Monday, August 13, 2007

A Groups Reorganization

We've grown a lot as a community over the past few years and as a reflection of that Denis has had to beef up the webmaster support staff. He can't fly as Lone Ranger any more and Matt and I are pretty darn busy, too. We had some discussions inside the Foundation about how to manage that and give us more time to give you guys better tools, better service, faster turnarounds, and at the same time keep growing the community--all without having to add more webmaster staff.

We decided we have some built-in inefficiencies we need to excise in order to be able to accomplish that. To get things rolling, Bjorn opened bug 198541 to talk about our strategy of managing Unix group to project mapping on So how do complicated group structures throw a wrench in the works?
  • Projects have widely differing group structures which makes operating on the CVS trees complicated to manage since every requested change has to be carefully cross-referenced before we can make it. This affects turnaround times. Bug 170829 is one example of what a mess this can be.
  • We have a situation where building automated tooling would be extremely difficult to implement. Tooling is what lets us spend less time on menial stuff and more time helping you with big issues. We would like to use the Portal to better advantage here but we are going to have a hard time leveraging it in the current morass.
  • We have a hard limit of 16 groups to which a person can belong because of NFSv3 (NFSv4 failed stability tests on our platform). Some users have to belong to more groups to do what they need to do. In order to work around this, POSIX ACLs have been set up to allow certain people to do their jobs. This affects turnaround times, and negatively affects projects as people who are in the ACLs accidentally assign group ownership incorrectly. Bug 157931 and Bug 126889 are examples of problems with the group number limit.
We want to create a real solution that works for you and works for us but the end goal is helping all of you get your work done faster, more efficiently, and more easily by letting us support you better.


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