Month: January 2014

Changing up the source

In order to get familiar with the process surrounding code changes and review, we were asked to look at two different open source project and compare their change procedure. I chose to examine VICE, the Versatile Commodore Emulator, a multi-platform open source Commodore computer emulator and PMD, Don’t Shoot the Messenger, a source code analyzer designed to find a wide range of coding errors.

Both project use SourceForge to track changes to their code base. SourceForge offers a set of tools to assist the development of open source project, these help: tracking changes, create message boards, provide documentation and offering downloads.

The first few lines of VICE source code repository the developers outline their expectations in brief when you make a change notify the person responsible for that part of the project and update the ticketing system on SourceForge. In looking at a bug fix for correcting multi monitor support we see that their is a half month lag between the patch being submitted and it being accepted. With three developers joining in the conversation. This seems to be atypical for this project most patch were accepted quite quickly. Though this is probably due to the fact that at this point the project is quite mature so the changes tend to be minor.

In contrast the PDM patch page on SourceForge showed 8 open patch all of which had not been created more than a year ago and in one case 9 years ago. That is not to say that the project is no being maintained they have 267 accepted patches and the last release of the software was August of last year. On their GitHub page only 5 people are listed as members of the project.