[Snow-users-list] Snow Patrol

Marc Feeley feeley at iro.umontreal.ca
Sat Mar 3 16:38:21 EST 2007

Hash: SHA1

On 2-Mar-07, at 11:49 AM, Jan Skibinski wrote:

> Hi,
> A very good initiative! I will certainly use it in my scheme-osa  
> project.
> Do you envision setting some sort of Snow Patrol to assure
> consistency, portability and quality of the Snow packages? Is there
> any grand library design concept in Snowfort, or is it intended to be
> just a loose system of individual packages?

You raise a very interesting issue.  We all hope that the packages  
will be of high quality but the model set forth by Snow allows anyone  
to submit any package (the minor requirement is that the snowball  
must be structured like a Snow package but other than that anything  
goes).  This freedom of speech is really important so that no one  
feels excluded.  I personally vow not to interfere with the  
submission of packages except to deal with profanity and vandalism.   
I am also willing to share the responsibility of maintaining the  
snowfort with others to avoid dictatorship.

I can think of a few ways to control quality:

1) Have some way to test portability of packages.  The package should  
have self tests.  If these self tests pass on N host Scheme systems,  
then that package gets a grade of "N".  Now who should write the self  
tests?  Perhaps the users should write the tests so that the package  
author cannot trick the system.  The tests could be moderated by the  
snowfort maintainers to make sure they are fair (or maybe the package  
can be deleted by the snowfort maintainers if users complain that the  
tests written by the author are insufficient).

2) Count the number of times a package is downloaded.  This is not a  
very good measure because you need to download it once to install it,  
and you won't download it again whether you use it on a regular  
basis, or never.  Perhaps "snowman" should have a command for  
removing the local installation of a package, and that command could  
contact the snowfort to decrement the download counter.  I hope that  
doesn't count as a violation of privacy...

3) Have some kind of voting system so that users can indicate their  
level of appreciation for a package.

4) The snowfort could keep a list of user comments for every  
package.  This could be combined with the voting system (in fact  
maybe you can only vote if you write at least a minimal comment).

I have no idea if any of this makes sense in practice.  Also, I don't  
have anytime soon to implement this.  Any takers?


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