[webkit-dev] WebKit branch to support multiple VMs (e.g., Dart)

Geoffrey Garen ggaren at apple.com
Mon Dec 5 21:04:59 PST 2011

> On Mon, Dec 5, 2011 at 5:22 PM, Geoffrey Garen <ggaren at apple.com> wrote:
> > We're creating a branch in order to demonstrate that it's useful and that it does not negatively impact hackability or performance.
> It hadn't occurred to me to view the goals of the WebKit project as applying only to trunk, and not to branches. I'd be interested in hearing from other WebKit engineers: Do you think that the goals of the WebKit project apply to trunk alone, or to branches as well?
> It sounds from the quote above like Vijay is not trying to change what the goals are, only to obtain an environment where it's possible to demonstrate, by practical experience, that some set of changes is indeed consistent with WebKit's goals.   In principle a branch seems appropriate for that to me unless there is widespread agreement that the entire idea of these patches is so contrary to what we want that no one should have ever even thought about doing them in the first place.  I'm not sure things are that clear-cut, so seeing a more fleshed-out system might be useful.

"I want to experiment with an unproven technology" is plainly inconsistent with "we strongly prefer for the technology… to be proven."

It's gratifying that the Dart experiment may result, in the long term, in a patch or set of patches consistent with WebKit's goals. Or it may not. That is true of any long-term experiment. But that doesn't make long-term experiments consistent with WebKit's goals.

It's hard to discuss the Dart experiment without acknowledging the implicit request for a change in project goals, or an exemption from them. If I take our existing goals as my premises, it seems undeniable to me that a reviewer should r- a patch to add web-facing bindings for an unstandardized language, which is supported by no other browser engines and used by no popular websites -- whether on or off by default.

But perhaps the Dart experiment is so good that it deserves an exemption we wouldn't give to other experiments; or perhaps WebKit's goals are wrong, and should change. I'd like to find out. We can't have that conversation until somebody acknowledges that the Dart experiment is asking for a change, explains what the change is, and explains why the change is good for the long-term health of the WebKit project.

For reference, we have historically said no to the same experiment with Python. Is your proposition that we should have said yes, or that Dart is special?

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