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Re: Patch committers

From: Bruce Momjian <bruce(at)momjian(dot)us>
To: Robert Haas <robertmhaas(at)gmail(dot)com>
Cc: pgsql-hackers(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: Re: Patch committers
Date: 2009-11-11 15:25:36
Message-ID: 200911111525.nABFPao24147@momjian.us (view raw or flat)
Thread:
Lists: pgsql-hackers
bruce wrote:
> This brings up a concern I have --- that the number of patch
> committers/managers is decreasing while our patch volume is increasing. 
> Consider that Heikki is working mostly on Hot Standby and Streaming
> Replication, Alvaro isn't as involved in applying patches, Neil Conway
> isn't involved with Postgres anymore, I am in a 42-day travel period,
> and Robert Haas is feeling burnt-out --- that is not a pretty sight.
> 
> Much of the patch burden is falling on Tom.  Now, Tom isn't complaining,
> but I am concerned about placing too much of a burden on him.  I know we
> are growing new patch reviewers who will eventually be able to review
> _and_ apply patches on their own, but getting them to that point is
> going to take time.
> 
> I have no real answers, but I am concerned.  I have talked to many of
> you privately about this to get your input.

There is a more worrisome/sinister possibility that I didn't want to
mention in my first email --- that companies are hiring our most
experienced developers and having them work almost exclusively on
company-related or closed-source projects.

Unfortunately I can think of at least half-a-dozen cases of this
happening.  Now, this was expected, but the hope was that this kind of
skill siphoning would be offset by additional people being paid to be
involved in Postgres development, and that clearly is happening.  What I
am worried about is that this is not happening as much among our most
experienced people --- that in fact they are the most likely to be hired
and perhaps placed into roles where they are less involved in the
community than they were before.  (Of course, there are counter-examples
where experience developers are hired to work on community Postgres
full-time.)

There is not much we as a community can do to prevent skill siphoning,
except perhaps publicly complaining about companies that do this.

If this is indeed a pattern, it has serious long-term consequences
because it means we will always have an unnaturally small pool of very
skilled people.

Up to this point we have been able to maintain a happy group of
developers.  If things become unbalanced and people are regularly
required to do things they don't like doing, it will lead to Postgres no
longer being fun for them, which leads to burn-out and them leaving the
project.  That happens frequently in other open source projects, but it
has been a very rare occurance for us, and I hope it stays that way.
Our ability to retain people for many years has benefitted us in
countless ways.

-- 
  Bruce Momjian  <bruce(at)momjian(dot)us>        http://momjian.us
  EnterpriseDB                             http://enterprisedb.com

  + If your life is a hard drive, Christ can be your backup. +

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