Subject: Re: Code style and project status

Re: Code style and project status

From: Daniel Stenberg <>
Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2019 11:55:06 +0100 (CET)

On Mon, 18 Mar 2019, Salvador Fandino wrote:

>>  - A (rather large) code overhaul that unifies the style, white space,   
>> bracing, line lengths and some more to make sure that the new CI build   
>> still builds greeen.
> There are currently 36 open pull requests on GitHub. This code overhaul
> would probably break a large number of them. Is that a good idea?

Thanks for your feedback and expressed concerns.

I think it (the cleanup) still is a good idea. Even though I understand this
will cause some merge conflicts and thus force authors to act and edit the PRs
somewhat, I don't think doing things the other way around is productive.

We've already drifted out on a tangent (code wise). I think we need to pull
back from the bad trend and shape up rather than to continue down that path.

> You have come back to the project and discovered that the code is quite
> rotten, and now you are trying to fix it fast but you are missing the real
> cause of the problem: there is not a real community around libssh2, nobody
> taking care of it as a whole, nobody systematically listening to users,
> fixing bugs, looking at the pull requests, etc.

That's painfully obvious. I don't think it's possible to miss.

I don't think I can fix that problem so I'll focus on some problems that I
*can* work on. Things I think at least brings is a small step in the right

If people don't contribute and help out, the project is simply doomed to die.

> Those 36 open pull requests belong to potential future libssh2 contributors
> and restyling the code may just send them the message "libssh2 doesn't care
> about your contributions" driving them away from the project and that is
> exactly the opposite of what it's needed.

Since - right now - nobody seems to be around in the project to welcome such
contributions I figure that message seems apt.

Everyone and anyone is more than welcome and encouraged to help out to carry
libssh2 forward.

> Note that I am not against that plan. I just think it shouldn't be done
> until at least the most recent PRs are reviewed.

Given the (lack of) feedback to most of the PRs, that is basically the same as
saying it will never happen.

I think landing the cleanup and stricter checks first will also make it easier
to do reviews since the style checks will find and report on a lot of the nits
that the PRs now violate and we need humans to point out. (The same
non-existing humans that don't even point out those flaws...)

> I don't want to mean that as an accusation or anything like that, just as
> anecdotal evidence that the project is not very good at getting new people
> involved and to explain why I feel sympathetic with the people behind those
> pull request.

"The project" is the people involved and it seems we basically have no people
involved. So yeah, there isn't anybody around to welcome or guide newcomers.

I'm at least as much to blame for this as much as anyone else, but
unfortunately this fact does not magically give me more energy, time and

I don't think just giving up and declaring the project dead makes anything
better either.


Received on 2019-03-18