[development] taking a break

James Walker walkah at walkah.net
Sun Jul 1 18:36:10 UTC 2007

On 7/1/07 11:55 AM, Chad Phillips -- Apartment Lines wrote:
> do you think it's possible that it's better for the project if there
> were more than one person who had 'final say' on matters?  i understand
> that might occasionally mean that something important might not go the
> way you think it should.  i see myself as a bit of a control freak, so i
> understand why that might cause some discomfort  ;)  but beyond that
> discomfort and possibly some temporary misdirection, would that change
> be better for the project _overall_?

Actually, while I'm not sure I totally buy Dries' technical arguments
against the deleteAPI patch yet, I totally disagree with this. I think
so much of the project's success to date has to do with the fact that
there is *one* final say guiding core and I think we as a community are
very lucky to have Dries in that role. Adding more people with 'final
say' just further complicates this issue - you end up with bickering and
stale mates amongst that group.

IMNSHO, the issue we're facing right now is not that Dries is failing or
 we need to add more Dries - but rather we need some stronger support
around him.

> from your own blog entry on being a responsible maintainer:
> "Well, we have to accept and acknowledge the fact that a project the
> size of Drupal is always going to be a bit broken, and that command and
> control won't cultivate the Drupal wilderness."

I don't think it's a case of command and control - Dries is very
reluctant to set out hard and fast "roadmaps" precisely because it's not
just his project. I've been 'round here long enough to see Dries be
convinced on more than one occasion - if it's a good feature and done
right, it'll go in.

>> Granted, sometimes important patches are neglected because they have a
>> high barrier to entry.  This is highly unfortunate and I try to deal
>> with those as time permits.
> more time can be created by having more responsible parties.

Now, here I agree with you... but 'responsible' != 'final say'. I think
part of the problem (as you've expressed eloquently) is that Dries came
into the whole (rather large) deleteapi patch late in the game.

Now just asking Dries to have his finger on the pulse of every issue in
the queue is ridiculous. It's been well over a year and probably pushing
two since that's been feasible (I sure know I can't do it). So we need a
way where we can distribute the load a bit - so that Dries has a sort of
'executive overview' - and can help guide in the early stages of patches
- particularly larger ones like this.

One issue is the whole 'code is gold' attitude can be taken to an
extreme. Embarking on a major chunk of code - with the hopes that
/maybe/ you'll luck onto the 'right' direction and it'll be accepted
clearly isn't always fruitful. Sure, with things that can happily live
in contrib it can often work out, but major re-workings of code not so

I don't know the full history on the delete API patch specifically, but
the fact that it seems after months of work, Dries isn't even on-side
with the approach leads me to believe that a 'meta' conversation about
design and approach would have been beneficial. I don't believe finger
pointing as to why that didn't happen (or if it did, how we ended up
here) - but rather let's look to ways we can better facilitate this
moving forward.

I've been thinking a lot about this whole issue lately - clearly my
thoughts aren't fully formed as a 'plan' yet or anything, but we clearly
need to address some of these things as we continue to grow (see:
http://buytaert.net/growing-pains ).

Dries has expressed to me more than once a frustration that not enough
people are focused on core. I've heard from some of the people that I
suspect Dries would like to focus on core that there are issues that
make it hard, difficult or unpleasant for them to do so.

What I'd love to see is for everyone to stay "at the table", and help
brainstorm around best ways through it. I know chx well enough to know
he can't *really* stay away - I hope the same holds for everyone else.

Happy Canada Day :)
James Walker :: http://walkah.net/ :: xmpp:walkah at walkah.net

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