Murray's Blog

GNOME release notes

gman, jfleck , louie, jdub and I spent a frenzied few days working on the GNOME release notes. Because we use the latest cvs stuff all the time, seeing gradual changes, and because people don’t use NEWS files like they should, it was really hard to find out what exactly had changed. But I think it turned out well. I was pleasantly surprised by jfleck‘s perfect Strunk & White-like rewriting/editing ability. He can write. That’s rare.

I’m glad that we got the “GNOME is simple and works” message across. It really is the most important thing about GNOME these days, and it’s a very good thing. I think it’s easy for people to consider deployment of a small, non-mysterious, comprehensive system.

I wasn’t around for the actual release because I had to travel up to Hannover at the last minute for an interview about a new contract. I seem to have bagged it, so I should be working in Frankfurt for a few months after 2 weeks of training in Linz, Austria. I’m particularly pleased that I passed an Interview in german. I had 2 disastrous interviews in german in the past and those are the only interviews in the last decade that I’ve not had offers from. I’m still a long way from fluency, but I’ve improved lots over the last few months. Reading is getting easier too – I’m reading newspapers almost as quickly as english ones. I’ve almost finished Thomas Brussig’s Helden Wie Wir, which is teaching me lots of dirty words.

Although it’s good that the maintainer of all of these projects can pay the rent in the future, I will probably have less time for the next few months. Luckily everything is clear and planned and people know what to do.

libxml++ was very frustrating recently. I had to explain to an over-eager contributor why his patch should not contain unrelated changes or introduce regressions, and we had to revise his patch 6 times. He was then given cvs write access and made a terrible mess of our cvs because he had not been given a chance to learn how to contribute. Rather than have to ask someone not to do the wrong things it’s normally much easier to just say “You can do this” and let them learn why by watching. It sounds unhelpful, but people only seem to understand maintainership when they see it done. Some day I might write some justification down in one document but I think first-time contributors still wouldn’t understand the importance without first-hand experience.

I have so many projects at the moment that it’s very frustrating to think again that I should take over another maintainership just to keep a project on track.

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