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Noosfero Development Policy

Developer Roles

  • Developers are everyone that is contributing code to Noosfero.
  • Committers are the people with direct commit access to the Noosfero source code. They are responsible for reviewing contributions from other developers and integrating them in the Noosfero code base. They are the members of the Noosfero group on Gitlab.
  • Release managers are the people that are managing the release of a new Noosfero version and/or the maintainance work of an existing Noosfero stable branch. See for details on the maintaince policy.

Current Commiters

Current Release Manager

Development process

  • Every new feature or non-trivial bugfix should be reviewed by at least one committer. This must be the case even if the original author is a committer.

    • In the case the original author is a committer, he/she should feel free to commit directly if after 1 week nobody has provided any kind of feedback.
    • Developers who are not committers should feel free to ping committers if they do not get feedback on their contributions after 1 week.
    • On GitLab, one can just add a comment to the merge request; one can also @-mention specific committers or other developers who have expertise on the area of the contribution.
    • Committers should follow the activity of the project, and try to help reviewing contributions from others as much as possible.
    • On GitLab one can get emails for all activity on a project by setting the notification settings to "watch".
    • Anyone can help by reviewing contributions. Committers are the only ones who can give the final approval to a contribution, but everyone is welcome to help with code review, testing, etc.
    • See note above about setting up notification on GitLab.
  • Committers should feel free to push trivial (or urgent) changes directly. There are no strict rule on what makes a change trivial or urgent; committers are expected to exercise good judgement on a case by case basis.

    • Usually changes to the database are not trivial.
  • In the case of unsolvable conflict between commiters regarding any change to the code, the current release manager(s) will have the final say in the matter.

  • Release managers are responsible for stablishing a release schedule, and about deciding when and what to release.

    • Release managers should announce release schedules to the project mailing lists in advance.
    • The release schedule may include a period of feature freeze, during which no new features or any other changes that are not pre-approved by the release manager must be committed to the repository.
    • Committers must respect the release schedule and feature freezes.

Maintainance process

Not all feature releases will be maintained as a stable release

We will be choosing specific release series to be maintained as stable releases.

This means that a given release is not guaranteed to be maintained as a stable release, but does not mean it won't be. Any committer (or anyone, really) can decide to maintain a given release as stable and seek help from others to do so.

No merges from stable branches to master

All changes must be submitted against the master branch first, and when applicable, backported to the desired stable releases. Exceptions to this rules are bug fixes that only apply to a given stable branch and not to master.

In the past we had non-trivial changes accepted into stable releases while master was way ahead (e.g. during the rails3 migration period), that made the merge back into master very painful. By eliminating the need to do these merges, we save time for the people responsible for the release, and eliminate the possibility of human errors or oversights causing changes to be accepted into stable that will be a problem to merge back into master.

By getting all fixes in master first, we improve the chances that a future release will not present regressions against bugs that should already be fixed, but the fixes got lost in a big, complicated merge (and those won't exist anymore, at least not from stable branches to master).

After a fix gets into master, backporting changes into a stable release branch is the responsibility of whoever is maintaing that branch, and those interested in it. The stable branch release manager(s) are entitled the final say on any matters related to that branch.

Apendix A: how to become a committer

Every developer that wants to be a committer should create an issue on Gitlab requesting to be added as a committer. This request must include information about the requestor's previous contributions to the project.

If 2 or more commiters consider second the request, the requestor is accepted as new commiter and added to the Noosfero group.

The existing committers are free to choose whatever criteria they want to second the request, but they must be sure that the new committer is a responsible developer and knows what she/he is doing. They must be aware that seconding these requests means seconding the actions of the new committer: if the new committer screw up, her/his seconds screwed up.

Apendix B: how to become a release manager

A new release manager for the development version of Noosfero (i.e. the one that includes new features, a.k.a. the master branch) is apointed by the current release manager, and must be a committer first.

Release managers for stable branches are self-appointed, i.e. whoever takes the work takes the role. In case of a conflict (e.g. 2+ different people want to do the work but can't agree on working together), the development release manager decides.