New libraries process

Johan Tibell johan.tibell at
Fri May 20 12:08:51 CEST 2011

Hi Simon,

I have re-read the entire document and I'm willing to try it out in
its current form. I'd like to use the remainder of this email to note
my remaining reservations, to clarify my thinking on these issues if
nothing else.

Motivation and momentum

Keeping oneself motivated is necessary in order to be productive,
especially in open source where you don't get paid to work. Progress
is often made in small spurts, often during weekends, when people find
some inspiration to do a particular task. What sustains productivity
is the feeling of progress when code gets submitted or when you can
share your work in the form of e.g. a new library release. It's very
gratifying to spend a weekend hacking on something -- making something
better -- and then share the results with your fellow human beings.
Having to wait weeks (i.e. the length of the discussion period) hurts
productivity. By then end of the waiting period whatever enthusiasm
you had at the start is likely gone. Even if you manage to keep
yourself motivated through the waiting period there's a "pipeline
stall" effect, where new changes you want to make are stalled by
changes still under discussion.

Entitlement and open source

I was quite put of during earlier library discussions and often left
the discussion annoyed. There's much more arguing for argument's sake:
some discussions were up to 100 messages long and disproportionate to
the magnitude of the proposed change. I haven't had a single
unpleasant experience discussing changes with people outside the
libraries process where discussion so far have been short, to the
point, and almost always start by someone sending me a patch.

I think there's a much stronger sense of entitlement around the core
libraries. The libraries process implicitly says that the maintainer
has to spend time talking to anyone that feels like having an
argument. This is not the case in open source at large, where the size
of your contribution, your prior "work" (in a very wide sense), and
the relevance of what you have to say decides how much attention you


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