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Subject[Ksummit-2008-discuss] Fixing the Kernel Janitors project
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In the spirit of having a more process than technical based kernel
summit, I'd like to put the topic of the kernel Janitors project up for
discussion.

In the early days, the project was conceived as a way of getting fresh
blood into kernel development by giving them fairly simple but generally
useful tasks and hoping they'd move more into the mainstream. If we
wind forwards to 2008, there's considerable and rising friction being
generated by janitorial patches. This is only an example:

http://marc.info/?l=linux-kernel&m=121135889328760

but there are many more. The greatest problem, as I see it is that by
pouring vitriol like this on newbies, we're really damaging our
reputation as a community that welcomes newcomers and strangling our
necessary supply of willing volunteers. On the other hand, as a
maintainer, when there's people yelling me at about patches not being
included plus a persistent regressions list and about ten bug reports to
track down, the last thing I want to see within a million miles of my
inbox is a white space fixing patch. The more of these patches we get,
the worse the problem becomes and the shorter and more inflammatory the
responses get. We can't go on like this.

The most obvious solution might be to shut the Janitors project down, or
at least more tightly manage its TODO list (although a lot of what gets
seen as janitorial patches, like whitespace fixes, isn't on the TODO
list in the first place). However, since the purpose is to get new
people involved with kernel development, perhaps we should repurpose the
project so it actually does this. My suggestion is that we replace it
with the kernel bugs project. Kudos for finding bugs, more for finding
better ways of finding bugs, and the most for finding and actually
fixing a bug.

Perhaps we should simply start the discussion with the premise that we
want to encourage new people to do useful work and draw them into the
development community and see where it leads.

James





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