Tuesday Jul 10, 2007

Put your patch upstream

Today is a Sun patch day for us engineers working on Java Desktop System. We invited gnome hackers to join us, review our patches, and push the less controversial ones upstream.

We keep trying to put our patches upstream, i.e. put them back to the community code base. Putting patches upstream not only contributes to community, but also helps us lower our maintenance cost.

Take Mozilla for example, when we worked on Mozilla 1.7, because of the tight schedule and some other reason, we held many patches ourselves, especially on accessibility module. The good thing was, we made Sun Mozilla 1.7 much more accessible. While the bad thing is when community code base move forward, we had to spend much time to update our own patches to make them comply with the latest code. Sometimes it was painful, because there could be conflicts and regressions, since our patches were held locally and weren't tested with new code. And since those patches were not reviewed by community hackers, some of them also had potential problems. When Firefox comes out, we had to abandon many of the former patches.

Fortunately, we're working on HEAD now, all of our patches to Mozilla are put upstream (except some branding ones). When a new version of Firefox comes out, we can deliver our Solaris packages at the first time without wasting time on maintaining old patches.

Wish today a successful Sun Patch Day.
About

I'm a developer working on Solaris I/O framework. Formerly, I worked on Mozilla and GNOME projects.

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