How do you hack on the bleeding edge of Gnome?

I've been having a terrible time trying to get something tested on top
of Gnome 3.4, all because I can't get 3.4 built from jhbuild.  I'm too
old to build from tarballs, and my distro doesn't carry 3.4 yet.

I wonder how people who hack on "core Gnome" do it on a day to day

Here are the results of a little poll/brainstorm on Twitter:

As a quick summary, the problems we have with jhbuild are:

1. "Build everything before you can contribute" is a *HUGE* brick wall
for contributors both regular and sporadic.

2. Jhbuild is unreliable for obscure reasons.  People don't have the
time or skills to fix every little autotools problem that comes up -
these seem to happen all the time ("what do you mean libtool macros not
found!?  I already built 20 modules that use libtool!").  GISCAN fails
regularly with unknown symbols.  Etcetera.

3. Packages fail to build due to missing external dependencies, but you
don't get notifid until the package fails to build.  It's not nice to
get a failure in NetworkManager, after half a day of building, just
because I didn't have the distro's ppp-devel package installed.  It
would be nicer to get notified in advance.

4. You ask on IRC, and more often than not the best answer is, "wipe
everything and try again".

I don't want to blame jhbuild; this is a larger problem with how we have
structured the development of Gnome.  I'm happy that (e.g.) Colin
Walters is working on ostree
( ), but while it
seems like a truly fantastic way to install prebuilt binaries without
disrupting your system, it doesn't solve the problem of building those
binaries in the first place - correct me if I'm wrong!

So this mail is about:  how do *you* hack on Gnome on an everyday basis?
Do people get their source trees built only up to the modules they hack
on, and ignore the rest (been there, done that)?  Do people wait until a
distro carries packages for development versions (too late in the game;
been there, done that)?  How would *you* make Gnome score higher on the
Joel Test?

(Side thoughts:  how many people have *actually* tested a full 3.4


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