it helps
build a cohesive community.

Given #2 and #3, I see RTC as an extension of "community over code". Sure,
it might slow down the introduction of a new feature or fix to have to wait
to get a review from another community member. But, that's just code.
Getting more eyes and hands on the code builds the community.

After writing the above, I started to feel it was familiar and remember a
very similar discussion on hbase-dev last year:
http://mail-archives.apache.org/mod_mbox/hbase-dev/201508.mbox/%3CCA+RK=_Dz+_rZumfWVyA0tkvXTk4saEie6PWpgs2mxvSbQ8HOpQ@mail.gmail.com%3E
- I'd recommend people go check that one out to see the various viewpoints.

I don't anticipate that the above arguments will convince you, or anyone
else who believes in CTR, to change your mind. But, as mentioned in some
other recent incubator threads, let's not use the incubator as a
battleground for personal opinions. There are successful Apache projects
following all sorts of development models, and the important thing is only
that (a) projects build inclusive communities, and (b) projects follow
proper licensing/release/etc processes for legal reasons.

-Todd

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