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Re: Git mirrors

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: Re: Git mirrors
Date: Wed, 12 Oct 2011 13:31:41 +0900

Juanma Barranquero writes:
 > On Tue, Oct 11, 2011 at 11:33, Stephen J. Turnbull
 > <address@hidden> wrote:
 > > Promoting an unusable tool merely because it had the GNU label is most
 > > definitely unfriendly competition.
 > Assuming that by "unusable tool" you refer to the past, and even if it
 > is not accurate (it was lacking, but hardly unusable, or we would not
 > have been able to use it),

The politically committed did use it.  Many others refused.  Some
stopped contributing, others used the git or Arch mirrors.  For quite
some time, despite the existence of the GNU Savannah, the repo of
choice was hosted at Launchpad.

 > well... which competition?

Excuse me?  The obvious competition: Subversion, git, Mercurial.  The
main technical advantage of Bazaar was allowing the technological
reactionaries to continue using a centralized system.  Subversion
would have served that purpose, and is well-supported by Savannah
AFAIK.  git was and is a much better choice for fostering the "share
my Emacs hacks" ethos that has always been a part of this community,
but would have required substantial effort on the part of the more
conservative members of the community.  Mercurial is somewhere in the
middle, and defintely not as good as Bazaar at supporting centralized
habits, but I have never seen a Mercurial hosting service with the
kind of performance problems that intermittently crop up with Bazaar
even today, let alone the systematic performance problems of the bzr
at the time the decision was made.  Nor have I seen any project have
really severe issues transitioning from a CVS or Subversion repo to a
Mercurial repo with a centralized workflow.

All of the above are indisputably free software.

 > Though I disagreed at the time, chosing a tool is not a race, but a
 > decision, political as much as anything else. It seems logical to
 > chose the one you favor, and then try to make it better.

Richard made the decision.  I don't see Richard making any
contributions to Bazaar at all.  I see Eli and Stefan reporting bugs,
which is indeed a contribution, but hardly *making* it better.  Emacs
is always waiting on Bazaar, waiting on Savannah, waiting, waiting,
waiting.  The decision was made, and as I replied to Ted Z, this is
GNU policy.  However, I don't see a lot of follow-through in the
direction you indicate.  Am I missing something?

 > That git or mercurial or darcs or any other tool were available and
 > free does not change the fact that Bazaar was, nominally at least,
 > *the* GNU dVCS of choice.

Once again, the existence of groff doesn't stop GNU from using TeX.
The existence of bash, gawk, and GNU sed doesn't stop GNU from using
perl.  And so on.

 > I think the above makes clear that I don't agree with your comment:
 > "One could argue that Emacs should advocate the use of the strongest
 > possible "team" of free software tools, rather than being biased to
 > the use of GNU-labeled tools." That would be technically sound,
 > politically less so.

If by "politically sound" you mean fanboyism, sure.  If by
"politically sound" you mean "organizing a consensus of the members of
the GNU project to cooperate in some endeavor at the expense of their
own immediate, local interests", it is indeed arguable that sometimes
a GNU project can be left to its own devices so that other projects
can take advantage of the best available tools.

But as I also said in my message, the argument is over, the decision
is made.  It is *not* "fanboyism" to abide by the decision until it
becomes clear that the decision should be rethought.  I disagree with
the decision, but I don't see a strong argument for rethinking it.
The arguments pro and con haven't changed much in the last 30 years,
and it's clear that most members of the Emacs community are perfectly
happy with "abiding by the decision".

I just object to the way Óscar (inter alia) is being shouted down.  He
has a point.  It would be reasonable to point to the consensus and
say, "That's off-topic."  But he's not being unfair.

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