Contributed by pitrh on from the we did our growing up in public dept.
OpenBSD was only a few months old when we realized that read-only repository access for everyone was a critical concept.
Previously, open source projects would make occasional releases accompanied by tarballs of final source files and Changelogs files, but would not expose the step-by-step changes of the development process. Unwittingly all open source projects were operating with a walled garden approach.
Chuck Cranor and I worked on the anoncvs feature, and Bob Beck soon became involved in moving the anoncvs mirror off my overloaded ISDN network to the University of Alberta, thereby increasing our capacity to deliver. Nowadays there are many anoncvs mirrors.
The introduction of anoncvs meant people without commit access could read the commit logs, as well as each committed diff. They could reason about the past as they proposed new changes.
Anoncvs had an immediate impact expanding our development group. We were inundated with high quality diffs. These outsider developers wrote excellent changes because they had sufficient context to reason upon. Those who overwhelmed us with good changes became developers with commit access. We were forced to hand out commit accounts like candy.
Some people said we would never last. Their cynicism could almost be thanked for the increase in openness we embraced, and then our openness probably led others to embrace it also.
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