Code, games, and sarcasm
Matt Soucy


in code by Matt Soucy - Comments

Describe software project, its purpose and goals.

Systemd is a system and service manager for Linux. It aims to replace init, to do this in an aggressively parallel manner, and to be a drop in replacement for sysvinit.

Give brief history of the project. When was the Initial Commit? The latest commit?

The first commit was on April 26, 2005, and the most recent commit on the mainline was a few hours ago. The git history suggests that there were several independent branches that became one central systemd.

Who approves patches? How many people?

Patches are approved through and by the systemd mailing list.

Who has commit access, or has had patches accepted? How many total?

16 people have direct commit access.

Who has the highest amounts of “Unique Knowledge?” (As per your “Git-by-a-bus” report. If there is a tie, list each contributor, with links if possible)

Git-by-a-bus was unable to run due to the size of the repository. Based on the commit graphs in Github, Lennart Poettering and Kay Sievers would have the most intimate knowledge with the internals of the project.

What is your project’s “Calloway Coefficient of Fail?”

Looks like the systemd guys are on top of their game. Unless I missed something, they have a 0 coefficient of fail.

Has there been any turnover in the Core Team? (i.e. has the same top 20% of contributors stayed the same over time? If not, how has it changed?)

It does not appear that there has been any turnover in the core team.

Does the project have a BDFL, or Lead Developer? (BDFL == Benevolent Dictator for Life)

The lead developers appear to be Lennart Poettering and Kay Sievers

Are the front and back end developers the same people? What is the proportion of each?

Systemd is a low level codebase entirely written in C

What have been some of the major bugs/problems/issues that have arisen during development? Who is responsible for quality control and bug repair?

TODOs are handled through the mailing list, the github issue tracker is not used. The core mailing list is responsible for quality control and bug repair.

How is the project’s participation trending and why?

It would appear that the project’s activity has increased in the past few months.

In your opinion, does the project pass “The Raptor Test?” (i.e. Would the project survive if the BDFL, or most active contributor were eaten by a Velociraptor?) Why or why not?

There appears to be two people with a massive amount of contributions to the project, so if one of them were to be eaten by a velociraptor, the other one would probably be able to carry on

In your opinion, would the project survive if the core team, or most active 20% of contributors, were hit by a bus? Why or why not?

Based on the contributor graphs on Github, definitely not. There are two people who own the majority of the commits to the project, and then about another 8 who own almost all the rest, out of 274 contributors.

Does the project have an official “on-boarding” process in place? (new contributor guides, quickstarts, communication leads who focus specifically on newbies, etc…)

There is documentation for “Developers”, though this is more “documentation for people using systemd for handling their code”. There is not a lot of documentation for developers of systemd itself, except for the “systemd-devel” mailing list.

Does the project have Documentation available? Is it extensive? Does it include code examples?

There is a decent amount of documentation, including example usage and configuration settings.

If you were going to contribute to this project, but ran into trouble or hit blockers, who would you contact, and how?

The best places to ask questions would be in the IRC channel (#systemd on Freenode), the mailing list, or the Google+ community

Based on these answers, how would you describe the decision making structure/process of this group? Is it hierarchical, consensus building, ruled by a small group, barely contained chaos, or ruled by a single or pair of individuals?

It’s controlled by some linux wizards and their mailing list. The mailing list is archived and well documented but you need to be a part of that community if you want to contribute

Is this the kind of structure you would enjoy working in? Why, or why not?

Joining the developers seems to have a difficult start, and the majority of work from people outside the core developer group involves sending the patches to a mailing list, which is also used for discussion about usage and development. These are factors that could be considered a large turn-off from new growth.