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Subject: Re: [boost] Unmaintained libraries (Was: 5 Observations - My experience with the boost libraries)
From: Edward Diener (eldiener_at_[hidden])
Date: 2010-03-24 20:34:52

On 3/24/2010 6:02 PM, Vladimir Prus wrote:
> Edward Diener wrote:
>> he license is one thing and even the "Library Maintainer's Rights and
>> Responsibilities" which Steve Watanabe links to in another post is
>> another, but unless someone with authority decides that library X, being
>> ignored by the maintainer, needs to be taken over by another who is
>> amenable to fixes and changes, it is not going to happen. The main
>> reason is somewhat psychological. If an end-user complains that
>> maintainer X is not responding to requests about library X it will be
>> seen as a derogatory put down of maintainer X. If a boost developer
>> complains it may also be seen as a form of competitive envy. Despite
>> your objection to Boost "leaders" someone has to take the bit between
>> the teeth in order to effect change.
> I think you propose not the best way to approach the problem of abandoned libraries.
> Suppose there's a formal procedure of taking over. Like, an email is posted saying:
> Library X is unmaintained. If you would like to take maintenance over,
> and fix the 50 bugs currently filed against it, and also fix all new
> bugs, step forward.
> Do you expect many people will volunteer? On the other hand, if fixing a bug in
> library X does *not* require any formal process and takes 5 minutes, it's much
> more likely that bugs will be fixed. I think we need to have an official
> "it's ok to apply patches everywhere" policy more than anything else.

Has the fixing of bugs in the manner you cite above worked so far ? (
rhetorical question )

Aside from bugs being fixed or doc being updated, what happens when
people request changes to be made, whether additions or updates to the
current functionality ?

Meanwhile the people who have taken over maintenance of neglected
libraries seem to have done a very good job. They have much more at
stake than the occasional fixer of a bug in some library.

As far as people volunteering if the leading Boost developers were to
ask for somebody taking over a library which has been neglected by the
original author, yes I think someone who is interested in doing so will
volunteer. One does not need "many people". One just needs a single
person who has the time and pride in their programming excellence to do
so. But even if it does not happen for some particular library where not
a single person is willing to take over maintenance of the library, the
fact that Boost has asked for someone to come forward clarifies the fact
that the library has been abandoned by its originator and random people
might be more willing to help out and fix bugs in that library knowing that.

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