powered by Jive Software

The woes of trying to become a contributor

I have actively been trying to become a regular contributor to both Smack and OpenFire for several months now, with no success. I have been following the defined process via the mentorship program, but so far I am still waiting for something to happen. I had a mentor (thanks Guus), but he felt he didn’t have the knowledge of the code or the pubsub specification to properly review my patches. I was passed on to another mentor and now I simply wait. I understand that people have other priorities, so do I, but I am not sure how viable these projects are as open source if other potential contributors are having the same frustrations as myself.

I have expressed a willingness to take on responsibilities for XEP-0060 (pubsub) portions of both OpenFire and Smack. To that end, I have logged about 17 tasks in OpenFire to fix bugs and update the code to the most recent version of the spec. Patches have been provided for about half of these tasks. Through this process I have become very familiar with that portion of the code base and would feel comfortable actually taking on responsibilities for maintaining it.

I have also written an extension for Smack to provide pubsub capabilities, which I would obviously like to see added to the project. It is currently being used by several people who have downloaded it from the community forum, and I have already fixed a couple of bugs and done updates. There is of course a JIRA task with the source attached for this as well. In addition to the pubsub code, there are a few utility classes that I think would be good additions to that code base.

I uploaded all this code as a contribution in early May. That makes 3.5 months and at this point I don’t know if I will ever get commit privileges so I can put in the code and patches myself, or anyone else will have time to do it for me. Even with a mentor who will be checking my patches for OpenFire, I don’t know if I need another mentor to review my contributions for Smack.

As a developer with over 15 years of experience, this is becoming quite frustrating. I am not expecting access without some sort of checks in place (i.e. the mentorship program), but I think this project needs to get some more people involved in the different parts of the codebase sooner than later so all responsibilities don’t lie with the couple of people who wrote the original code.

Still waiting, for how much longer I am not sure


Hi Robin,

Well stated. Given our lack of mentors, I think we just need to throw some people in the fire (like yourself) so we can plow forward. If you break something, you’ll be here to fix it, right Hopefully Benjamin sees this and can get you setup.


I spoke with Gato, and pending his review of the above-mentioned patches, we are granting Robin commit access. It’ll be good to have someone else with experience in the area of pubsub.

As the review looks to be all good ( Bugs and upgrades to Pubsub implementation ), I’ll be sending Robin info regarding SVN credentials, etc.


Should I just assign those defects to myself then and check them in? I am not sure what type of process goes into release planning and the like to determine what is in or out of a particular release.

I have a strategy that usually works fine. I check everything in for the next release, unless Gato tells me otherwise

Ah, the “It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission” approach. Simple and effective, I like it.

Thanks Guus.