[Buildbot-devel] Competing with the coming wave of single-platform CI servers

Dustin J. Mitchell dustin at v.igoro.us
Fri Jan 10 14:42:21 UTC 2014

I'll explain my approach to this question until now, but it's probably
no longer the best approach now that we're an SFC project.  The
question is, mechanically within the project, how can we change?

Here's my approach:

As an open-source project, Buildbot doesn't necessarily need to chase
"market share".  In fact, the world is a better place if Buildbot is
good at *different* things than other CI tools, rather than trying to
be as good at the things they're good at.  Since it doesn't hurt
Buidlbot directly if someone chooses, say, XCode or Jenkins, we
actually have the luxury of focusing on strengths, and on serving its
current users.  Or to put it another way, for someone who just wants
to run 'python setup.py test' on their python library, is it really
ethical for us to suggest that they use Buidlbot and not Travis?

With limited development time and limited ability to "direct" anyone
other than myself, I've focused my time on remedying some of the
technical deficiencies that make Buildbot problematic in its areas of
strength.  That boils down to the nine project, really, and as we've
seen that's a *lot* of work.  If I were to redirect the resources
under my control (which is to say, my free time) to making Buildbot
more suitable for "something simple", I think that would entail
building collaborations with other organizations - hosting and cloud
services like Heroku, AWS, GCE; project services like GitHub,
BitBucket, SourceForge; IDEs like Eclipse; and so on.  In the cloud
era, this is how you build a nearly-single-click system -- not by
requiring installation and configuration (in a text file!) of two
daemons.  Buildbot could get there, with a lot of technical work and a
lot of negotiation.  But "there" is basically "Travis Lite",
"technical work" means work I'm not doing on nine, and "negotiation"
is easier with SFC as our umbrella, but certainly not a skill I posess
in abundance.

I'd love to hear thoughts from anyone, especially other Botherders.


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