[darcs-users] growing the darcs team

Eric Y. Kow eric.kow at gmail.com
Mon Sep 1 21:28:28 UTC 2008

Hi everybody,

Lately, we have been working on ways to make darcs development go faster.  Our
goal here is to increase the number of expert darcs hackers with time to work
on the project.  To achieve this, we intend to give developers better feedback
(growing them into experts) and in more timely fashion (so that they can work
more quickly).   Here are the changes we think will help us get there:

Development model
1) David Roundy will be the maintainer of the new darcs
   unstable repository.  This will be made available
   shortly at http://darcs.net/unstable

2) Eric Kow will be the maintainer of the stable repository

3) Patches will typically flow from unstable into stable.  However, if
   Eric feels that patch is obvious and not likely to require
   discussion, he will apply it directly to stable.  For the moment,
   Eric only considers code comments, documentation and test suite
   modifications to be obvious.

4) The stable repository will be tightly kept in synch with unstable
   repository.  Patches should make it from unstable to stable within
   the same day unless either David or Eric feel they are not yet
   ready for stable.

5) This has always been true, but it's worth stressing again.
   *Everybody* is encouraged to review incoming patches.  This extra
   review helps contributors because they get more than one
   perspective on the code, and also because it helps patches to get
   accepted faster.  Also, reviewing patches is one of the best ways
   for you to to learn about darcs!

6) Eric will also be serving as the new release manager.

7) Darcs will now be switching to a new time-based release model
   with new releases coming out every six months.  The first
   release in this cycle will be in January 2009.  In the meantime,
   we will work towards getting an intermediary release out to
   fix bugs in 2.0.2 and to provide some performance improvements
   through http pipelining.

How this will help
We hope that these changes will have the following effects on our

 * Small 'obvious' patches that help us improve our infrastructure or
   documentation will be fast-tracked into the stable repository.  This
   This allows us to more quickly get `safe' changes and clear bugfixes into
   the hands of our users.

 * Having a stable branch relieves some of the pressure for contributed
   code to be perfect.  We know some developers feel that getting
   patches into darcs is too difficult, and hope that having the
   unstable branch can help some code become a part of darcs.  But let
   us stress one point: we do not intend to give up on the rigorous
   reviewing of patches, so please do be prepared to answer questions and
   resubmit patches as usual!

 * Tight synchronisation between stable and unstable means that we can
   have greater confidence the stable code can be well tested (before,
   people interested in darcs would mostly use the unstable repository),
   and also allow people to contribute to the stable branch directly
   (because unstable won't be so far from stable as to cause trouble)

 * Time-based releases (in conjunction with quarterly darcs hacking
   sprints) will force us to finish a small number of key goals at
   a time.  Users will see more regular progress from the community,
   and we will hopefully see them using our more recent work.

We hope you'll like these changes.  Please let us know what you think!


David and Eric

Eric Kow <http://www.nltg.brighton.ac.uk/home/Eric.Kow>
PGP Key ID: 08AC04F9
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