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Re: Patch committers

From: Bruce Momjian <bruce(at)momjian(dot)us>
To: Peter Eisentraut <peter_e(at)gmx(dot)net>
Cc: Robert Haas <robertmhaas(at)gmail(dot)com>, pgsql-hackers(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: Re: Patch committers
Date: 2009-11-11 18:54:07
Message-ID: 200911111854.nABIs7s28991@momjian.us (view raw or flat)
Thread:
Lists: pgsql-hackers
Peter Eisentraut wrote:
> On ons, 2009-11-11 at 10:25 -0500, Bruce Momjian wrote:
> > 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.
> 
> I can't claim to know everyone's employment terms, but I think it's a
> bit of an illusion to think that the above hasn't always happened.
> Except for a handful of people who have very special job arrangements,

Yes, it has always happened.  I think the big difference is that those
"special employments" are currently a fixed size, and the volume of
patches has increased as our user-base has increased.

I also think the bad economy is making it harder for people/companies to
devote time to community stuff when paid work is available.

I always had an assumption that those special employments would grow as
the community grew, but I am not sure I am seeing that.  Combine that
with skill siphoning, and I get concerned.

> *everyone* is working almost exclusively on company-related or
> closed-source projects.  The patches that get sent in are almost always
> either fallout from a customer/company project, or stuff that one of the
> closed-sourced forks has developed that they don't want to maintain, or
> stuff people do "at night" to make their lives easier in the distant
> future.  All of those things are already special arrangements that
> people need to make with their employers and their lives, but they have
> discernible benefits.  But you can't expect a lot of people or employers
> to reserve time on top of that for handholding other people's patches
> and for other "community" stuff that has no easy to measure benefits.

Totally agree.  It is that zero-return work that is hard to justify for
people and companies.  It is clearly something that requires
self-sacrifice, and personally I think a culture of self-sacrifice is
what has given us such great success and such a nuturing community
environment.

Historically, there was a "golden era" when Tom, Heikki, Neil Conway,
Alvaro, and others all handled patches and things ran with much less of
an individual burden than we have now, but that might have been an
aberration.

Personally, I don't think we have a major problem now, but I do think
there is the chance of this getting worse in the future, and making
people unhappy.  I am brining it up now in case there is something we
can do to avoid such unhappiness.

-- 
  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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