New contributors + Big Patches + HG = ?

We’ve seen tremendous interest in Firefox and the Mozilla platform, not just from consumers, but also from groups of developers that would like to build on top of and contribute to Mozilla itself.  One of the challenges that these groups often face is that if their work is any more extensive than a simple patch, it’s difficult for them to effectively publish their work and to collaborate with others during development.

Transitioning to a distributed version control system like Mercurial has helped this situation some; branching is easy, as is merging back in to the mainline.  But even with that, these developers would still be isolated, working within essentially their own private repository.

We’d like to make it easy for these people to give their work wider exposure within the community, without having to make a decision up front as to whether the work will be included in mozilla-central or not.

Our rules for giving new commiters access to the main repository don’t work well for groups with large changes, and we’d like to come up with a different process whereby these people would still have to go through the same effort as other contributors to become full “Mozilla contributors”, but that, in the meantime, they can make their work available and can collaborate with others.

I’ve been working with Mitchell and Brendan on coming up with a policy that allows people to more easily work together in cases such as these.  Mitchell be posting what we’ve come up with shortly.

6 thoughts on “New contributors + Big Patches + HG = ?

  1. Dirkjan

    This sounds very interesting! As a hg developer and Mozilla enthusiast, I’m very interested in helping out with leveraging hg as a solution for this issue. Sounds like a good start might be to set up some kind of Mercurial server where people can register for a repo and share their patches (either as MQ repos or as full clones) with the community.

    If you’d like me to join your discussion, catch me on IRC (djc) or CC me on a Bugzilla bug (this email address).

  2. reed

    “But even with that, these developers would still be isolated, working within essentially their own private repository.” <– and what’s going to guarantee that? currently, if you have Hg access, you can commit _anywhere_ in Hg. Until that’s changed, we shouldn’t be doing this.

  3. Ted Mielczarek

    It definitely seems like Hg makes this easier. I think we could provide separate hosting for clones of mozilla-central, and give access to people without giving them access to m-c, to let them easily share their work with others. There would still be the “file a bug, attach a key, get an account” step, but it could be low-overhead. Maybe just one existing committer vouches for you, and you can get access there?

  4. Pingback: Mitchell’s Blog » Blog Archive » Incubator Repositories Proposal

  5. Pingback: Mark Finkle’s Weblog » Mozilla Embedding API - Status

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