[development] Splitting up patches

Nedjo Rogers nedjo at islandnet.com
Fri Aug 25 17:53:32 UTC 2006

> I don't think we need complex rules here.  Nor can people sign off  things 
> in advance.

I wasn't being clear. I don't mean rules, or formal sign-off. What I'm 
trying to capture is what sometimes currently happens in the patch queue, 
and is successful. There are (informal) agreements and commitments about 
process that allow us to break up a larger patch. A core committer says: the 
approach is looking good, it has a good chance of making it in if changes 
can be made. The individual or (better) group leading the change says: okay, 
we'll work on these changes, maybe in separate issues as suggested, and 
we'll do the followup that's needed.

I see a couple of common weak points in this process, though. 1. Broken up 
pieces (separate patches) probably need a slightly different set of 
criteria, as they are steps toward a goal. We're not always clear about 
this. 2. Broken up pieces need a commitment to followup. As individuals or 
groups leading a change, we're often weak on followup. The immediate change 
gets in and we move on to something new and more exciting than cleanup.

So, to work well, the "break it up into pieces" approach relies on informal 
agreements and commitments and trust from both the contributors and the core 
committers. The core committers need to go somewhat on faith, and the 
contributors need to follow through. Ideally, this is mapped out a bit in 
advance, there in the patch queue, so we know the game plan and what we're 
all committing to. 

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