[Biopython-dev] To the core developers...

Jeffrey Chang jeffrey.chang at duke.edu
Mon Dec 6 21:57:19 EST 2004

Hi James, and everyone else,

As the ex-leader for the Biopython project, I should probably say 
something, since no one (except for Iddo :) has responded on the list.  
As many of you are aware, I still follow the project on a day to day 
basis, but I no longer have the time to maintain the project, and a 
little over a year ago, I handed the project off.  However, since then, 
Brad seems to have disappeared at some point, and messages to the list 
have gone unanswered.

However, I would like to point out, that as a community-based open 
source project, it is not Brad's, or anyone else's, responsibility to 
answer every question on the list, check every patch, and investigate 
every bug report.  Biopython's grown to be too big a project for one 
person to manage, while maintaining their day jobs.  While the traffic 
on the mailing lists is low to middling, stuff does happen off the list 
that eats away at time too.  Even though Iddo has graciously agreed to 
step up and help out in a lead role for a while, and I think he would 
do a fantastic job, it is becoming clear to me that that is not a 
sustainable solution.

I think it is time for the project to move to a group managed system, 
where the responsibilities are distributed out to more people, and also 
more clearly.  While currently there are people roughly responsible for 
different sections of the code, possible other important "jobs" include 
making releases, checking in patches, fixing bug reports, responding to 
help requests on the mailing lists, and slightly lower priority, 
maintaining regression tests, documentation, updating the web page.  
Currently, Brad does the lion's share of all this, and with (very 
roughly counting) nearly 600 *.py files in the repository now, it's 
getting hard.  It's time for people to step up and volunteer to take on 
more of these responsibilities.

So what are your thoughts?  Does this make sense, and is there any 
interest in the community for trying to spread out the work?  The idea 
would be to give more people a stake and responsibility in the project, 
and someone (Iddo :) to oversee and help out where he can.  Maintaining 
the project is too large a task for someone with a day job, and it's 
too hard for one person to be responsible for the majority of the work 


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