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From Jeremias Maerki <...@jeremias-maerki.ch>
Subject Re: Status report for August 2009
Date Sun, 09 Aug 2009 09:44:00 GMT
On 09.08.2009 10:58:07 Simon Pepping wrote:
> On Fri, Aug 07, 2009 at 11:00:48PM +0200, Jeremias Maerki wrote:
> > On 07.08.2009 22:09:01 Simon Pepping wrote:
> > > On Fri, Aug 07, 2009 at 09:59:42PM +0200, Jeremias Maerki wrote:
> > > > 
> > > > Other interesting statistics:
> > > ... snip ...
> > > Thanks for the links.
> > > 
> > > > Generally, the (updated) report sounds fine.
> > > > 
> > > > One thing that concerns me a bit is the growing patch queue in Batik and
> > > > FOP.
> > > > 
> > > ... snip ...
> > > > 
> > > > Good patches that don't get processed will drive potential committers
> > > > away at some point. And patches can go out of date. But I still have no
> > > > recipe to get our project more active. I've been trying to recruit FOP
> > > > users to participate in the development ever since I went independent,
> > > > with only little success. Some people are often happier to pay for a
> > > > little extension or fix (which made a good part of my income in the last
> > > > few years) than to dive in themselves and take more control. And most
> > > > simply expect others to work for them for free. And then there's the
> > > > problem that spare fun time to do things not work/client-related is
> > > > usually very limited. Sigh.
> > > 
> > > I agree. Do you want this concern included in the report? I prefer to
> > > give a realistic view of the project's position. Therefore at some
> > > point such concerns need to be expressed. Is that already in this
> > > report?
> > 
> > I guess it is. Probably just me venting frustration. The board knows
> > since the forming of the XML Graphics project that Batik has not many
> > active people. It has 3 active committers. That's been the same since
> > 2005 although the activity has quieted down in the last 3-4 months. I
> > just fear a serious problem for Batik if one of the three went away. FOP
> > has 7 active committers in 2009 so is in a more comfortable position.
> > Maybe you can add those numbers just to have stated that once in a while.
> > After all, the board members change, too. OTOH, if the board sees that
> > some activity is happening and oversight is there, they have no problem
> > with us.
> 
> It is something we should be aware of ourselves. Let us include in
> this report a reflection on the long-term situation, with the above
> concerns about the patch queues and the number of active
> committers. It is good to include such considerations at least once a
> year. If Jeremias or someone else does not do it earlier, I will give
> it a try Monday evening.

How about (under the general comments section):

The XML Graphics project is one of those projects which don't profit
from any hype topics to attract many new contributors but have a lot of
users. Batik and FOP have been around since 1999 (note the 10-year
anniversary later this year). So far in 2009, 3 committers are active on
the Batik codebase, 7 on FOP codebase. In the case of Batik these 3 are
the same since 2005. No additions, but so far luckily no drop-offs.

We're a little concerned (but not alarmed, yet) that a slightly growing
number of patches don't get processed in reasonable time. Also, we have
to get better at turning regular contributors into committers.

> > Still, the general problem is the same for the whole project: so many
> > users, so few contributors. We just have to make sure we don't forget to
> > turn recurring contributors into committers.
> 
> I noted two more active contributors on the FOP list, and one very
> active contributor on the Batik list.

Right. We need to get a little more active on that front.

Maybe we also have to revisit our rule (from back when XML Graphics was
formed) that FOP committers shouldn't mess around in Batik's repository
and vice-versa. We have separate committer sets today (although these
are likely to be merged automatically when the LDAP authentication goes
live for Subversion access). The subprojects might be able to help each
other out especially when a contributor has already invested a lot of
time reviewing patches.

Some other random ideas:
- Plan an XML Graphics get-together (2-3 days) of intensive discussion,
patch processing, other hacking and eating and drinking. If there's
enough interest (min. 4-5 people, committers and contributors welcome),
I'm certain I can put something together here in Lucerne.
- Plan virtual XML Graphics days (2 or 3 times a year) where we hook
together for a few hours to go over patches and other high-priority
issues.

Jeremias Maerki


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