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From Murray Altheim <>
Subject Re: author-tags Was: Trunk is now open for 2.8 stuff.
Date Mon, 31 Mar 2008 08:56:58 GMT
Janne Jalkanen wrote:
>> I don't know anybody who goes to the trouble of reading the SVN logs,
> Yes, you do.  I completely and utterly rely on them instead of the 
> @author-tags to see what happened.  The SVN logs say who approved the 
> code into the SVN, which means that that person is responsible for the 
> code.  *Not* the patch submitter (which is what the @author should 
> say).  Or are you implying that we should blindly accept code which we 
> don't understand and defer responsibility to random patch submitters?

No, of course not. To reiterate, I am implying exactly what I wrote: that
the original author of a class is the one identified in the @author tag,
with the understanding of what that means, i.e., that that does not (nor
would anyone believe) include everyone who has touched that file. It does
(as I wrote) state who initially wrote it, who knew the reason for it, and
who is most likely (if they are still around) to understand it. I
understand the value of the SVN logs, but if I want to ask somebody about
the AAA code, I can ask the list, but I can also target Andrew (on the
list) since I know he wrote it. If I note that the person identified in
the @author tag hasn't been seen for two years, then I would expect that
I'd be mostly on my own. It is in either case valuable information.

>> and
>> I think it's not realistic to think anybody who downloads and looks at
>> code is going to do so.
> Yes, they will, if there are no @author-tags.  And it's better to target 
> the mailing list anyway instead of particular people.

As above, I meant on the list.

> Case in point: The author of LuceneSearchProvider has not contributed 
> anything in what, two years?  Yet he still stands in as the @author.  
> Would you go to him to ask for help, or should you go to the mailing list?

I'd ask the list, but I would likewise *know* that the author hasn't
been seen for two years, information that would be lost if the tag had
been removed.

>> It's not that @author identifies every contributor,
>> it identifies someone who knows what the code does, why it was written,
>> and who is most likely to know how to fix or modify it. That is very
>> valuable information, even for Apache projects.
> That is not true even for my own code.

You're saying you have your name on code you don't understand?

>> really, really a bad idea to throw out metadata, even if it's not
>> *entirely* accurate (and for @author tags, I'd argue that within
>> limitations, they're largerly accurate for their intended purpose).
> Well, I am going to remove my authorship from the code anyway, since 
> they mostly bother me instead of giving me any concrete benefits.

Perhaps as lead on this project you have a different perspective. On
other projects I've been involved with the @author tag has been helpful.


Murray Altheim <murray07 at>                           ===  = =                                     = =  ===
SGML Grease Monkey, Banjo Player, Wantanabe Zen Monk               = =  = =

       Boundless wind and moon - the eye within eyes,
       Inexhaustible heaven and earth - the light beyond light,
       The willow dark, the flower bright - ten thousand houses,
       Knock at any door - there's one who will respond.
                                       -- The Blue Cliff Record

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