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From "Craig R. McClanahan" <>
Subject Re: Tomcat 4.0 Milestone 4
Date Sat, 04 Nov 2000 05:44:42 GMT

"Rob S." wrote:

> Hi Mike,
> > to these projects (Tomcat), but maybe some of us are intimidated by the
> > level of apparent expertise required for this stuff. (Then again,
> For me, it's a combination of expertise and startup time.  The time and
> effort for us (re: aspiring, psyched Java guys), to get from "Read something
> in STATUS.HTML" to "Implement feature" or "Fix bug" is pretty scary, for me
> at least!
> Then again, by the time you go from read bug -> fix bug, you'll have learned
> tons.  I'm sure you've had similar experiences when you have to fix
> something tiny in something you've never worked on.  By the end of it, you
> know their code probably better than they did, or else you wouldn't be in
> there fixing it ;)  Of course all code has bugs, etc. just an exaggeration
> of course.

But therein lies one of the large benefits of open source ... the guys that
originally wrote it *always* have blind spots somewhere or the other.  More eyes
== better debugging ==> better code quality.

Note to self + aspiring OSS developers -- be prepared to accept the fact that
people are going to find really stupid mistakes in code you thought was
"perfiect".  Case study -- some of the really silly things that have been caught
in Tomcat 4.0 so far :-)

Fortunately for everyone involved, though, we're catching lots of these *before*
it's released "ready for prime time", rather than after.

> > for the last decade? Do you have the servlet spec pasted on your wall?
> I completely know what you mean.  I save most all of the messages coming out
> of Sun and from other people who post a lot.  The stuff these guys say is
> just gold (most of the time =)  I really should get around to reading the
> specs, which I have Xmas ear-marked for.

I can give you a couple of really useful spec URLs if you need them :-).

> > if I could help make it a more viable option for everyone
> > (including myself
> > and my company) then I would love to do it.
> This, and a combination of what I think Costin said (re: desire to fix
> something that's bothering you?)...

also known as "if you find an itch, scratch it" ... same basic attitude.

> I thought the docs were in pretty
> hurting shape when I was trying to learn Tomcat, which you can glean from
> the amount of questions I originally posted to the user list =)  so anyways,
> yeah I took that on between summer-fall semesters and laid off when school
> started again.  OH yeah, and there was this NullPointerException I used to
> get all the time, so I traced it down in the source but someone had already
> fixed it in a 3.2beta.  I didn't know HOW to fix it, I just saw where it
> happened.  I learned a lot about the source, and it was pretty cool.

But do you also see the community benefit here?  Even if you don't know how to
fix it, pointing out the problem meant someone else could immediately look at
the relevant code and say "well, duh...".

> W.t.h. am I talking about again?  I dunno, it's too late.  I hope something
> I said made sense!


> - r


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