Comments on unmaintained products and technogies (bug 441414 #2)

Joshua Cranmer 🐧 Pidgeot18 at
Sun Dec 28 20:57:48 UTC 2014

On 12/26/2014 2:14 PM, Kent James wrote:
> (In reply to Ryan Yagatich from comment #202)
> >
> > ... developers have been seemingly forbidden to code with XUL
> In a large project like the Mozilla platform, at any point in time 
> there are lots of technologies X where the prevailing viewpoint is 
> something like "We would like to replace X Real Soon Now, so we should 
> top investing in X" which sometimes gets interpreted as "you are 
> forbidden to code in X". Don't exaggerate the importance of these 
> announcements, if you do you will find it difficult to do anything in 
> a large project like Firefox or Thunderbird, as large portions of the 
> code are affected by one or more of these pronouncements. Thunderbird 
> as a whole is under one of these pronouncements, and yet many of us 
> labor along investing our efforts in the product and disagree with 
> that attitude.
> People sometimes don't appreciate that reviewing code changes can take 
> as much or more time than doing the change in the first place, 
> particularly when the code is both 1) important and 2) relatively 
> obsolete. In the specific case of bug 441414, we had the unfortunate 
> confluence of those factors causing difficult reviews, with 3) a 
> developer unfamiliar with Mozilla culture, who made excessive demands 
> on reviewers, and 4) code that primarily affected Thunderbird, while 
> the reviewers were primarily Firefox reviewers. These are not the best 
> conditions to make policy, like "we will not improve XUL". When 
> combined with a common attitude in Mozilla culture of "once we've 
> decided something, we can't change our mind" it can lead to 
> unfortunate results.

This came about in a m.d.platform post where Robert O'Callahan first 
advocated effectively moving XUL to maintenance-mode only, adding a 
caveat that new features could be added were there a compelling reason, 
which I've interpreted to mean "Firefox wants it." I've noticed that 
Mozilla has seemed to move to a mode where some people are outright 
hostile to anything not Firefox.
> Personally, I interpret that policy to mean "we will not invest lots 
> of reviewer time to improve XUL." We have the power to move forward if 
> we want to, we just don't have the right to expect excessive review 
> time from Firefox developers.

It's not a matter of reviewer time--it's a matter of WONTFIX resolution: 
the owner of the module will absolutely refuse to accept any patches.

Joshua Cranmer
Thunderbird and DXR developer
Source code archæologist

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