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Re: critical issues

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: critical issues
Date: Tue, 03 Jan 2012 18:05:41 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.0.92 (gnu/linux)

Janek Warchoł <address@hidden> writes:

> 2012/1/3 David Kastrup <address@hidden>:
>> The Learning Guide and the Notation Guide need a complete rereading and
>> reorganization, and it is not like the Extending Guide is in
>> significantly better shape.
> I'd like to fix them too, but i don't have time for everything i want
> :(  Splitting my time doesn't look like a good idea - it's more
> effective when i put all my foxus on one thing, analyze it deeply and
> make a complete solution than swap issues.  I have to choose and i
> choose improving graphical output.

I am a TeX specialist, system programmer, Emacs specialist, the GNU
maintainer (and a rather pitiful one) for AUCTeX (lytex and itexi
anybody? preview-latex for Lilypond?), know how to make Emacs read data
from Midi ports, am pretty good concerning compiler writing, shell
scripting, general programming, efficient algorithms, am the resident
quiz person for git and so on and so on.

I would have no problems spending a few hundred man years focused on
Lilypond.  Except that I don't have a few hundred man years.  Nobody
has.  The next best option is spending time on multipliers.  Getting
LilyPond in a shape where passersby find it intriguing, to a degree
where they get hooked and contribute manmonths of work over some time
without having planned to do so at the start.

LilyPond has great infrastructure: it makes by far the most from Texinfo
from any application I know, with much better HTML than upstream, far
more thorough and good use of images (only useful in HTML or with Emacs
as info reader, I am afraid).  I have no clue why or how GUB works, but
many others don't have something like that.  It has good facilities for
internationalization.  There are other novel pieces that turn out to be
more of a maintenance problem than an asset because of a total lack of
documentation and/or mindshare: yaffut, the organization of the C++
core, many internals, stepmake, ...  Many corners are lying dormant
since their respective driving force went away or lost interest or time.

I don't manage to keep up with code reviews and am pretty sure that
there are maintenance time bombs creeping in all the while.

The only thing that is going to help is more eyes, more people who get
interested, more people discovering dark corners and doing something
about them.  LilyPond needs to get into a state where, say, half the
engravers are written and maintained in Scheme.  And by "Scheme" I don't
mean "Scheme at the level Nicolas can barely handle" but "Scheme a
Fortran programmer would not have all too much of a problem

To get there, we need serious programmers and serious musicians
interested seriously in LilyPond.  To a level where they start asking
good questions.  And we better be in a position to provide answers,
since there is no more effective way to spend our time than on getting
more people to spend their time, and love, and interest.

David Kastrup

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