Thursday, August 24, 2006

How much is enough?

Recently, there has been a lot of talk among tech bloggers about open source projects, and contributing to them. Phil Haack has sounded off about this subject a lot lately, as have most of the bloggers around, including me.

So, I decided to give back a bit. I've started my own open source project, with one of the guys at work. And, I've decided to help with integrating Wix into Visual Studio more. And, I've decided to help with a game that an acquaintance recently made open source. I've found and filed a couple of bugs with SubText, and made a couple of feature requests.

Both Wix and the game have a model where the guys that are running the project don't allow you direct access to the source control system until you have proven that you are committed, and that you know your stuff.

Here's the question: How many bugs do you have to find & fix before you're cool enough?

I've submitted a couple of help fixes/updates to Wix, and submitted several bug fixes to the game (4 bug fixes and 1 feature addition, actually). Currently, I have to submit my changes to someone on the team that has commit rights to the source control system, and let them actually do the submitting.

For Wix, I definitely feel like I'm not at the point yet where I need to be given commit access.

Yesterday, while working on HA!, I found several times that I was being hampered by not having access to the TFS database. For example, I'd like to refactor some of the code, to make it easier to navigate and make the design more OO. Ultimately, I'd like to shelve a changeset that has all the refactorings complete, and let Chris look over the changes, and approve or not. Right now, that would entail manually uploading each file that changed to CodePlex, through a not-great interface, including a comment with each file upload. Poopy.

How many more bug fixes do I need before I get checkin rights? We'll see what Chris has to say, since he reads this blog. Btw, Chris, I don't have your email address, or I'd have just emailed you today, and asked for access; plus, I think this is an interesting question to ask the coordinators of open source projects. What is the barrier to entry as a contributor?


haacked said...

I think it really depends on how popular the project will. If a project will attract tons and tons of developers, you set the bar really high.

On the other hand, if it won't, then you might set the bar a little lower just to get contributions flowing.

Cullen Waters said...

I guess the next question, then, is where is your bar at? As far as I know, the bar for SubText is just downloading and installing the svn client.

Do you allow everyone to have commit access?

Chris Williams said...

Hey... just saw this. As you know, you have checkin rights by now.

BTW, I need you to contact me (or check the HA! project site) you broke the build... ;)