[Scummvm-devel] Understaffing (Was: What is happening to the ScummVM team?)

Max Horn max at quendi.de
Thu Mar 5 17:06:38 CET 2009

Hi guys,

interesting thread ;). Thanks for all the good words, too. I must say  
I do feel a bit better now. One of the reasons I always liked working  
on ScummVM is that it is such an active, lively project; seeing other  
people commit tons of stuff motivates me greatly, even if they work on  
other parts of the code than I do; but more so if we work on the same  
stuff. It rocks to see commits rolling in which fix bugs and itches  
you had, or add cool new features you always wanted, and on which you  
can then build, thus enabling the other guys to add on top of *that*,  

As for the proposal of more folks helping out with stuff: I am all for  
it, though as Eugene already said, it makes no sense to divide it into  
too many small pieces, that will just make it worse. Or, for that  
matter, to give people exclusive access, that just increases the bus  
factor (i.e., if that single person is not available for whatever  
reason, nobody can fix it -> bad).

So, yeah, I'd like to see somebody act as "webmaster" (or 2 guys,  
whatever). The task would be to monitor the website for problems (e.g.  
run a HTML validator or a link checker once a month, or something like  
that); feel responsible for fixing bugs on the site as they get  
reported (broken links, outdated FAQ items), adding new game  
screenshots as they get submitted, that kind of stuff. You don't have  
to do it all by yourself (e.g. maybe you don't know how to correct  
that wrong FAQ entry), but then the webmaster would try to get  
somebody to help with it.

We also could use another mailing list admin. Somebody hinted in the  
past that he could consider this; well, if you are still interested,  
let Eugene/me know and we can set you up. Task is easy, just check  
mails which are held, discard spam, admit ham.

Forums & Wiki: Basically, when an updated is released, update our  
forums / wiki. This requires some care, you don't want to totally  
wreck them... So ideally the person would have some experience with  
managing a website plus database. Mind you, I have not that much, but  
I still do it; what is important that I always make backups before  
doing changes; try to think through consequences of any change I make  
before doing it (to avoid situations like "gee, oops, maybe I  
shouldn't have moved that file while the site was world writeable, now  
the DB index is inconsistent). Also, when doing the last upgrade, I  
actually run a full 3-way diff between our old site, the original  
unmodified source, and the new release. I tried to remove many of the  
hacks Ender and others applied in the past, but some still remain.  
Likewise, I'd expect anybody who works on this not just to delete the  
old install and prop up a new one... ;-).

For all of these, though, it would be important that the person(s)  
would be self-driven. If I have to prod you ten times over 3 weeks to  
finally install that critical security update, that's bad.  In  
particular, if you just don't have the time to do it (like, your job  
currently is hell and your wife threatens to leave you if you work on  
your computer during the weeekend; or your dog ate your SSH keys ;) --  
then that's *OK*, just *tell* us ASAP so that we can find somebody  
else to do the current task (and if you think it'll be like that, we  
can find a more permanent replacement or colleague to share the  
work).. Nothing is worse than to wait weeks for somebody only to find  
out he can't do it. Be upfront if you have no time. Don't be quick to  
skip on your tasks, mind you, but don't feel you must stick to them  
like glue.


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