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Re: Auto-Generating ChangeLog and AUTHORS for projects in a version trac

From: Diego Elio Pettenò
Subject: Re: Auto-Generating ChangeLog and AUTHORS for projects in a version tracking system?
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2014 10:07:32 +0000

On 30 October 2014 09:55, Arne Babenhauserheide (IMK)
<address@hidden> wrote:
>> Great. But people don't *want* to adhere to the GNU style,
> Do not want to adhere to the GNU style or do they not want to bother
> with creating the files? There is a very important difference in
> motivation: People from the first group get what they want with foreign
> style. People from the latter group however would be happy to use GNU
> style, if it did not create additional work for them.

The problem is that it does, given that GNU style is not the presence
of those four files or not, but also involves the portability warnings
and further limitations designed for the GNU project, that they most
likely won't care about.

I get it, you want to get them to see the Light of GNU. But I'm not
there to indoctrinate on the style of ChangeLog people need to use,
I'm there to get people a working build system that does not drive
packagers crazy.

> This change is for the latter group, since the former group can already
> switch to foreign style by just adding a single parameter.

Thus why I'm saying I don't care. If you want to do that for the GNU
people I don't care, I just think it's a false assumption that people
won't be complaining about another of the GNU style rules at some

> Autogenerating the AUTHORS and ChangeLog would reduce this to a single
> 0-sized file, because nowadays most people understand that a README is
> important -- I think the same will happen for the NEWS file, once code
> hosting platforms start using the NEWS file as source to provide
> human-readable news about projects. Then this would eliminate the
> 0-sized files.

Err, no. I mean no really. Autogenerating them may help sure, but I
don't think "people understand a README is important" — people get
*forced* to understand a README is needed, but for instance I wouldn't
use gnu style anyway because I call my file so that GitHub
at least *renders* it correctly. So yeah, I still expect 0-sized files
all around.

>     Note: Here you note that autotools need COPYING,
>           but this is created automatically nowadays.
>           You only need to provide it if you don’t want to use the GPL.

Which once again I'm not assuming people do. Because I've seen
packages in which the README and the source says MIT, but then they
got a default GPL COPYING in there. Which is bad, and I hope I don't
have to explain to you how and why.

Again, carry on, it can't make things worse but I'll still suggest
people to stay away from gnu style unless they are part of the GNU

Diego Elio Pettenò — Flameeyes
address@hidden —

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