[openstack-dev] [openstack-tc] Proposal to recognize indirect contributions to our code base

Russell Bryant rbryant at redhat.com
Mon Nov 11 16:41:28 UTC 2013

On 11/11/2013 10:57 AM, Mark McLoughlin wrote:
> Hi Nick,
> On Mon, 2013-11-11 at 15:20 +0100, Nicolas Barcet wrote:
>> Dear TC members,
>> Our companies are actively encouraging our respective customers to have the
>> patches they mission us to make be contributed back upstream.  In order to
>> encourage this behavior from them and others, it would be nice that if
>> could gain some visibility as "sponsors" of the patches in the same way we
>> get visibility as "authors" of the patches today.
>> The goal here is not to provide yet another way to count affiliations of
>> direct contributors, nor is it a way to introduce sales pitches in contrib.
>>  The only acceptable and appropriate use of the proposal we are making is
>> to signal when a patch made by a contributor for another comany than the
>> one he is currently employed by.
>> For example if I work for a company A and write a patch as part of an
>> engagement with company B, I would signal that Company B is the sponsor of
>> my patch this way, not Company A.  Company B would under current
>> circumstances not get any credit for their indirect contribution to our
>> code base, while I think it is our intent to encourage them to contribute,
>> even indirectly.
>> To enable this, we are proposing that the commit text of a patch may
>> include a
>>    sponsored-by: <sponsorname>
>> line which could be used by various tools to report on these commits.
>>  Sponsored-by should not be used to report on the name of the company the
>> contributor is already affiliated to.
> Honestly, I've an immediately negative reaction to the prospect of e.g.
>   Sponsored-By: Red Hat
>   Sponsored-By: IBM
> appearing in our commit messages.
> I feel strongly that the project is first and foremost a community of
> individuals and we instinctively push as much of corporate backing side
> of things outside of the project. We try to spend as little time as
> possible talking about our affiliations as possible.
> And, IMHO, the git commit log is particularly sacred ground - almost
> above anything else, it is a place for purely technical details.

This was exactly my reaction, as well.  I just hadn't been able to come
up with a good alternate proposal, yet.

> However, I do think we'll be able to figure out some way of making it
> easier for tools to track more complex affiliations.
> Our affiliation databases are all keyed off email addresses right now,
> so how about if we allowed for encoding affiliation/sponsorship in
> addresses? e.g.
>   Author: Mark McLoughlin <markmc+ibm at redhat.com>
> and we could register that address as "work done by Mark on behalf of
> IBM" ?

That doesn't seem any better to me.  It actually seems more likely to
break, since someone could be using an email address with '+' in it for
some other reason, right?

I think it may be worth looking at this from a different angle.  Perhaps
we should tone down the focus on company metrics, and perhaps remove
them completely from anything we control or have influence over.

Russell Bryant

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