GSoC 2013 [flashrom] week #3

After enjoying an extended weekend at the customs office the Micron chips finally arrived at my place and I began testing them with flashrom while preparing parts of this post. One has quite a lot of idle time when testing bigger flash chips with a lousy self-made programmer… the execution of flashrom -w with random data took 52m58s on a 16MB chip (N25Q128) to complete (which is actually two complete reads and one complete erase + read + write cycle per block). Oh if only there would be a cheap but awesome open USB programmer… ;)

Carl-Daniel was still missing till I called him at work yesterday, so there is still no release nor a release candidate, but this will be resolved one way or another this weekend. I have been part of the flashrom (and coreboot) community for over two years now and ever since Carl-Daniel promised to devote more time to flashrom and my work. This has never became reality due to his apparently increasing real-life responsibilities and I don’t think this will change (rather the opposite). Shortly before his last disappearance he promised to dedicate about an hour per day… and then there were about 10 days of silence. I do fully understand that there are more important things than developing FOSS even if it is more than just a hobby, and I do also sympathize with anyone who has dedicated many hours, weeks, even years to a project and can’t let go easily. That’s why I have been waiting like a sleeping beauty (just with a *few* more hairs :P) and remained calm. But I think the time has come when Carl-Daniel himself realizes that our conduct hurts his baby more than if I mistreat it a bit.

Obsessing about things is important, and things really do matter, but if you can’t let go of them, you’ll end up crazy. — Linus Torvalds

We will now try to get the release out till the end of the week, or if this is not possible than I will commit my changes unreviewed and tag a release candidate so that we can move on. After that I plan to merge the queue of patches that I have piled up and continue to merge patches as I see fit. There will be bugs, there may be a bit misguided features or even reverts; and flashrom’s trunk won’t be as stable (one could almost write *disabled*) as before. I deem that a positive thing – it is a sign of life actually. I also hope that we will repel potential contributors less severely than we did in the past by just not integrating their work. Kyösti is a perfect example for this – contributing good but in our eyes not enough perfect code and clearly becoming irritated by the lack of progress. I want to apologize to him and everybody else who tried to improve flashrom but failed only because of our lack of courage to include imperfect code.

What else happened this week? I finally fixed our paste service to not tag every file uploaded as binary and hence private (possible copyright violations…), but check for its real type just like we do for direct text pastes (It is PHP. I rewrote quite a bit of it. We are doomed™). Then I rewrote the parser for layout files because it was rather… embarrassingly inflexible. While this did not matter too much for the old format which did not even support comments, it will be necessary for the new format I’m planning to integrate to make the layout patches even more convenient. Also, it provides now much better error handling and diagnostics which was again not so important yet. More on the topic of layout files will hopefully follow in my next blog post.

2 thoughts on “GSoC 2013 [flashrom] week #3”

  1. Irritated is a strong choice of word to make here, frustrated would be more appropriate. And with frustration you get the lack of motivation. It looks apparent to me the project has a review/approval policy that takes tenfold the amount of resources (a) maintainer(s) can withstand.

    And once you try to help (per request) by getting patches cleared up, signed-off and tested-by etc… the silent maintainer jumps in saying no, and submits essentially the same work for review. Needless to say all the three patchsets are happily queued at Patchworks for some five months now?

    Yes Stefan, irritated was a good choice of wording :)

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