5 July, 2011 NetBeans Governance Board Meeting

NOTE: Sven and/or John could not attend the meeting on the original date. It was rescheduled for one week later. The meeting started at 11:00 AM CDT and concluded at 11:30 CDT on Tuesday, July 5, 2011.


  • Follow up on tasks from previous discussion
    • What did Web team say regarding edit access to for trusted community members?
      • John said there is agreement from the Web team that this will happen. Tom noted that Jan had granted him (Tom) admin rights on the Wiki at Ashwin Rao's request and that this had made it much easier to remove spam from the Wiki and also allowed him to block accounts from known spammers.
    • What did Web team say regarding link to my planned NetBeans mirror site from download page?
      • John said that the Web team will also take care of this. Tom said he will follow up after he's set up his mirror site.
    • Any word on feedback provided to Sonia Barry
      • John said he had not heard anything so far. (Tom's note: this relates to an e-mail thread within the NetBeans DreamTeam, rather than the NetBeans Governance Board).
    • Continuous Integration for important community-driven NetBeans projects
      • Sven noted that he had put together a list of projects which would be good candidates. John said he is interested to know, for each project, who the main contributors are and how much activity there is on the project. He said that he will look into the possibility of getting continuous integration (i.e. Hudson build jobs) set up for these.
    • Downtime of infrastructure and mailing lists
      • Tom said that all of had been down for a couple of days due a a problem with air conditioning in the server room. He said that this seemed like a one-time accident that is not likely to happen again and that the continued mailing list downtime is having a greater effect on the community. John said that the problem is with the Sympa mailing list software and that the Kenai has hired additional staff and will be working to replace this later this year. John said that this has high visibility and that it will help if we can document any mailing list downtime by sending a report directly to him (John). Tom also mentioned that the out of office replies that get forwarded to the list are really annoying and continue to be a problem. John said that this is a known P1 issue.
  • Discussion of barriers that prevent greater community involvement
    • Tom asked whether there has been any specific research into what prevents members of the NetBeans community from becoming more involved. John stated that there has been no research, but anecdotally, he feels that those code contributions to NetBeans are made more difficult by the steep learning curve associated with learning the APIs and that it's currently necessary to check out and build the entire source tree. Tom and Sven agreed on these points. John also asked whether having contributors attach patches to issues, rather than pushing changes directly to the repository, was discourages developers from contributing code. Tom said that he doesn't think that's a major problem because the process for creating patches is relatively simple and well-documented. Tom said that it's probably less intimidating for a new user this way, since it ensures there's less chance of making an unintended change since someone else will review the change and apply the patch. Tom added that there is a process in place by which community members can be granted direct commit rights to the repository after they've demonstrated a history of contributing good code; Tom added that he has commit rights to the core-main repository, for example.
    • Tom explained an idea for a program he called "First Patch" in which an experienced contributor would volunteer to be paired up with someone who is interested in contributing a patch to NetBeans but has never done so before. Tom said that the experienced volunteer would act as a mentor, helping the new developer to locate the module and source file(s) to be changed, offering advice on how to implement the change (if requested), doing a code review and helping to submit, test and integrate the patch. Tom said that he wants to target small, simple changes because the focus is really on becoming familiar with the process for submitting patches rather than on developing code. He added that if the new developers who successfully submit a patch will subsequently volunteer to act as mentors for the next set of new developers, the number of contributors could grow quickly. John said that he would definitely support this as a community project and would give us ownership of the NetFIX program so we could have a Wiki, mailing list and other services. Tom said that he wasn't sure that this should be seen as a follow-on to the NetFIX program, since the "First Patch" program would focus more on helping someone through submitting their first (fairly simple) patch. John said that the goal of NetFIX had been to make sure that patches don't get overlooked by the core developers. He and Sven then looked at the level of participation in NetFIX and John said that it was much better than he had thought (101 bugs listed with the NETFIX keyword are marked as Fixed in IssueZilla).

Tom said that he is very busy preparing a talk for a local technical group, but will work on getting the "First Patch" program started soon.

  • Next board meeting
    • 2 August, 2011
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