Why I love Open Source

Here is another example of why I love working with open source software and its communities. Last Thursday, one of my team members reached out and asked for advice with regards to a build issue he was observing. We use Maven & Tycho at Tasktop for building almost all of our products. One of its unique features is automated stable versioning based on source code history and dependencies.

Turns out that there was a shortcoming in the implementation with regards to building an aggregated version based on component dependencies. After finding out, I opened a defect report, prepared a patch and posted to the mailing list for awareness and getting feedback on Friday. This took me less then an hour of my time. By Monday – only 72 hours later – the patch was accepted and merged into the main code base, unblocking my colleague.

  1. Discover the root cause.
  2. File defect report
  3. Prepare patch
  4. Communicate about change and collect feedback
  5. Cross fingers – or – hold thumbs.

In my opinion, the key criteria for such a change being successful is the patch size. Yes, I could have added configurability to the change and that would have increased the patch size. The larger a change is, the more time committers need to set aside for understanding and reviewing a change. It’s about the minimal viable solution – keeping things simple. Don’t overwhelm committers with your first change.

Well, and it pays off going to conferences and having a beer or two with project committers.

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