The five-minutes-fix myth

One of the complains I often get for my QA work (which I have to say is vocally not appreciated even by the other devs), is that I could just go on and fix the issues I find rather than opening but for them because “it just takes five minutes from bug to commit” to fix the problem.

No it does not take five minutes to fix something, I can assure you!

Of course people will continue to say that it just takes a few minutes to find the problem and come up with a patch; the problem is that most of the time, for the kind of bugs I report myself, to fix them properly takes much, much more.

Most of the time that some developer decides that some single problem does not warrant to remove a package, even if it doesn’t have anybody looking after it, the same packages re-enter my radar at the next round of tinderboxing, or in the best of cases, a few months later.

The problem is, when a package has a maintainer, that maintainer is supposed to keep the package in line with the development policies; if you don’t maintain a package but commit a five-minutes-fix you’re not ensuring it complies with the policy but you’re fixing the single symptom I reported, which most likely is just the one that I hit first.

When I (and I’m not boasting here, but just stating how it is) fix a package, I do things like removing older versions, making sure it complies with all the policies, check all the bugs the package has open, check for things that there aren’t bugs for, like CFLAGS and LDFLAGS being respected, the files not being pre-stripped, features that might be missing, version bumps requirement, correct dependencies, and so on so forth. It’s not a five-minutes work! It’s often a multiple hours work instead!

What is upsetting me, to return to the fact that Gentoo’s QA problem is with developers is that some developers think it’s fine to remove a package from the QA removal queue just because they fixed the last bug I filed. I’m honestly considering the idea of making it policy that if you wish to save a package from QA you got to fix all the problems with it, and take maintainership of it if it breaks again. And for those ignoring these, we should definitely enforce some kind of penalty in form of not being able to “save” a package from removal any longer.