proposal for starting work on partitioning

goran.krampe at goran.krampe at
Mon Apr 4 09:25:09 UTC 2005

Hi Avi!

Avi Bryant <avi.bryant at> wrote:
> Hi all,
> Sorry for being so quiet; I've been extremely busy (in fact, if it
> continues like this, I should probably step down as leader here, since
> it's silly to have a leader who takes a week to answer emails...).

We will see. :)

> Anyway, comments below...
> > > I see that most of the listed packages have still not been assigned.  I
> > > wonder if we might have more luck making the initial package list even
> > > more coarse, and trying to get more than one maintainer for each.  E.g.
> > > just have one Tools package with a few maintainers, instead of trying
> > > to find a maintainer each for Tools-Browser, Tools-Changes, etc.
> > 
> > Definitely. And as I have said, people can always divide further later
> > on.
> If that looks like it will work better, great.  We haven't had such a
> rush to sign up for pieces that I feel that list is set in stone;
> Doug, if you have a more granular set of packages in mind, please feel
> free to just change it.

I will start by contacting the names I know from before and see if I can
get a few more of them to sign up.

> > > Also, it would probably help a bit to beg on squeak-dev for more
> > > volunteers. :)
> > 
> > Indeed. But Avi has the ball now. ;)
> I'm a little reluctant to ask for too much outside help until we have
> a better sense of what the task is, how well the tool support works,
> what good approaches to the problem are.  I was hoping we would do a
> reasonable amount of work just with the people on this list first to
> establish that before begging for more people to get involved.

Sure, I try to follow whichever path you choose. :)

> So let me beg here instead: who is actually interested in doing
> partitioning work?  Anyone?  Is this just something that we care about
> more in the abstract than in practice, and nobody really wants it
> enough to do it?  Are there other ways we should be thinking about
> this that would get more traction? (like, "how many bits of code can
> we package up and unload from the image?")

This is an interesting question. I am interested in doing partitioning
work - but for me I think it is a priority thing - I would like to do
the *stake out* first, and "ripping out" later. I explain below.

> > And I say (yet again) don't get held up in refactoring. Let's just start
> > pumping out 2-3 PIs so that we get this show on the road.
> I don't really know what "pumping out PIs" means, or at least what
> purpose it's supposed to achieve.  It seems to me that something like
> "registering packages on SqueakMap" is much more meaningful, no? 
> Which tools (apart from the PackageList that nobody uses for anything,
> and I think we agreed to drop) actually know or care with PackageInfo
> instances exist inside the image?

Ok, let me explain (I know Avi knows this stuff, but perhaps there are
others on this list).

SM has a PI field for each package. Using that (as most of us already
know) we can map an SM package to an in-image PI. Today there are just a
very few of those mappings - for example for SM itself. What is the
mapping for? It is the link between the code (classes and extension
methods) and the SM entry. Given that this link exists we suddenly
*know* who maintains that code (email) and any co-maintainers of it.

For example, given the PI-extras package in which Ned has included my
PI-split-and-email-to-SM-maintainers-mechanism, a user can:

1. Fix a bug or add an enh.
2. Bring up a changesorter on that cs.
3. With a single menu choice split it up into one cs for each affected
PI and send those (plus the original complete cs) as an email to *all*
maintainers of those SM packages affected.

Now... this mechanism is of course a bit crude, but imagine that *all*
code in the image belong to a PI - then suddenly using the above
mechanism (or similar) we could actually decentralize the complete
FIX/ENH process. And we could use MC instead of changesets etc. Suddenly
we have a structure to work in.

So in short - I want this to happen:

1. Create rough PIs in Basic (using some updates in 3.9a) that cover the
*complete* image. In whichever granularity. We can always adapt them

2. Create corresponding SM entries for them, typically this is done by
the maintainers stepping forward. If some are left as orphans, lets
create some SM packages anyway and let a team of maintainers for the
orphans sign up on that package. The important thing is that each line
of code in the image can be mapped to 1-n maintainers.

3. Let the maintainers start working. This entails:
	1. Adding/removing PIs (using updates) in order to further
split/combine code.
	2. Reorganize, typically classes and methods will have ended up in the
wrong PI.
	3. Refactor, this is modifying code to decouple stuff with the
intention of making code loadable/unloadable.

> > > Basically, I think there is more danger that the effort will stall if a
> > > private stream is used, because then there will be a big merging effort
> > > required at the end.  In fact, if everyone can see progress being made
> > > in the public stream, that might encourage more people to contribute.
> > 
> > Yes, I agree in full. Avi?
> Fine with me.


> > > Is there anything else we need to do to help this move forward?  Will
> > > most of the PI managing/recategorizing be done with the Monticello
> > > tools?  (We've discussed adding MC to Basic as part of this.)  Also, we
> > > should add Ned's PI extras to Basic (the 3.9 stream).
> > 
> > I would like to hear Avi's thought on how we handle the PIs, as classes
> > or instances?
> > There was a discussion around that earlier, and possibly classes is the
> > way to go since our main tools (ChangeSets, MC) are centered around
> > that. But I trust Avi to make that decision.
> I don't see a concrete place yet where introducing PI subclasses will
> help with the packaging work, especially given the init script stuff
> that Miso, Ned and I have been kicking around.  So let's stick with
> instances for now.

Ok, instances it is.

> Avi

regards, Göran

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