[Squeakfoundation]RE: Your stewardship(s)

Andreas Raab andreas.raab at gmx.de
Sat Mar 8 20:15:55 CET 2003

Hi Hannes,

[Note: I've cross-posted this message to the SqF list (original message is
quoted below) since some of the aspects in this message relate to the larger
picture of stewards. Also, I might be wrong on various accounts and in this
case a clarification might be helpful]

> What do you think? 

I think that before I would agree to any such thing I need to have a _much_
clearer perspective on what the job of a steward entails. I barely withheld
a heated reply to the threads involved, since to me, this looks very much
like forcing people who have not agreed to do so into a position they may
not want to be in. 

Let's be honest here: The "steward" _will_ be the maintainer of some
package. Even though Daniel (I think it was him) wrote up that nice memo
that the steward is simply a person with expertise in some area, I believe
that the formal act of declaring someone to be the steward effectively makes
that person the maintainer. After all, this person seems to have declared
himself the manager of some particular area of the system, so who else would
you go to?

Not that I necessarily mind this, but a key issue is what we expect the
steward to do in a world of decentralized packages. The way I see it, we'd
probably want the steward to harvest fixes, goodies, enhancements along the
way. We probably expect him to run tests if everything works allright in
version XYZ of Squeak. We probably expect him to update packages regularly.
All very good things - if you have the time for it. And the short answer is:
I don't. I simply do not have the time to scan the postings at Squeak-Dev, I
don't have the time to run regression tests, to test each and every
individual part. At least not for the stuff you were proposing, and
definitely not in an age of "montly releases".

An important aspect in the maintenance debate is that Squeak does not lend
itself easily to the style of decentralized development we're anticipating.
Most problematic at this point is that there is no API for any of the
package that a client can rely on, no dependencies, versions etc. In the
days of the monolithic image that wasn't as big a problem as you could
simply browse all the senders of some class/message to see where it's used.
With SM, we need a more declarative style that tells both, clients and
framework developers which methods can be relied upon and which can't.
Without this, maintaining a package simply becomes a nightmare.

Personally, I simply _use_ all of the packages you were referring to. My
only interested at this point in maintenance is for the very lowest level of
Balloon3D in which I would like to stay compatible between what's currently
in Squeak and what is in Croquet (note: I did the Balloon3D and removal
packages as a service to the community, not for myself; I don't need them to
be removed, in fact I need them hardly at all). Other than that, I might
post a fix, goodie, whatever to any of the other areas but fundamentally I
am not interested in maintaining this or any further aspect at this point.

So as far as the maintenance aspect is involved, my answer is "no" at this
point. I simply cannot imagine spending enough time in any of these areas
with a decentralized model of development. As far as being the "wise man"
for some particular area is involved, there is simply no need to declare me
the formal steward, because it wouldn't change anything - after all, if I
see some question that I find the time to answer, I'll do this anyways.
Given that, what would be the point in declaring me the "steward"? You get
everything that I can handle already, and formally declaring me to be the
"steward" can only mean that you want to assign new tasks to me, tasks for
which I cannot guarantee that I can or want to handle them.

Given the above, can you see any reason whatsoever why I should (or even
want to) be declared a steward for the areas you are proposing?!

Perhaps as some additional food for thoughts, if I think about the form in
which I could imagine to be a steward/maintainer for some aspect of Squeak
it immediately comes to my mind that the first and faremost issue is that of
enabling _others_ to be able to work on that same package. Since all of us
have only a limited amount of time I think it is critical that more than one
person is responsible for a particular package. One way in which I could
imagine this, is by essentially giving each package its own update stream
which is used for the developers of some package. In this case, any of the
developers would be able to post and review changes that are done in this
area, and "releases" mean only that the incremental updates are merged and
put out as package at SM.

Of course, this requires trust in the developers working in a particular
area, but this could then be the primary task of the Steward - to identify
developers both interested and capable of working in this area. The
essential model would be that the community (represented by the guides)
hands their trust into the Steward and the Steward hands this trust to the
group of developers involved. Whether the Steward herself hacks along with
the developers is quite a different matter; she would simply be the person
ultimately responsible for some package. So that feature requests, bug
fixes, blames would rightfully go to the Steward and from there be relayed
to the developers involved. Conceptually, SourceForge is not a bad model for
this - it allows registered developers to participate in projects for which
they need blessing by one of the admins of that project. In Squeak terms,
the initial admin for one of these projects (packages) would be the steward
and from there, more people could join in.

  - Andreas

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Hannes Hirzel [mailto:hannes.hirzel.squeaklist at bluewin.ch] 
> Sent: Saturday, March 08, 2003 5:02 PM
> To: Andreas Raab
> Cc: Doug Clapp; Brent Vukmer
> Subject: Your stewardship(s)
> Dear Andreas
> May I draw your attention to the page 
>   Stewards for Packages
>   http://minnow.cc.gatech.edu/squeak/3088
> Is it OK that we put you on the list as the
> steward for Balloon and Balloon3D. I think
> that no discussion on the list is needed 
> because as the original author of this you 
> actually *are* the steward as well
> unless you want to change that.
> The same might apply for other "Squeak estates",
> FFI for example.
> What do you think? 
> Regards
> Hannes

More information about the Squeakfoundation mailing list