FSFE-defined coding standards?

Carsten Agger agger at modspil.dk
Fri Feb 12 15:34:47 UTC 2021

On 2/11/21 11:58 PM, Johannes Zarl-Zierl wrote:
> Hi,
> Apart from the principal discussion whether FSFE is well-equipped to define
> "coding standards" without defining a scope for that discussion, I'd like to
> address the introductory paragraph that almost reads as FUD to me:
>> The (F)LOSS ecosystem is currently mostly focusing on quantity over quality
> Do you have any evidence of this? Intuitively, I would rather assume the
> opposite: proprietary software has a higher incentive to focus on quantity
> over quality, while writing FLOSS software means that one's code is under
> public scrutiny and writing "bad" code can potentially harm your future job
> prospects.
> Data from code analyser vendors seems to support this thesis:
> https://blog.semmle.com/open-source-vs-proprietary-software/
> http://www.ciol.com/coverity-scan-report-source-software-quality-outpaces-proprietary-code/
> If there is newer data or academic research that suggests otherwise, I'd like
> to hear about it.
> But going back to my C++ example: who could be better suited to providing best
> practices for a language than the language community itself?

As a software professsional who is reasonably OCD over coding standards 
I also think this is not the FSFE's task.

First, as Johannes say, various language communities do a good job of 
publishing suggested standards.

Second, the ultimate goal of an organization like the FSFE is that more 
software, ultimately *all* software, should be free. This replies 
regardless of its quality or coding standards.  We would not reject 
Microsoft releasing Windows under the GPL if the code happened to be of 
bad quality.

Third, many free software communities have really excellent code. I 
often have the pleasure of debugging code in the Django framework, e.g., 
and it's normally a pleasure to read.

Best regards,

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