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Re: What a modern collaboration toolkit looks like

From: Tassilo Horn
Subject: Re: What a modern collaboration toolkit looks like
Date: Tue, 01 Jan 2008 12:28:43 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.110007 (No Gnus v0.7) Emacs/23.0.50 (gnu/linux)

Eli Zaretskii <address@hidden> writes:

Hi Eli,

> And if you are hinting that using CVS is the reason, then I must say
> that in the 15 years I've been involved in Emacs development (using
> RCS at first, btw), I don't think I've ever heard some potential
> contributor say that she refuses to come on board because of the VCS
> we use.

Speaking as one of the youngsters in the team, I'd say that it matters
quite a bit.  There are a lot of emacs lisp projects where younger devs
are involved (e.g. EMMS), but getting something into emacs is quite
hard.  A distributed VCS would help here definitely.

The current way with posting patches on emacs-devel, getting review,
rewriting the patches, yet more review and eventually being included
(but still with no write access) can make the work much harder.

Of course I do think that the review is very good thing and that giving
write access to a person is a decision that has to be weighted
accurately, but a tool like git would free contributors from needing

I could say, hey, I've developed this new foo-mode, please look at my
git repository at http://www.tsdh.de/repos/git/foo, get the review,
change it till everybody is satisfied and eventually one of the core
devs could pull the changes.

There would be no need to have write access at all.  I can alway commit
to my repository (even when I'm offline, a fact that should be a big
plus for Richard) and synching happens whenever something important has
be done and some core dev reviewed it.

There's a nice video at youtube where Linus Torvalds talks about git
where he discribes the benefits of distributed VCSs (in a very
entertaining way).

> My analysis is different: I think we are limited by a small number of
> core developers, and by the lack of head maintainer(s) who could
> devote much more time than any of us can evidently provide to coding
> and leading the rest of the developers.

IMO this would change with a VCS like git, too.  On problem with the
current situation is that possible contributors might fear that their
changes break something or won't be liked by the core devs.  So they
don't even try it at all.  With a distributed VCS it's like everybody
has his own branch where he can do what he likes, so I expect people to
hack on parts they wouldn't try normally.  And since then there will be
finished patches which actually are easily appliable and testable, the
maintainer's job would be to try the different branches and incorporate
the good stuff into the main line.

So to sum up: There are quite a few young devs that write good elisp
code, but currently they concentrate on extensions, because the core
stuff seems somewhat locked behind bureaucratical walls.  A distributed
version control system would definitely help to break them down.


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