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Engaging the Xen Developer Comminity
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Engaging the Xen Developer Comminity

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The Xen community can be a great resource for people wishing both to use and to improve Xen, and contributing to it can be rewarding both to individuals and to corporations. But they have a culture …

The Xen community can be a great resource for people wishing both to use and to improve Xen, and contributing to it can be rewarding both to individuals and to corporations. But they have a culture all their own, and like any foreign culture, it's a minefiled of potential misunderstandings and miscommunications. This talk will talk about the cultural values and norms of the Xen community, and how you can most effectively interact with them.

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  • 1. Engaging the Xen Developer Community George Dunlap [email_address] Citrix Systems UK
  • 2. Introduction
    • Hardware Vendors
    • Software vendors
    • Academic
    • Public cloud providers
    • Private cloud providers
  • 3. Why might people not be involved?
    • Don’t know what there is to do
    • Don’t know the benefits of engaging the community
    • Don’t know how to engage community effectively
  • 4. Goal: Enable you to engage developer community
  • 5. Outline
    • Ways that you can contribute to Xen development
    • Benefits and costs
    • Practical steps
    • Good bug reports
    • Good questions
    • Good patches
    • Running an open development project
  • 6. How can you contribute?
  • 7. How you can contribute
    • Testing on your hardware / software
    • Submitting bug fixes
    • Suggesting interfaces / features
    • Submitting patches for interface changes
    • Development
    • Running an out-of-tree incubator project
  • 8. Testing
    • Need testing on a wide array of hardware / software
    • Test the functionality you use
    • Performance testing as well
    • What to test
    • Xen release candidates
    • Linux pvops release candidates
    • xen-unstable (occasionally)
  • 9. Reporting
    • Good bug report is good
    • Better yet: Patches!
  • 10. Features
    • Developers don’t see the learning curve
    • Suggest changes / clarifications to interface
    • Suggest new features which might be useful to you
    • Better yet: Patches!
  • 11. Upstreaming your changes
    • Standard practice: Freeze and fork
    • Main xen branch moves forward
    • What to do with a fork?
    • Stay forked
    • Forward-port patches
    • Back-port new features / fixes
    • Submit upstream
  • 12. Why not upstream?
    • A lot of extra work
    • Time constraints
    • Product deadlines
    • Academic deadlines
    • Required changes not acceptable upstream
  • 13. Good bug reports
    • What to include
    • Detailed hardware, software, steps to reproduce
    • As much error as you can
    • Serial console
    • Wiki page: ReportingBugs
  • 14. Asking a question is asking someone else to work for you
  • 15. Asking good questions
    • Do as much work as you can yourself first
    • Search Google
    • Read the code
    • Context
    • Who are you?
    • What are you trying to accomplish
    • Make it specific
    • Show how you’ve tried to solve it yourself
    • Wiki page: AskingXenDevelQuestions
  • 16. Sending code upstream Wiki page: SubmittingXenPatches
  • 17. Three people to think about
    • Person reviewing the patch
    • Does it do the right thing?
    • Are there any mistakes?
    • Person scanning through changesets
    • Do I need to look at this patch?
    • Archaeologist
    • 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 5 years
    • Why is the code the way it is now?
  • 18. Guidelines
    • Break your change into a series of patches
    • One logical change per patch
    • No regressions
    • Don’t fix a bug in one patch in a later patch!
    • Separate clean-up from functional changes
    • Even if it’s just a one-line change
    • One-line summary easy to scan
    • Description says what the patch does and why
  • 19. Requirements
    • Patch must apply
    • Beware of mailer mangling
    • Mercurial PatchBomb extension
    • Signed-off-by
    • Coding style
  • 20. Interpreting responses
    • American Culture: “Praise sandwich”
    • Hacker culture: Direct and to the point
    • “ I don’t think this is the right way to do this”
    • “ This is ugly”
    • “ This is unmaintainable”
    • Detailed criticism means “I want this patch accepted”
    • Ignoring is much worse than criticism
  • 21. Open development
  • 22. Project lifecycle
    • Initial code dump
    • Basic functionality and framework
    • Incubation
    • Active development towards maturity
    • Growing community development
    • Project maturity
    • Ready to be used by others
    • Actively maintained
    • Retired / Archived
  • 23. Types of projects
    • In-tree
    • “ Tech preview”
    • Fairly self-contained
    • Example: Paging, page sharing, Remus
    • Out-of-tree
    • Major changes
    • Example: xen-arm
  • 24. Open development: Theory
    • Criteria
    • Movement towards upstreaming
    • Encouragement of a development community
    • Principles
    • Anyone should be able to influence
    • Influence should correlate to contribution
  • 25. Open development: Practice
    • One public shared repository
    • Handful of committers
    • One to begin with
    • Committers added based on contribution
    • All patches posted and discussed publicly
    • Technical decisions made in public
    • Private discussions must end with public proposal
  • 26. Outline
    • Ways that you can contribute to Xen development
    • Benefits and costs
    • Practical steps
    • Good bug reports
    • Good questions
    • Good patches
    • Running an open development project
  • 27. Goal: Enable you to engage developer community
  • 28. Questions?