[development] RFC: drupal as a moving target

David Metzler metzlerd at metzlerd.com
Tue Apr 29 04:25:15 UTC 2008

Yes we have this conversation every time a new major release gets  
released, and yes, I think in general we come to the conclusion that  
we like the system the way it is.  I know that the foundation has  
spent some time doing research to this end cause I was one of those  
surveyed, and I think that there is a lot of good and  thoughtful  
work being done to ensure that drupal has struck the right balance.

I wanted to point out a couple of things, though.

First, Ivan is a regular on the support list, so lets not completely  
lump him into non-contributer role.  He's got a little merit to  
spend :).

Second, know that most of us who aren't in the consulting business,  
(I'm in education for one) have to convince our bosses or  
organizations  or heads to let us be a contributing member of this  
project.  The regular work of porting modules is one of the harder  
ones to defend, because when we need to port the organization doesn't  
always see the value.  Earl, correctly points out that this really is  
the price of open source software, and well worth it from my  
perspective.   I'd also say though that as one of the people who  
needs to champion the need for us to continue to contribute to drupal  
at our college, I listen to Ivan's pain with a very sympathetic ear.

I certainly don't think anyones being disrespectful here, but I  
wanted Ivan to know that his contributions weren't being ignored.


On Apr 28, 2008, at 5:51 PM, Earl Miles wrote:

> Ivan Sergio Borgonovo wrote:
>> On Mon, 28 Apr 2008 14:48:53 -0700
>> Earl Miles <merlin at logrus.com> wrote:
>>> Ivan Sergio Borgonovo wrote:
>>>> It doesn't work for me. I don't want and I can't get so involved
>>>> in Drupal core dev. It is over my possibility.
>>> Drupal is a meritocracy. In general, those who do very much resent
>>> being told what to do by those who don't do. If you are firmly in
>>> the camp of don't do, that also puts you in the camp of "doesn't
>>> get to tell the rest of us what to do."
>> So you'd say that an engineer doesn't have the right of proper
>> medical care cos he is not a doctor and doctors don't have the right
>> to use cars cos they are not engineers?
> I would say that there's nothing even remotely similar in either of  
> those situations. 1) doctors and engineers are selling their  
> services, 2) doctors are in a path that deals with people's lives,  
> 3) so are engineers, 4) both are under many government regulations.
> In fact, if your doctor believes there is nothing wrong with your  
> appendix, and you ask for your appendix to be taken out, I'm pretty  
> sure the answer will be "No," and after awhile it will be "Get out  
> of my office."
>> And I don't think anyone is willing to scare off someone that is
>> going to write a 10K line module just because he doesn't get involved
>> in core dev. And anyway it seems that core decisions are made among a
>> 10-20 people.
> Sure, you're going to write a 10,000 line module but your inability  
> to keep track of core ensures that this is going to be 10,000 lines  
> of code that will have a high likelihood of not working. See next  
> comment:
>> I'd like to know the experience of people behind ubercart or
>> ecommerce, i18n, views, panels...
> As the author of 2 of the 5 modules you named (convenient, that),  
> let me tell you my experience: If core is broken in some way that  
> directly impacts my modules, I fix it. When it turns out that  
> core's theming isn't quite up to the task of handling something as  
> dynamic as Views, I wrote a new theming layer.
> I submit patches and if they affect Views, I put in the patch "This  
> affects Views" and I find that my patches get rather a lot of  
> attention. Because, you see, it turns out the core maintainers care  
> about Views, which is funny because most of the core maintainers  
> don't even use it. But they are aware that most of Drupal's users do.
> My experience porting Views from 4.6 to 4.7 was pretty rough, but  
> the result of the port was that I had a better product. I didn't  
> have to port Views from 4.7 to 5; I had users that really wanted  
> it, and so a group of people put together a patch for me, and  
> Drupal 5 had a working Views in pretty short order.
> I did not port Views from 5 to 6, because I wanted to rewrite it.  
> After    3 major core versions and several years of Views in the  
> field, some of the early design decisions I made were being really  
> constrictive. I've spent a good 5 months of my life working full  
> time on Views 2, and IMO it's an absolutely amazing module. It's  
> going to make Drupal better, and the fact that it has  
> singlehandedly made most of the Drupal community wait for Drupal 6  
> is a small price to pay for the amount of goodness that the  
> community is going to get.
> And Views is one of those modules that has a ripple effect. If you  
> really follow contrib, you'll find that most of the really  
> important modules have some tie in to Views; even if it's a simple  
> handing off of data to Views, but others -- CCK comes to mind --  
> rely on Views to be truly fully functional. So Views' delays have  
> caused contrib to come to a standstill.
> Now that Views 2 is in beta, I think that's all about to change.  
> Would I like the people working on core to spend a little more time  
> on 6? Heck yea. Am I going to try and demand they do that?  
> Heck...well, ok, I actually have a little bit. [Note: it's only  
> been minorly effective]. On the other hand, and this gets back to  
> my original point, I can get away with this. Why? Drupal is a  
> meritocracy. I have contributed. I continue to contribute. In a  
> meritocracy, it's very important to keep the contributors happy.
> If the contributors are unhappy, they won't contribute. Drupal, as  
> an open source project, lives and dies on the contributions of its  
> users. That is the true price of open source software. And right  
> now, the contributors of Drupal feel that we have a model that works.
> And to be fair, I believe that some of the things you're asking for  
> are going to come to pass, but I don't think they'll happen because  
> of these conversations on the development list. I think they'll  
> happen because the people contributing are going to have their  
> needs shifting, and as the needs shift, the nature of their  
> contributions will shift.
> But always remember, when you tell the Drupal community that it, or  
> the people in it, should do something, you're telling people who  
> volunteer their time, their code, their documentation, their  
> marketing efforts, or just their time offering support to other  
> users. These people are giving up a lot. For free.
> Of *course* they don't take kindly to demands.

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