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Indeterminate Heuristics
Community Access to the Jini Starter Kit Codebase
by Dale Asberry
April 2, 2004
Summary
At the 7th Annual Jini Community Meeting, one of the discussions was about the fact that Sun did not have a version of the Jini Starter Kit in a publicly visible CVS tree.

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I feel that having the entire source tree available would be a good thing for the community. For those concerned about forks or other nonsense, then the list of committers can remain solely in the power of the Sun Jini team.

Last year I submitted a patch to the Axis group for a very serious bug that was preventing me from moving forward. I wrote the fix, created a diff (according to their standards), along with a unit test that revealed the bug, and then I submitted the bug to the core team. An hour later, a committer put the code into the CVS tree. From what I've seen, this is considerably faster than the Jini team's response. Not only that, but anyone else who encountered the same problem could just grab the particular file from CVS and their problem would be fixed. In fact, that process helped me resolve another issue I was running into. Yeah, the codebase differed slightly from the release codebase, but everything worked. Since I had not intentions of "distributing" the code to additional parties, the problem of code drift was not an issue.

With the time between release dates for most projects exceeding a year (or more), source access allows each community member to decide if possible incompatibilities are worth the benefits.

The Jini team has limited resources and I believe could greatly benefit from the OSS process of many people chipping away small pieces of the problem - bugs or new features. We (the Jini Community) all know the power of worker processes grabbing tasks out of a common space: by publishing issues and enhancements and accepting patches and tests in return, the community would benefit from faster JSTK releases.

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About the Blogger

R. Dale Asberry been hacking since 1978, professionally since 1990. He's certified in Java 1.1 and has a four digit MCP number. He discovered Jini at the 2000 JavaOne and has been building incredibly cool, dynamic, distributed architectures ever since! Over time, he's discovered several principles that have contributed to his success - they are the Princples of: Enabling Others, Simplicity, No Complaining, Least Work, Least Surprise, Least Damage, and "It Just Works".

This weblog entry is Copyright © 2004 Dale Asberry. All rights reserved.

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