Making it easier to contribute non-functional changes

Johan Tibell johan.tibell at
Mon Oct 4 12:03:22 EDT 2010

Hi all,

During the work on the containers library, I felt that it's too
difficult to contribute non-functional changes to the libraries
managed by the libraries list. If you look at repos of libraries
managed by individuals, rather than the libraries list, you see a
smattering of small changes that improve: the internal structure, the
docs, the tests, and (if you're lucky) the benchmarks of the library.

I'd like to see (and make) more non-functional changes to the core
libraries, but currently I feel that the overhead of creating a
ticket, writing an email, etc., is too large; what should be a
5-minute change stretches to over two weeks. I argue that's the reason
we don't see many small, but important, changes to the core libraries.


Non-functional changes should be allowed without review by the
libraries list. Such changes can be commited directly, if the commiter
has access to the repo, or attached to a "please merge" ticket on the
bug tracker.

Only changes that don't affect the API or performance (in non-trivial
ways) should be allowed in without a review. Examples of patches that
shouldn't require review: addition of tests/benchmarks, smaller
documentation improvements, internal reorganization, updates due to
compiler changes, etc.

It's possible that once a commit that should have been reviewed gets
commited. I suggest we adopt an "ask for forgiveness, not for
permission" policy in these cases. We can always roll back changes.

N.B. If someone (e.g. Ian) commits patches of this nature on someone
else's behalf, that person should not be held responsible if the
patches are rolled back later.

Comments welcome!


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