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From "B. W. Fitzpatrick" <>
Subject Re: Code ownership (was Re: whoweare.html)
Date Wed, 06 Nov 2002 14:14:22 GMT

David Shane Holden <> writes:
> B. W. Fitzpatrick wrote:
> > Are you serious? Quite frankly, I find that behavior reprehensible--It
> > reeks of strange fraternity initiation rites.
> > 
> > If I write, test, and commit a piece of good solid code and someone
> > else goes pissing in it just to leave their scent and to show me that
> > I don't 'own' the code, I am *not* going to be amused by it.
> > Ownership of code shouldn't be taught by this kind of negative
> > reinforcement, and I would suggest that the quality of the code
> > suffers as a result.
> So you're saying it's ok for you to brag to everybody that you wrote the 
> 'good' code, that sounds pretty lame.  

I'm not looking for bragging rights or an ego stroke--my initial
understanding of Ken's post was that people were changing code just
for the sake of changing it.  Ken noted that he was talking mostly
about stylistic changes.

It turns out that we're talking about the fundamental differences of
having a low barrier to commit access as opposed to high barrier to
commit access.  When you only give commit access to people who have
shown that they grok the project guidelines and the code style, you
find that you *rarely* have to tweak someone else's commit. 

The other part of the discussion here is the manner by which new
committers are 'taught' code ownership and project styles. Ken noted
that by fixing someone else's off-style commit, you teach them how to
live in the project.  Justin pointed out the merits of telling the
committer what they did wrong and letting them fix it.  Neither way is
necessarily wrong--people just have different preferences.  I for one
strongly prefer a high bar to become a committer and the "tell them
and let them fix it" attitude.

> How would you show someone that the code they _donated_ isn't
> theirs, its the communities?

It's noted in the copyright license at the top of every file.  How
much more explicit can you be?

> >>One thing that *could* be a problem is that @author tags can give the 
> >>impression that a cretain piece of code is "maintained" by the authors, 
> >>or that they are responsible for it, and this can reduce peer review.
> > 
> > 
> > Yes.  Also, I think that placing author credit in every file
> > encourages territoriality and individualism while discouraging people
> > from thinking and acting as a team.
> But showing people that the 'good' code you wrote isnt?
> Sounds somewhat hypocritical...

This is not the point.  See above. 


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