Netstack Team's Cultural Tenets

Here are some cultural tenets which have helped keep the members of the Fuchsia Netstack team aligned and productive. Having these values helps us navigate prioritization and ambiguity.

Compliance & Compatibility

Fuchsia's success depends on being compliant on the wire and compatible on the API surface.

It is our responsibility to ensure RFC compliance and compatibility with adopted network protocols. Instances of non-compliance are considered bugs except where explicitly deemed necessary for interoperability with third parties. We have a bias for citations; prior art and references are good sources of default decisions.

We actively avoid the trap of "invented here", always designing with a guarantee for compatibility with known networking APIs. We prefer to use Fuchsia concepts to empower and improve on common networking concepts and APIs rather than invent new ones for novelty's sake. We allow reinvention when needed, but compatibility must always be addressed.

We encode our compliance and compatibility requirements by authoring tests that run against other platforms as well as Fuchsia. That ensures that Fuchsia's behavior matches or, alternatively, that the test serves as clear documentation of any deviation from it.

Shared Ownership

Cross-contribution increases diversity of thought, and improves our bus factor. We reject internal and external siloing.

Networking and its subsystems are an integral part of the Fuchsia platform. Information silos build walls between those system layers hindering creativity and progress. We celebrate cross contributions by actively engaging, welcoming, and encouraging them.

We're good neighbors to our sister and cousin teams, we hop over the ownership fence to help them out and invite them over to do the same. We encode, publish, and disseminate the good patterns that we find or come up with.

Urgency Addressing Disrepair

Left unattended, all code rots. It's our collective responsibility to actively fight against this decay.

We recognize cleanliness begets cleanliness. We believe clean, predictable, and explicit code improves our engineering velocity. While working on the tree we're constantly on the lookout for paper cuts and rough edges. When we hit those, we prefer to fix them immediately. Sometimes the detour proves larger than expected, but we seek not to lose the signal and document the need to revisit by filing bugs and leaving breadcrumbs.

It takes a constantly vigilant eye to notice some of these instances. Sometimes it's a pattern that stops making sense but is still being used; other times it's a pattern that is not quite a good match in a particular case; often the rough edge simply becomes clearer in hindsight. When navigating existing code, we're aware that we at the same time know more (through hindsight) and less (through not being original authors) than the original authors of the code. That translates into a constant, yet respectful, challenge to the status quo.

The sense of urgency in addressing disrepair comes from the understanding that copying existing patterns is always the path of least resistance, so by acting quickly we prevent the spread of rot. In line with Shared Ownership, we apply these standards to all the code in the Fuchsia tree.