[ODE] code quality again

Mark Williams mark at image-engine.com
Wed Jul 11 13:08:13 MST 2007

Jon Watte (ODE) wrote:
> There are two problems facing ODE, or any fundamentally hard open source 
> project:
> 1) Solid physics simulation is actually a hard problem that requires 
> significant rigor. Such rigor is actually not commonly found among open 
> source developers or hobbyists.
I'd agree, but numerical rigor for physical simulation is a different 
problem to that which is ultimately quite straightforward - such as 
using a style similar to the surrounding code when applying patches as 
opposed to just mixing and matching with your own style, not leaving 
single statements and/or huge blocks of code commented out without any 
explanation as to why, being careful to free dynamically allocated 
memory through all code paths, etc. I think some relatively minor 
improvements could make a huge difference to ODE's codebase, and may 
encourage others to get stuck in.

> 2) Everyone working with ODE want to "make a game" or "finish their 
> thesis" -- they don't want to "make ODE better." Thus, there's a real 
> shortage of people's time to actually improve it substantially in the 
> ways that you suggest.
> Yourself, you have the same attitude: it's not what I want, and I'm not 
> going to spend the time making it so.
To be fair, the author of the original post did say:

"A couple of times i sat down and wanted to fix things, but resigned quickly  because the code was too hard to read and

Which sounds to me like their attitude is correct, but the realities of 
the situation are a serious obstacle. I also remember somebody else a 
few months ago volunteering to make a start on some code quality 

>> I think it is a pitty because of this i actually consider using another
>> library. Which is not worth mentioning as my project is too small, but
>> it MAY reflect other possibile users/contributers opinion as well. So
>> PLEASE increase code quality before patches are merged.

What if  patches were reviewed in some way before inclusion in the 
repository? If going back and 'restyling' much of ODE is too 
inconvenient for reasons already discussed on the previous thread might 
it be worthwhile just to make sure things don't get any worse?

Also it seems like this mailing list is the primary means of 
communication regarding all aspects of ODE - what if greater use were 
made of the bug/feature/patch trackers in SourceForge?


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