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From Dirk-Willem van Gulik <>
Subject Re: @author tag recommendation
Date Tue, 16 Mar 2004 09:06:20 GMT
On Mar 15, 2004, at 11:49 PM, Conor MacNeill wrote:

> As a result, I would like to open a discussion on the ant-dev list to 
> see the
> impact of this change in policy, particularly on non-committers - i.e. 
> the
> people who make the odd, but important, contribution to the project, 
> people
> who may become stronger contributors in the longer term.

(recycling an older cocoon post with some edits)

One way to look at this is that @author tags are in a way factually
'wrong'; in most cases it just signals which person wrote the  first
skeleton of that code; but subsequently it was fixes, peer-reviewed and
looked at by a whole community. Also do not forget the many people in
your community which help with QA, Documentation, user-feedback
and so  on.

To put  one person in the (hot) seat for what is essentially a  group 
is perhaps not quite right.

Secondly what we 'sell' as the ASF brand is a code base which is peer
reviewed, quality controlled and created by a sustainable group which
will survive the coming and going of volunteers. One where knowledge is
generally shared and not just depended on one single individual. This
is one of the key reasons why large companies, governments, etc have a
lot less qualms about using apache than using most other open source;
we mitigate  the worry that it depends on a single person, and can
implode or fork without warning, right from the get-go.

Finally - a lot of developers do live in countries where you can get
sued. The ASF can provide a certain level of protection; but this is
based on the KEY premisse that there is oversight and peer review. That
what we ship is a _community_ product; and that everything is backed by
the community and cannot be attributed to a single person. Every commit
gets peer review; ever release requires +1s' and are backed by the
community as a whole. @author tags are by necessity incomplete and thus
portrait the situation inaccurately. Any hint or suggestion that parts
of the code are not a community product makes defence more complex and
expensive. We do not want to temp anyone - but rather present a clean
picture with no blemishes or easy targets.

And to give this a positive slant; be -proud- of this culture; be proud
of being part of something larger of incredible  quality. Each of you
did not just write a few pesky lines of code surrounded by an @author
tag; but where instrumental in getting the -whole- thing work ! And if
you are ever trying to understand why cocoon made it this far, and
other commercial/open-source projects did not, then do look there;
quality and a sense of long term stability.

Now the above is not normative - it is just some background, some
food for thought and sets a few boundaries[1]. However the ASF has
many different communities - and each is responsible for their
own code, their own working habits and their own slant on ASF
culture. So if for example people here feel strongly that, say,
people doing Docs, Translations, QA, release management or
bug fixing  should be more celebrated then go for it !

Take Care, Have fun,


1:	One of the hard boundaries is (to repeat from above) that the
	ASF release procedure is based on the KEY premisse that there
	is oversight and peer review. That what we ship is a foundation 
product; and
	that everything is backed by the committers, that CLA or software
	grants are on file, that every commit gets peer review; that releases
  	requires +1s' and are backed by a community process which
	leaves a paper trail in CVS and on the archived mailing lists.

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