[development] CVS HEAD, code freeze, zeitgeist

Bèr Kessels ber at webschuur.com
Sat Aug 19 12:08:33 UTC 2006

Op zaterdag 19 augustus 2006 10:42, schreef Dries Buytaert:
> If a successful project has problems, the maintainer can send an e-
> mail to the mailing list asking for help, ask for help raising funds,  
> write about it in a forum topic, give a presentation about it, or  
> what not.  It all creates visibility, and people will start to care.

I did that for flexinode a couple of times and received NULL.
Is it me, or my behaviour that keeps away people? Probably.
Is it my lack of LOADS of time to review all patches? even more probably.
Is it the fact the module is not popular, that people don't use it? Unlikely.

Look. 4.7.3 changed something minor in the form api. So we have a critical bug 
in flexinode which pretty much prevents everyone running flexinode from 
upgrading to 4.7.3 (from 4.7.2). It is not this particular case that I want 
addressed. It is a problem with contribs in general.

Golden stars are -indeed- not going to magically bring me coding ninjas. 

But Golden repository DOES bring us:
 * A status. It says "this module is good, solid and tested. As opposed to the 
anarchistic cr*p you will find in the contribs". AKA: Quality control [1]
 * A workflow. Drupal is aware that modules with such a status are important 
to Drupal as a whole. I dare to bet (for a Duvel) that there are at least 
five contribs that are more important for Drupal (very broad) then some core 
modules. Drupal ackonowledges this importance. Drupal will not slow down its 
improvements, but it will (re)move not-ready stuff from that golden system. 
That way we have a way to say: 4.8 is out, but beware, in 4.8 you can no 
longer do Foo and Bar, because there is no FooBar in the supported repository 
 * Drupal IS NOT Core. Drupal is much more. I dare to bet (for a Duvel) that 
if we drop the modular approach, and no longer support contributions, drupal 
is gone within months. Drupal IS Core + whatever contrib modules you can get 
to work. As long as half of these modules promise more then they do, or are 
simply cr*p, or plain broken, we (Drupal) have failed. This means Drupal is "a 
solid, modular, well written, free CMS that may need really crappy additions 
to do what you want it to do".
 * Security. Abovementioned flexinode case makes me beleive that all people 
who use Drupal 4.7.x and flexinode, have not upgraded to 4.7.3. On larger 
scale: Many people will stay on 4.6 because stuff was not ready. If we can 
somehow guarantee, as a community that at least a part of the modules, those 
marked as such, will be upgraded, people can follow up. This may be a 
security issue for Drupal in a bigger sense, after all: If we provide 
security updates that people cannot follow we can just as well don't provide 
them at all.

You can call it (a module) golden or you call it anything else. Fact is, that 
the unordered, uncontrolled pile of code may contain gems. Biut as soon as 
you dive into it, you get dirty.

And if the first thing you run into is a broken, dirty thing, you will 
probably never get back. (i've had a long talk with someone yesterday who 
halfway his project moves back to Joomla, because some of the contribs he 
needs are plain broken, utter crap, or work as expected (note that he 
mentioned many contribs as being Very Very Good too!!)

If a developer looks at Drupal, does his homework, and finds that he needs  
flexinode, but gets errors instead of a working system, we (Drupal) have 
lost. Big Time. No clean-lean-nicely architectured core will reverse that.

But if he did his homework, found that flexinode may or may not solve hiss 
issue, AND sees that flexinode is NOT marked as special-supported (or golden, 
whatever) and /then/ gets to see errors, we have still won. Because we 
(Drupal) have said to him: Core is what Drupal is, Golden contribs is what we 
advice, the pile of code out there is a scrapyard where you may find just 
what you need, but don't count on it. But never count on it.

Example: If we have no e-commerce system marked as golden. We can all safely 
say to the outside world: NO, sorry! Drupal has no ecommerce support! 

But if it /is/ marked-special-golden we can tell the world that we /do/ have 
ecommerce support. Anything else is misleading. And in some contries even 
illegal (but more about that later). And also that Drupal cares about 
e-commerce support.

So, if those that already got dirty dozens of times, filter out the gems from 
that pile, and order them on a shelve, we can present the world a nice 
display on a shelve of good-working, solid, projects. Instead of a 

[1] http://webschuur.com/node/640

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