2010-04-17

The importance of a clear description for bug 8009

For the nth time bug 8009 "Split File Editor" is discussed - n being rather large... This never-ending story is one of my favorite pass times when it comes to following Eclipse bugs... I really only have one wish: we need some new and fresh comments.

Well... lately, there have been some development in the comments, as already described by Holger Voormann, a bounty has now been started. In my book, the people behind the bounty now only need three things: a clear description, sufficient funds and a convinced committer. Will that happen? I think not.

In order to ask somebody to create a patch, the bounty givers/providers (?) must agree on a clear description of the problem and the wanted solution. Looking quickly through the 146 (!!) comments, I have not found a clear description of the wanted solution - actually I have found many different vague descriptions -, so one must wonder: does the current bounty givers have a common consensus for the wanted solution? If that is not the case, I can only guess that some of the people are going to be rather disappointed when they see a solution...

Most of the committers of the platform seems to agree, that the any implementation of this bug is going to be non-trivial. Thus, one must expect that the bounty for the bug must be relatively large - unless somebody goes the for the bounty just for the fame. But it is not enough to create a patch for the bug: as the patch is going to be relatively large, all sorts of committer rules are going to be in effect. Remember that somebody will have to maintain the patch afterwards. I.e. one of the existing committers for the platform must accept the provided patch as his/hers own and maintain it ever after. (Admitted, here I take it for granted that the bounty givers are not going to collect enough funds to pay for the continued maintenance of the solution... not an unreasonable assumption, I think).

I make my living by developing or help developing Eclipse RCP applications. So as a consumer of the Eclipse sources, I really, really don't want anything new in the platform unless all of the current committers can vouch for the solution. The platform has to be rock solid, otherwise we cannot base mission critical application on top of the sources. (Yes, I know that this basically means the development of the platform is almost none as the current code base is so old and complicated, but... that is exactly only of the aims of the e4 project, right?)

So... summa-sumarum: 1) you need a clear description of the problem, 2) you need funds and 3) you need to convince an existing committer that your solution is sound and good...

I can see 2) happen, I think 1) is going to be hard and 3) is going to be nearly impossible!
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