How can we ensure Bazaar (bzr) remains active?

Stephen J. Turnbull stephen at
Tue Sep 22 03:09:32 UTC 2015

Kevin writes:

 > What is it with bzr being so left behind?

As open source projects go, it was hard to contribute to.  The code
itself is deeply layered and not easy to understand for "drive-by
contributors".  And the QA process was so burdensome that when
development was active, they had a "patch pilot" who basically spent
half-time or more guiding third-party contributions through and around
Scylla and Charybdis.  There were several (more than two, I forget how
many there actually were) paid developers working at least half-time;
it was hard for "casual contributors" to keep up (and a few who did
were hired by Canonical).  There was a real social divide between the
core team (mostly Canonical employees) and the users.  Not in a us v.
them sense, just there weren't very many casual contributors in the
middle to pick up the ball when core developers became less active.

Then over a period of a few months, Canonical transferred all the paid
developers to higher-priority projects.  Oof! as the bad guys say in
Batman comics.

On the plus side, the core team was *extremely* competent (the product
is very high quality on code quality metrics as well as featureful)
and as responsive as any open source team I've seen to bug reports.
You have a really good, clean code base to build on, and copious
internals (design) documentation.

Of the old core, a couple (Jelmer Vernooij and Robert Collins) still
post to this list.  It's a good bet they'll help out with technical
advice and occasional patches.  Others would probably reappear as
casual contributors if the project became active.  So there are
(likely to be) valuable human resources new developers can access, as
well as the code base and documentation.

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