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Project Lombok's Roel Spilker: Why rejecting good ideas is the hardest part of being a maintainer

Roel Spilker (2)


My name is Roel Spilker. I live in Delft in the Netherlands. I'm one of the maintainers of Project Lombok. Project Lombok is a compiler plugin to help Java programmers reduce boilerplate from their source code. At the time, Java 7 was being developed, and there was call out for features. Reinier and I submitted some feature requests, and they were all rejected. So we were like, let's try if we can make them ourselves. We don't need Oracle to create them for us, and it worked. So that's how we got started.

The most challenging part of being an open source maintainer is to reject all the pull requests that people create and that are nice features. But they just create a pull request and we need to maintain a feature indefinitely. So that's hard for me, especially if you spend a lot of time and effort in making the tests work, adding new tests using our code style, and then we still have to reject it. That's heartbreaking.

Tidelift as a solution for those companies that otherwise would have to pay several small, open source projects small amounts each year. I think that by funding open source projects, the uses of those projects, who depend on them to meet to be maintained have a higher chance that they will be maintained. They get improved over time, so you don't have to do anything, and it gets better.

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