The Firefox review deficit
Another week, another batch of review requests, another few that I didn’t get to added to the steadily growing pile of rotting patches.
For all of the rhetoric about building a community of hackers around a strong core group, we really suck as a group at bringing in the community involvement. Adding more peers isn’t the answer, since I can’t think of anyone waiting in the wings that’s sufficiently in sync enough to be brought in as a peer. But we’re in a situation where we need to address the review process, or we’ll just end up frustrating and alienating the people we’re supposed to be attracting.
Seemingly, I’m the most responsive peer for Firefox reviews, which presents a problem for me. Every hour I spend on Firefox instead of my contract work costs me money. My time is of course constrained by family responsibilities and the desire to have some replica of time not spent thinking about code or application UI (and of course, health concerns) . So I’m finding that I’m stuck between actually reviewing code, or making money. Usually, work wins out, but at this stage, I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to justify making less money to keep stuff moving into the tree.
This isn’t to say that everyone else is slacking. Ben just landed the massive prefwindow V changes, plus whatever he’s really doing at Google. Blake’s in school and starting a company. Vlad and bryner are occupied by their employers’ respective Mozilla priorities. But the absence of someone with the time and patience to weed through and be responsive to review requests, along with possibly having the time to fix more things as reported (just on a day-to-day polish level) seems to be a growing problem. No one really has time to focus on the details, on the niggling little things that are so important to the polished feel of an app. Sooner or later, it will bite us on the ass.