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Subject: Re: Code style and project status

Re: Code style and project status

From: Salvador Fandino <sfandino_at_gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2019 11:13:43 +0100

On 3/17/19 5:56 PM, Daniel Stenberg wrote:
> Hi all,

>  - A (rather large) code overhaul that unifies the style, white space,
>    bracing, line lengths and some more to make sure that the new CI build
>    still builds greeen.

There are currently 36 open pull requests on GitHub. This code overhaul
would probably break a large number of them. Is that a good idea?

You have come back to the project and discovered that the code is quite
rotten, and now you are trying to fix it fast but you are missing the
real cause of the problem: there is not a real community around libssh2,
nobody taking care of it as a whole, nobody systematically listening to
users, fixing bugs, looking at the pull requests, etc.

Don't get me wrong, There are still people investing their time into
libssh2, but most of them seem to be concentrated on scratching their
own itch or don't have enough time, well, I don't know... take for sure
that I am not in any case trying to downplay their work... but what is
obvious is that they are way under the critical mass required to make
libssh2 a thrilling project. Just take a look at the contributor graphs:
https://github.com/libssh2/libssh2/graphs/contributors

Those 36 open pull requests belong to potential future libssh2
contributors and restyling the code may just send them the message
"libssh2 doesn't care about your contributions" driving them away from
the project and that is exactly the opposite of what it's needed.

>
>  - The idea being that with (much) stricter tests and tooling, we will
> land
>    more unified code and there will be less need for humans to point
> out the
>    most obvious style violations in PRs.
> Thoughts?
>
> I realize I come here barging in, but I felt this was needed. I can be
> told I'm wrong and I certainly think we could discuss code style etc if
> that's what anyone wants. Especially I think the ones who actually write
> code in the project more frequently than I do should have a say in how
> to write it. >
> I'm not married to a particular style but I will insist on the style to
> be consistent *and enforced*.

Note that I am not against that plan. I just think it shouldn't be done
until at least the most recent PRs are reviewed.

I would like to add that nowadays my interest in libssh2 is just
marginal. Just last week somebody reported a issue on the Net::SSH2, the
Perl wrapper for libssh2 for which I am still the maintainer, and I
ended digging in libssh2 again and by chance, come to see your mail.

It remembered me when some years ago I become enthusiastic about the
project. I started fixing simple bugs that were breaking Net::SSH2, then
finding more obscure ones usually related to robustness and finally just
looking into the code and looking for places were it could be simplified
and improved. But then, my pull requests become ignored, or just weren't
replied in months and I just lost interest on libssh2 and moved to other
things.

I don't want to mean that as an accusation or anything like that, just
as anecdotal evidence that the project is not very good at getting new
people involved and to explain why I feel sympathetic with the people
behind those pull request.

Cheers!

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Received on 2019-03-18

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