Does it ever strike you that it seems like Eclipse simply has too many rules? Recall the dialog between the Emperor of Vienna and Mozart when the Emperor states to Mozart after a performance that “There are too many notes” to which Mozart responds “Too many notes? There are just as many notes as are required, neither more nor less.” The Emperor persists with the comment “There are simply too many notes. Just cut a few and it’ll be perfect!” This leads Mozart to ask “Which few did you have in mind majesty?”
As I prepare for a trip to Denver, where the august board of directors may well be tempted to make yet more rules, we really do need to take pause for a moment and consider if Eclipse's symphony of rules contains any sour notes. Do we really have only as many rules as required, neither more nor less? I rather doubt it. Watching the progress of 237412 makes me wonder about the actual value of the rule about incubation, and where exactly the dividing line is between the rule as is was written and the policy around its interpretation. It even makes me wonder about the actual intent of the rule in the first place. It's seems perhaps like a game of telephone where a little is lost and a little is added at each step from the conception of the rule to the final implementation of the rule.
I've not been on the board long enough to know the origin of all the rules, the incubation one being one of them. It probably sounded like a really good idea at the time. Similarly when the board decided that all projects should have a navigation link to a consistent collection of project metadata, it must have seemed like a smashing idea; consistency is like motherhood. Unfortunately, getting the Eclipse community to follow rules consistently is like herding ill-tempered cats. Our beloved Bjorn Freeman-Knuckles-Benson typically ends up with the unenviable task of enforcing those rules. But what can he actually do to encourage, and ultimately force, all projects to conform to this or any other board edict? Generally people will just ignore what they're being asked to do, and apparently the board members themselves don't actively participate in the process of encouraging their own employees to follow their own edicts. If you don't act, he may just have to replace your home page. Won't that make him popular?!
I'm going to cast a more critical eye on the making of new rules. I'll question whether it's just a good idea, or something truly required and hence something to be enforced. I'll question how it will be enforced and the penalties of non-compliance. I'll question how the affected parties will be informed about the new rules. I'll question the cost of complying to the new rules. And I'll question the cost of writing them, maintaining them, learning them, and enforcing them. I might even question a few of the rules we already have. I wonder if this will make me the most popular board member?
Metrology in mining and metallurgy
4 years ago