Subject: Re: Exploring the limits of free software
From: "D. V. Henkel-Wallace" <gumby@zembu.com>
Date: Tue, 25 May 1999 10:43:05 -0700

    Date: Mon, 24 May 1999 17:38:54 +0100
    From: Ben Laurie <ben@algroup.co.uk>

    Brian Behlendorf wrote:

    > So I think I agree with your thesis that there may be more
    > pressure on the OSS project maintainers to integrate code
    > developed in the sXc, and that there is the risk of "bad code"
    > being developed (code which doesn't generically solve the problem
    > the way it should), but I'm hoping that the peer reviewer could
    > play a role in helping mitigate this.

    I hadn't really thought about this in the context of sXc, but it
    seems to me that a sensible strategy would be to invite the project
    maintainers to comment on the plan, or at least the results, of
    each sXc project (that has to do with their free project). Then if
    things _do_ fail to get integrated, at least the reasons why will
    be available to guide future attempts.

This is much harder to manage than you can imagine.  Cygnus (since
we're using them as an example in this discussion) is currently
receiving some abuse because they aren't integrating some linux thread
patches that were written in a very linux-specific way (and hence
break support for a number of non-linux systems).  Who is to rewrite
them?

When he took over support of gdb in 1990, John Gilmore spent a lot of
his time following up on patches and coaching people on how to redo
them properly.  It was time consuming and difficult and many people
couldn't be bothered redoing a patch.  (Some, however, followed the
advice and are now contributors).

GCC suffered because of a different communication breakdown in this
regard.  A number of contributors felt that it had become impossible
to figure out how to make their changes suitable for inclusion.

EGCS, Apache and Linux currently avoid this problem through luck,
design, and good maintainers, but I wonder if sXc will be able to do
the same.  With money involved, there'll be a temptation for some to
say "I paid for this to put it in" or "they are not putting this in
because of financial issues."