First this is not a personal critique of anyone. These are just some of the things that seem hopeless right now
- There is no place to have a meaningful architecture discussion which core contributors frequent. It was the developer mailing list some time ago.
- If an issue is not a relatively straightforward bugfix, it has little chance of getting in. Sure, Dries has two kids and two companies and I can understand that -- this is not a critique of Dries. He became a bottleneck none the less.
- Get any major refactor done. Core initiatives or just smaller work does not go anywhere because the work is too daunting. For example, Peter and I have did some work on moving out tabs from hook_menu and we know how to move menu links out but then it turns out hook_menu does local actions, contextual links, admin pages, world and dog and it's just too bloody hard to replace them in one go. When I was last refactoring menu, we allowed HEAD to be broken for months. And guess what? Peter showed up helping mending things again. If HEAD is not broken, how will anyone know there is a need for help -- did I mention there is no central place for core development?
- And there is such a need for refactorings -- we have a lot of interdependent, tightly coupled subsystem quite some of them being ancient cruft which makes everything crufty. We have an issue open which calls the integration of two major subsystems simply "ungrokable".
- Drupal became something else it was. When I joined this project the leading words were clean, lean and extensible. We have sacrificed the first two for the third. How did we get to the point where the Definite Guide to Drupal 7 is 1000+ pages?
In all this, I see one way out: keep the good ideas (especially the hook system, entities and fields in a way) and start a new project. Possibly a new framework that Drupal can build a core and UI upon. I have begun to write up how this would look.
My biggest worry here? The Drupal community is my life and I have many good friends here (most importantly, webchick). I am extremely hesistant to go ahead and do a clean break because of that.
Update: the answer for now is (which does not imply that Dries is the only problem here -- but freeing up Dries is one way to get closer to a solution):
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