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Re: CVS is the `released version'

From: Ken Manheimer
Subject: Re: CVS is the `released version'
Date: Thu, 10 May 2007 14:24:39 -0400

On 5/9/07, Robert J. Chassell <address@hidden> wrote:

Remember, for many people, but not for many moderns, CVS provides the
`released version' of GNU Emacs.  It is the prime version used by
those who contribute.  It is not a binary that cannot be changed.
Once in a while, development needs to be frozen while bugs are fixed.

Since more and more people are coming to think of or are forced to use
big numbered releases and eschew the daily releases, they view a delay
between one big numbered release and another as bad.  But those who
enjoy daily releases hardly notice.

I suspect we are seeing a conflict between cultures: on the one hand,
those who install a new release of GNU Emacs every day or almost every
day and, on the other hand, those who look for big numbered releases,
such as that from Emacs 21 to Emacs 22.

The world is tending towards those who look for big numbered releases
even though most contributions are small.

actually, incremental updates to end users are a *burgeoning* trend,
in certain circles.  "cloud" software, where you run a client that's
obtained from the network, delivers updates any time the managers
decide to release  revisions.  this is not as exotic as it sounds -
we're talking web applications like gmail, yahoo maps, even open
office and firefox have a self-update mode.  (i just opened my
firefox-based google notebook to discover a new look that incorporates
some features which address some of my former peeves.)

that self-update mode even applies to whole operating systems, where
the os vendor can convince their customers it has to be that way - can
you say, "security updates"?, and stealthy dissemination of
property-rights restrictions?

there is a diffference with CVS updates that is much more important
than push-pull, however.

the network-released incremental updates are managed as deliberate,
measured releases, and not just the set of any updates.  it takes
attention - time and discretion - to distinguish the development
frontier from the release frontier, though both can be incremental.  a
"stable"-ish branch in a code versioning arrangement may be a closer
aproximation, certainly more so than the trunk.

i like the idea of an incremental release mechanism for emacs.  but it
needs to be done right - i think xemacs network-based packages update
system doesn't quite do it, though it might be a step in the right

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