"Internal" updates (was: RE: [Squeakfoundation]Possible extra text for Welcome window in 3.4)

Andreas Raab squeakfoundation@lists.squeakfoundation.org
Wed, 8 Jan 2003 00:02:37 +0100

> Yes but there has been quite a number of 'last minute important fixes'
> traffic, not least a few fixes I consider important. I can't find
> anything that lets me know if those fixes are queued up anywhere - not
> even with the magical 'look at internal server' patch. Without the
> sqfixes page and its brethren I'm stuck. Terribly vexing.

The use of the internal update stream seems to be a real weakness in the
current release cycle. In the good ol' days (you know, when men were
REAL men and women were REAL women and little furballs from aldebaran
were REAL little furballs from aldebaran) SqC was testing everything
that went into the internal stream almost immediately (which meant that
we usually updated at least once a day if not more often). So the
internal update stream allowed us to review everything that's "hot off
the press" and in quite a number of situations we found (some really
horrible) problems before they went out to the general public and at
times fixed them "under the hoods" (such as by rewriting files directly
on the server, heh, heh ;-)

However, if nobody who is both willing to test hot stuff as well as
having the authority to fix any problems right away is sitting on top of
the internal updates it seems utterly pointless to even have it. So if
you have to 'look at the internal server' or any such thing then it
means that the current release cycle is severely broken. The internal
updates were always intended to be tested immediately and not to rot
until they're forgotten.

I don't know how many people (if any) use the internal update stream (I
no longer do because I no longer have authority to post any updates) but
if there aren't a few experienced people who use it daily then I would
recommend getting rid of it altogether. After all, it's up to people to
decide when they wish to update and there is always some risk that
updates (in particular on alpha/beta streams) could break something. But
on the other hand, given the lengthy discussion each update seems to
receive before it ever gets promoted, the chances for breaking anything
in truly horrible ways seem to be pretty small.

So my bottom line recommendation is: Get rid of this darn "internal"
update stream if you don't use it! Rather I would suggest to require
submissions to identify changes that interact with the system in
critical ways (such as any rewrite of deep system level stuff). Then
require a minimum number of EXPERIENCED testers (and not just eyeballs
which all claim that "yes it files into a virgin image just fine") to
look at and try this stuff in real life situations to identify possible
problems. And leave it up to the people submitting the change to
identify those testers - after all there's either a demand for the
change so it ought to be simple to find them or else that person has an
interest in this change so he or she ought to be able to convince a few
people to test it.

  - Andreas