Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

14 Jan 2014, 12:20 p.m.

Hidden Jewels of the RFC or PEP Process

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2014 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

I've been looking into other open source projects' processes for making big architectural changes, to help improve MediaWiki's process. Some have Requests for Comment processes, separate from normal bug/enhancement tickets. Some don't. Some have voting, some have a Benevolent Dictator For Life making the decision. And so on and so on. (This is where I get to use my bachelor's in political science!)

I have come across a few fun documents in this quest:

  • "The Mysterious PHP RFC Process and How You Can Change the Web". Check out item 6 and then its reprise in item 32.

  • The exasperated, please-reject-me PEP 666 by Laura Creighton, which has such gems as:

    People who are already in the middle of a flame war are not well disposed to believe that you are acting out of compassion for them, and quite rightly insist that their own time is their own to do with as they please. They are stuck like flies in treacle in this wretched argument, and it is self-evident that they cannot disengage or they would have already done so.

  • PEP 0374, in which the Python community chooses a distributed version control system. I think this is a marvel of deliberation and research -- bravo!

  • After opensolaris.org disappeared, someone went to some trouble to find and preserve the architectural review cases. Check out the checklist which includes the questions "Will we or are we forking from the community?", "Is this case a Linux Familiarity project?" (basically, to make it easier for people used to Linux to use a Solaris-ish system), and this bit:
    Will the project team work with the upstream community to resolve architectural issues of interest to Sun?
    [X] Yes
    [ ] No - briefly explain

    Doesn't that make you want to read one of those brief explanations?