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SubjectRe: [Ksummit-2008-discuss] Fixing the Kernel Janitors project
On Wed, 2008-05-28 at 12:20 -0500, James Bottomley wrote:
> 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:
> but there are many more.

The example that sums it up for me is this one:

We have people making minor cosmetic changes, and not paying even the
_slightest_ attention to what they're doing. This one's a particularly
scary example because it's something even the most non-technical person
should have spotted; there's _no_ excuse. It's the cosmetic equivalent
of a naïve warning fix that leaves the actual bug in place.

I think you're right that the status quo is damaging, and I don't see it
getting any better with the current quality of 'janitoring'. I think the
only way we can salvage anything useful from the janitors project is to
keep a close rein on what tasks are actually undertaken.

But we've pushed back on people doing this kind of thing before, and
pointed them both at the obvious things they've missed in the context of
their patches, and other more useful things they could be doing -- but
we've often received responses along the lines of "but I don't want to
have to _think_!".

It's hard to know where to go from there, and it's not exactly
surprising that we end up frustrated.


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