|No such thing as a small change|
As tye is in a unique position to perform some of the desired work on the PM codebase, perhaps, instead o paying tye to make these desired changes, we should consider paying him to take whatever steps would be required to work himself out of that unique position and open up the codebase to a wider audience of contributors?
I don't know anything about the reality of the situation behind the scenes, nor what mechanisms are in place for the pmdevils to access the codebase and make and test changes to it, but there are a couple of things that I have picked up in the various discussions that could be addressed.
The first is that by any development methodology I have encountered over the last 25 years, the idea that you test fixes and updates by incorporating them into the live system is an anathema. Regardless of how much peer review, static and unit testing you do, you alwaysrisk unforeseen intereactions that will at best cause disruptions and anomolies, at worst could disrupt the systems operation for prolonged periods, and (possibly permenently) damage the systems database. This is especially worrying in the case of E2 where the database is the system, and seems (from my distant, occasional viewing perspective, to be the biggest barrier to allowing changes to PM to happen more quickly.
This could be addressed by making a copy of the existing codebase onto a test system. This could be hosted off-site, there are several monks who seem willing and able to carry the burden of a small load, perhaps one of them would offer. The test system could be restricted by
In this way, only invited monks, pmdevils and similar would be able to post to the test system. It might be used to discuss pmdev work, throw open individual pieces of code for group consideration etc. Changes made could be tested here with a reasonable degree of thoroughness without risking the main system until a god has satisfied themselves that the change is good.
Once the risk to the live system is diminished, and the codebase is opened up to a wider audience, via controlled access if security-through-obscurity is either needed or desired to be maintained, then it might be possible to address the developmental desires of PM by offering bits of work to some of the many well-skilled-but-currently-between-jobs monks whom I am sure would be grateful for the chance to contribute.
If a peice of work was particularly urgent, or difficult it might also be possible to offer these same people the chance to earn a small reward for their efforts.
Examine what is said, not who speaks.
1) When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
2) The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible
3) Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Arthur C. Clarke.