Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Experiences with the Eclipse IP Process

In this week's integration build we have upgraded the org.apache.ant plugin to the Apache Ant 1.7.0 release.

To achieve this, I participated in the Eclipse IP process for non-EPL code...and I survived!

Seriously, the process was smooth, easy to understand and required only a modest time investment on my part.
I opened the request on January 31, 2007 and received approval on April 13, 2007.

Getting the approval (or denial) took much longer than I would have liked. To be honest, I was getting fairly nervous about getting a decision before the lockdown for Europa.
It is important for committers and the community for contributions to get in in a timely manner.

There will very likely be bugs that the community finds in Ant 1.7.0 and our integration of Ant within Eclipse. I have found three so far. These take time and exposure to find and fix.

As well, I believe we are a major channel for getting the new Ant releases out to the world. We had a much longer delay than in the past This is a delay in getting all those extra eyes looking at the code and finding the bugs.

Eclipse is a force in the open source community and we need to continue to have these strong indirect influences. Every delay in bundling or using other open source offerings potentially reduces this influence.

Parts of the IP process that we propose could be improved:
  • indication of target date: similar to Eclipse bugs, an IPZilla request should be assigned a target and the target needs to be more refined than "Europa" or whatever the current release is. It made it difficult for me as a committer to plan my work not knowing when the approval would be coming. Predictability is important for any process.
  • do the code review and board approval in parallel: it took an extra 19 days for the approval while timing out on the board approval. From my understanding this change is already in the works.
  • more people to handle the load: we are serious about our IP process and we need to ensure that we have the people to deal with the work load. New IPZilla requests are just going to keep coming in and likely at an increased rate as the Eclipse ecosystem continues to grow.
I will be interested to see the next round when Ant 1.7.1 is released: how we evolve the IP process and the differences when a previous version of a contribution has already been approved.

We are very interested in other committers experiences: what worked well, what could go more smoothly.
Please comment so we all can work together to make this part of Eclipse even better.


EyĆ°un Nielsen said...

Huh? I followed the link for your request. But alas...

Log in to IPzilla

Log in using your Eclipse Bugzilla userid and password. Only Eclipse committers can use IPZilla.

Not really open nor transparent. :(

Chris Aniszczyk (zx) said...

We will look into it, thanks for your comment :)