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Subject: Re: [boost] [Boost-users] Maintenace Guidelines wiki page
From: Daniel Walker (daniel.j.walker_at_[hidden])
Date: 2008-11-23 12:27:50

On Sun, Nov 23, 2008 at 6:18 AM, Henrik Sundberg <storangen_at_[hidden]> wrote:
> On Sun, Nov 23, 2008 at 11:29 AM, vicente.botet
> <vicente.botet_at_[hidden]> wrote:
>> The Daniel proposal implies some changes in the writing rights of the authors. I prefer to let this point out of these guidelines. Of course I think that this is a good idea.
> I think this is absolutely wrong. The authors are the experts and they
> do all work. You should never try to make them inferior.

Umm, I didn't say anyone was inferior to anyone else. I'm afraid you
misconstrued my statement.

> Do not handle
> quality in Boost as in old fashioned handling of "Quality" (which
> *not* is the same as product/code quality) in big companies. There is
> a release management in Boost. The release manager can choose not to
> accept something in the release if something is considered to be too
> bad.

This is a good comparison. Quality assurance in boost, or any open
source project, won't be the same as QA in a corporate setting.
(Incidentally, most corporations are much smaller than boost in terms
of participates.) The release manager is boost's closest analogy to a
corporate QA department. However, with more and more libraries, the
release manager's job is getting harder and quality may slip as a

Most open source projects have what (I believe) ESR called a
benevolent dictator; i.e. one person or a small group of people who
lead the project and have write permissions on the version control
system. Contributors submit patches and the leader of the project
guards the quality by deciding how changes are accepted.

With boost, each library's authors are the benevolent dictators of
that library. However, who are the leaders of boost as a whole? What
power do they have to guard the quality of boost?

Authors write their own tests (I'm not suggesting they shouldn't), and
the community accepts them during the review. Once accepted, the tests
should be a verification that the library does what the community
voted on. The tests are a verification of quality. At that point, I
think it might be a good idea to quarantine the tests, take them out
of the authors hands, and put them under the stewardship of a
benevolent dictator of boost as a whole so that they can be used to
assure that the library does what the community voted on.

But I don't know. Here's another idea. Rather than trying to make the
analogy between boost and a single open source project, perhaps the
analogy should be between boost and a single distributer of multiple
open source projects, for example, Debain or Fedora. Debian, for
example, has three tiers of "release": testing, stable, and unstable -
everyone's favorite. ;) I'm not sure what quality control procedures
they have, but maybe that's also a good place to look for ideas.

Daniel Walker

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