[webkit-dev] The Purpose of Core Builders

Geoffrey Garen ggaren at apple.com
Tue Nov 8 21:31:11 PST 2011

> On Nov 8, 2011, at 7:38 PM, Eric Seidel wrote:
> The Core Builders are a failed experiment (for which I am guilty).
> They were intended as a set of builders which when green would allow
> the CommitQueue to commit.  This was long before the CommitQueue knew
> how to commit when the bots were red (like real humans do).

The original intention of the core builder set notwithstanding, I find it useful. "?category=core" helps me focus in on relevant bots to see whether my last commit caused problems. The buildbot waterfall is very challenging to navigate; I appreciate any help I can get in separating the real information from the noise.

> I know of no set of builders @ build.webkit.org which are consistently
> green (Core or otherwise), so the distinction is of little meaning
> anymore. :)

While it's true that core builders often have some test failures, I find that failure to build and/or a new crasher in a core builder is typically a good sign that my patch has a bug in it. I find this not to be the case for non-core builders.

> On Nov 8, 2011, at 5:09 PM, Brent Fulgham wrote:
> I admit to being lax in keeping the bot green over the past few weeks,
> which was an unusual case due to external factors. I generally attempt
> to maintain the bot every day, but was not able to keep close tabs on
> it for most of October.
> The build failures (which I fixed this afternoon) took all of five
> minutes to correct, and were due to additions to symbol export files
> that were not applied to the WinCairo version of these files. 

Brent, I applaud your efforts to maintain a WinCairo port all by yourself. However, according to your own description, over the last month, nobody has had even five minutes to devote to the WinCairo port. WebKit is a fast-moving project. If a port can go a whole month (about 2500 revisions in WebKit time) without any maintenance or testing, it just doesn't seem realistic to call it a "core" part of the WebKit project.

> Surely these small errors could have been corrected by the committer -- which

> is surely the point of the build bots?

As a committer who usually has to update and monitor lots of different platform abstractions, build systems, and exported symbols lists when he commits, I can to say that, yes, the bots do help me in those tasks, but no, it's not realistic to expect me to perform them correctly for all platforms every time I commit, especially if there isn't an expert in a given platform available to help by email or IRC. More importantly, it's better for the project overall if core developers spend their time coding, debugging, and testing, and helping others do the same, instead of dotting the i's and crossing the t's in a given build system. I think it's important, and polite, for core developers to make reasonable efforts to help port maintainers maintain their ports. But how can you fault somebody for not spending the time that you yourself didn't have to spend?

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