[OpenLayers-Dev] GitHub straw poll

christopher.schmidt at nokia.com christopher.schmidt at nokia.com
Sat Apr 17 08:58:13 EDT 2010

On Apr 17, 2010, at 3:16 AM, ext Jochen Topf wrote:
>> I feel that moving to GitHub decentralizes community, and (similar to  
>> a wiki for documentation) causes users to feel 'unconnected' with a  
>> mainline management of the code.
>> In many cases, I have felt that the only reason that contributors have  
>> worked to contribute their changes back to OpenLayers is because of  
>> the 'cost of forking' -- creating a fork takes time and effort, and  
>> not doing so is easier than doing so. As a result, they are required  
>> to participate in the community, and in doing so they have a positive  
>> effect on the whole community.
>> By making forking 'easy', we encourage developers to live in their own  
>> world, with low cost to them, and low incentive to contribute back to  
>> the community.
> On the other hand opening up easy participation to new developers by
> having a lower cost of entry for git helps attracting new developers.
> I have contributed two patches (#2351 and #2352). They are a new control and a
> new layer type. Both rather specialized and not really important at all, maybe
> not even worth taking into OL core. They have beeing hanging in Trac limbo
> for 5 months now.

For the record, I consider this a problem with solving -- I just don't know that I agree that Git is the best way to solve it. (It's certainly not the only way to solve it.)

> If anybody wants to use them, he has to get the patches
> out there and apply them manually.

Another option would be to put these patches into an SVN sandbox inside OL's system. If all Trac accounts had access to the SVN sandbox directory, anyone who could make patches could put them into a branch of OL that is centrally available + accessible.

> For all intents and purposes those patches
> are dead. If we had git, it would be much easier to maintain those patches
> somewhere until somebody decides what to do with them.

Would it be easier than putting them into an SVN sandbox?

> Maybe they go into
> core, maybe they'll end up in some community maintained "extras" repository,
> maybe they'll forever be just part of my personal "fork".

All of which can still happen without Git.

>> I realize that this is mostly a selfish point of view, but I fear  
>> making it easy for organizations to fork, whether it be big or small.  
>> THe motivation to contribute back to OpenLayers is reasonably small  
>> already, due to the turnaround time on OpenLayers mainline commits;  
>> moving to Git to me feels like simply giving up.
> I agree with Chris that the current OL management has worked well for the
> core of OL, but I think that git could help all those at the fringes of
> OL experimenting with new functionality. Those people on the fringes,
> if you keep them happy, some of them will move into core development.
> In the long run, they'll keep the project healthy.

So, I guess the question is: "Why aren't OL sandboxes being used for this?" I always started the sandbox development idea with that in mind, and I think that other projects have had success with this model within SVN (GDAL, for example); why is that not working for OL?

Christopher Schmidt

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