i think we have a very different perspective on the quality issue:

I didn't want to say it that clear, but especially the new Netty code, both on 
client and server side is IMHO an example of new code in very bad shape. The
client code patch even changes the FindBugs configuration to exclude the new
code from the FindBugs checks.

great. fixing the code and refactoring before a patch goes in is the perfect time to do it! please give feedback and help make the patch better. there is a reason to exclude checks (which is why there is such excludes), but if we can avoid them we should. before a patch is applied is exactly the time to do cleanup
If your code is already in such a bad shape, that every change includes
considerable risk to break something, then you already are in trouble. With
every new feature (or bugfix!) you also risk to break something.
If you don't have the attitude of permanent refactoring to improve the code
quality, you will inevitably lower the maintainability of your code with every
new feature. New features will build on the dirty concepts already in the code
and therfor make it more expensive to ever clean things up.
cleaning up code to add a new feature is a great time to clean up the code.
Yes. Refactoring isn't easy, but necessary. Only over time you better
understand your domain and find better structures. Over time you introduce
features that let code grow so that it should better be split up in smaller
units that the human brain can still handle.

it is the "but necessary" that i disagree with. there is plenty of code that could be cleaned up and made to look a lot nicer, but we shouldn't touch it, unless we are fixing something else or adding a new feature. it's pretty lame to explain to someone that the bug that was introduced by a code change was motivated by a desire to make the code cleaner. any code change runs the risk of breakage, thus changing code simply for cleanliness is not worth the risk.


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