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JDK Community: Dream or Reality

Posted by schaefa on March 8, 2006 at 1:31 PM PST

Yesterday Ray Gan blogged about the href="">JDK
Community listing some of the facts about the Peabody
project. If you never heard about that project then you are not alone
and I only now about it because Joshua Marinacci gave a presentation
about it at the LA-JUG last year. But even without knowing about the
Peabody project is became a JDK contributor last year in November and
started to code a fix for bug #6212146
which I has sent to Sun for a review by the end of November. I got an
initial confirmation that the bug fix was received but that was all I
heard from Sun for a long time. Then January 2006 Ray blogged about the
of JDK Community and I responded complaining about that I got
no feedback from Sun about my patch. A little bit later I finally got
an email from Michael McMahon (1/31) that they started to look into the
patch. I also spoke with Matt Ingenthron from Sun about it and he tried
to find out what is going on and to bring some more transparency into
the JDB Community. Needless to say that I did not get any feedback
since then

As a good citizen I took the time yesterday to fill out the
survey and to pour in some of my thoughts and complaints. Now I take
the opportunity of this blog to share my thoughts on the JDK Community
to a broader audience. As an active open-source developer I know both
sides of the aisle, the one that runs a project and the one that
provides patches. But in order to keep a community alive and active the
project team must react to input from the community and give feedback
without being pushed all the time. Especially in this case where Sun is
a huge company and Java is a big project getting a community project up
an running is difficult. Nevertheless as a contributor I think I have
the right that Sun not only receives the work from the contributors but
also gives something in return and the very basic would be feedback on
the progress of a patch. Unfortunately a regular contributor cannot get
the CTS in order to make sure that one's but fixes does not break Java
and so I cannot test it thoroughly. This means a contributor has to
wait until Sun provides feedback to improve the patch. As a contributor
I do not want that my patch is swallowed by a black hole and one day it
makes it into the JDK or not.

I suggested a few improvements and most prominently I would
love to have a contract person within Sun with whom I can work on the
patch to make it into the JDK. He/she does not have to be the developer
that test or improve the patch but he/she must be able to answer
questions and to provide feedback. I do not need contests, awards or
public recognition but I would love to have my name as author in the
Java code when the patch makes it into the JDK. In addition I would
love to have forum(s) for contributors where they can discuss items
with the Sun's Java developers and also a way to track which
contributor is working on which bug so that I can avoid working on a
bug that someone else is already working on. Maybe it would be a good
idea to invite some contributors into an expert group to improve the
JDK Community process.

Currently I am not working on any patches for the JDK because
I want to ensure that my time spent on this is spent
worthwhile and so I want to see if it makes it into the JDK or not and
in case it fails I want to know why. That said I still hope that Sun
can improve the JDK Community because I would love to work on the JDK
in the future. So far I am disappointed about the process and also
think that this is why there are not as many contributions as one would
expect (see the href="">JDK
Community List).


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