[webkit-dev] The tree is on fire: a tragedy of the commons

Jeremy Orlow jorlow at chromium.org
Fri Feb 26 01:47:39 PST 2010

On Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 10:36 AM, Adam Barth <abarth at webkit.org> wrote:

> Not to point fingers, but we've been having trouble keeping
> build.webkit.org green these past few weeks.  As I write this message,
> every platform is broken, again.  As the project scales, polluting the
> build with brokenness impacts more developers and drains more
> productivity.
> Here are some approaches we could use to turn this tragedy of the
> commons around:
> 1) Adopt a "rollout first, ask questions later" ethic.  The vast
> majority of changes are not important enough to break the build for
> everyone else.  If we adopt a "rollout first, ask questions later"
> ethic, committers would feel free to rollout brokenness to unbreak the
> build and contributors shouldn't be offended if their patch is rolled
> out without their knowledge.  We can always re-land the broken patch
> later once it actually works.
> 2) Require pre-commit vetting of patches.  We have the resources to
> build and test every patch on at least one platform before landing the
> patch in the main tree.  Vetting patches before landing will help us
> avoid breaking every platform at once.  Once the patch has been
> vetted, it can either be landed mechanically (i.e., by commit-queue)
> or manually.
> Here's how I would design the life and times of a patch:
> 1) Contributor uploads patch and nominates it for review.
> 2) Patch vetted by the EWS on numerous platforms.
> 3) If the EWS finds a problem, return to step 1.
> 4) Reviewer marks patch review+.
> 5) Committer decides the patch is ready to land.
> 6) Patch built and tested against top-of-tree on at least one platform.
> 7) If the patch fail to build or pass tests, return to step 1.
> 8) Patch landed.
> 9) If the patch turns any of the "core builders" red, patch is rolled
> out, return to step 1.
> I suspect most of our brokenness coming from committers skipping steps 6
> and 7.

LGTM.  The only thing I'd add is that we REALLY need emails to start going
out to webkit-dev (and ideally the suspected patch owners as well) when
things do break.  What is doing this blocked on?
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