announcing the patch pilot (was Re: Defining specific problems and handwaving at solutions (was Re: What's Canonical thinking about Bazaar?))

Martin Pool mbp at
Wed Nov 11 08:41:41 GMT 2009

I agree getting changes in is harder than it should be.  It's
sometimes harder for Canonical employees than it should be (ask
them!).  We have a culture that people should not commit without some
kind of consensus so having the actual right to send it to pqm is not
enough.  I think the issues are different (in that it's more normal
for Ian to actually call and complain) but not universally easier (in
that Ian's success at work is blocked by this, as well as his personal

We're at a sprint and talked about this quite a bit, and have a
specific plan to improve this.  Further suggestions are welcome but
most core people agree to do this as follows:

We'll have a specific "patch pilot"[*], guiding them to a safe
landing.  This will be on a rota (say per week).  It's up to the pilot
to get a timely resolution, by eg

 * just landing it
 * writing tests or documentation if they're needed and not present
 * explaining what other work is needed from someone else
 * asking someone else for an opinion
 * deciding it's ok to land without tests - there's an existing
exception that this is ok if the risk/reward/difficulty tradeoff is

It's up to the patch pilot's discretion whether they feel the patch
needs a second core review.  Normally they should give a few days for
this to happen.  (Again, there's an existing exception but rarely

Looking after patches will not realistically always preempt all their
other work (or life) but it should generally be pretty high.

When people rotate away from this role, they will keep looking after
the patches they're already responsible for, unless they agree to hand
them off.

[*] (bialix ;-)  -- A
pilot is a mariner who guides ships through dangerous or congested
waters, such as harbours or river mouths.

And the first patch pilot will be Andrew, for the week starting next
Monday, the 16th.

Martin <>

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