[Zeek-Dev] adding credits to the schema for package metadata

Vern Paxson vern at corelight.com
Fri Jan 4 11:48:26 PST 2019

> So first I have to question the use-case: who or what will need this
> information and how often?

The uses I have in mind are (1) displayed by the Web UI when browsing
packages, and (2) shout-outs at our annual conference.

> This is not information I think users of the command-line tool ever
> care about.  E.g. I've never used other package-management tools to
> look into credit/author info.


> It's maybe something packages.zeek.org would show, but I don't see how
> that would be better than looking at the "contributors" stats already
> compiled by GitHub from author info encoded directly into git commits.

The problem with those stats is (1) they're removed from the Web UI,
(2) they're not in a coherent form.  #2 was the issue that came up at
BroCon.  The git commits don't necessarily identify the author like they
would want for public recognition; can be missing co-authors for instances
where one author does the git end of publishing the package even though
several people worked on it; and can make it unclear whether a given
git contributor merits public credit.

A primary goals here is to encourage contributors in terms of gaining
public visibility for themselves / their group / their affiliation.
I think there are enough degrees of freedom in doing so that we won't be
able to simply infer the correct way to do it based on the GitHub activity.

> It's definitely info we've needed/used ourselves, like for the BroCon
> presentation.  Is that going to be a regular thing?

I would like it to be.  It helps convey a sense of our active developer

> What was
> insufficient about using implicit author info in the git commit log?

See the above.  Those shortcomings are what led to the contributors coming
up to me afterwards.

> Alternatively, why would it help to have more free-form "credit"
> information specifically in the metadata file versus in README,
> CONTRIBUTORS, or AUTHORS files, which are already a common convention
> in open-source projects?

There are 3 possible advantages.  (1) We know where to look for it.
(2) The Web UI can display it.  (3) Contributors can know to think about
it up-front in terms of what ought to be displayed publicly, which could
be a bit different than what might go into one of those files.

> I'm not so much opposed to standardizing on a new metadata field
> (people can already add a 'credit' field right now if they want,
> there's no code changes to bro-pkg needed since it won't use it for
> anything), but if it's only optional, not sure it will be
> adopted/maintained widely and so not solve the problem as intended.

Can we make it non-optional by having it be part of the contribution
process, just like (I believe) the need to clarify licensing currently is?


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