[Bitcoin-development] Concerns Regarding Threats by a Developer to Remove Commit Access from Other Developers

Melvin Carvalho melvincarvalho at gmail.com
Thu Jun 18 18:09:18 UTC 2015


On 18 June 2015 at 12:00, Mike Hearn <mike at plan99.net> wrote:

> Dude, calm down. I don't have commit access to Bitcoin Core and Gavin
> already said long ago he wouldn't just commit something, even though he has
> the ability to do so.
>
> So why did I say it? Because it's consistent with what I've always said:
>  you cannot run a codebase like Wikipedia. Maintainers have to take part in
> debates, and then make a decision, and anyone else who was delegated commit
> access for robustness or convenience must then respect that decision. It's
> the only way to keep a project making progress at a reasonable pace.
>
> This is not a radical position. That's how nearly all coding projects
> work. I have been involved with open source for 15 years and the 'single
> maintainer who makes decisions' model is normal, even if in some large
> codebases  subsystems have delegated submaintainers.
>
> This is also how all my own projects are run. Bitcoinj has multiple people
> with commit access. Regardless, if there were to be some design dispute or
> whatever, I wouldn't tolerate the others with commit access starting some
> kind of Wiki-style edit war in the code if they disagreed. Nor would I ever
> expect to get my own way in other people's projects by threatening to
> revert the maintainers changes.
>
> Core is in the weird position where there's no decision making ability at
> all, because anyone who shows up and shouts enough can generate
> 'controversy', then Wladimir sees there is disagreement and won't touch the
> issue in question. So it just runs and runs and *anyone* with commit
> access can then block any change.
>
> I realise some people think this anti-process leads to better decision
> making. I disagree. It leads to no decision making, which is not the same
> thing at all.
>

Bicoin is not like other projects.  There are large financial stakes
involved.  I was at a standards convention once and the head of standards
at a large company joked to me:

"We know there are 6 people in the standards world that we can never buy.
So we just buy everyone else".

You have to luck out in a huge way to get a person like that running your
project.  Linux has done.  Id say bitcoin has been lucky there too.  But
have a look at other projects, have a look at the alts, the *last* thing
you want is a dictator in may cases.

Ultimately bitcoin is a ledger based on consensus.  There are 3 branches,
the miners, the protocol and the market.  They all play a role in
regulating bitcoin and generally on the conservative side (which I think is
a good thing).  Whatever your view on the 20MB change, it's not a
*conservative* approach, which is the approach that has served bitcoin very
well so far.

So bitcoin is not like other open source projects, and that's probably
quite a good thing.


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