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Re: Git mirrors

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: Re: Git mirrors
Date: Fri, 14 Oct 2011 13:50:08 +0900

Juanma Barranquero writes:

 > Are you seriously comparing Solitaire with a VCS?

No, he's exaggerating.  Nevertheless, the GNU system envisioned in the
GNU Manifesto was much less ambitious than what we see today.  GNU
clearly has experienced orders of magnitude mission creep, but the
resources devoted to the core mission (software freedom) are now way
too small.  Cf. Miles' and my posts questioning acceptance of Bazaar
as a GNU project.

 > Most software projects are mainained with the help of a VCS, and if
 > chosing one as "official", a DVCS seems more sensible than a
 > non-distributed one.

For sure.  And GNU now has two.  GNU Arch (since 2003), a definitely
freedom-loving project.  And GNU Bazaar (just in time to be adopted by
Emacs; coincidence?)  For heaven's sake, even the name "Bazaar" evokes
open source ideals!

 > I really dislike this argument, because it means that people who wants
 > to contribute to some free software project will avoid to do so
 > because it does not use their tool of choice.

I don't understand what you're trying to say.  Óscar is precisely
arguing that there should be *no* "official" GNU VCS, because there
are too many good ones out there.

 > > by sending the message to other creators of Free Software that
 > > GNU is out there to aggressively compete with them regardless of
 > > merit.)
 > GNU software is out there to aggressively compete, and win the users,
 > yes (at least the ones that care about freedom too). "Regardless of
 > merit" is meaningless, because the users will chose the one which best
 > fits their needs.

That's precisely Óscar's point, though.  If users are choosing
something other than GNU, and it's clear that GNU makes choices based
on favoritism toward GNU-labeled projects, that makes the GNU
recommendation meaningless as a signal of quality.  It's already
meaningless as a signal of the freedom of the software, since that is
determined quite precisely by the license; no need for a GNU label.

That leaves the GNU label as a signal of "political correctness" on
the part of the *project* (*not* the software, which is *free* by
assumption) and maybe "personal relationship to RMS" (not that RMS
would refuse git because he doesn't like Linus, rather the other way
around).  While I understand it's not a *contradiction* in this
context, the justaposition of emphasizing political correctness while
advocating freedom is, uh, unattractive.

It would be (economically) better if GNU developers making (currently)
inferior software were encouraged to abandon their effort, and devote
some of that time to improving the free rival(s), and most of it to
developing software that currently has no attractive free
implementation.  Somebody else will have to explain the reasons for
overriding the economics here, because it's not that "the economically
better software is non-free".

 > which is to say that Savannah is doing a better job of supporting git
 > than Bazaar... That does not seem entirely compatible with the view
 > that GNU is rejecting git or favoring Bazaar.

Richard has already announced here that he thinks Savannah made a
mistake.  He has clearly stated the policy: GNU does not reject git,
but it does favor Bazaar.

 > But that was then. Currently, wanting to hack Emacs and not wanting to
 > use Bazaar seems a bit childish IMO. Yes, you'd prefer to use git. I
 > would prefer for Emacs to be written in Ada. I'll have to adapt. Can
 > you?

Sure.  But your analogy fails, because the problem here is not whether
Óscar can *adapt* to Emacs' use of bzr.  He can, and he can use git
(for developing Emacs) at the same time as bzr (for pushing his
contributions) if he wants to.

The problem is that many people are failing to *conform*.  They're
*adapting* by using a git mirror, and annoying larsi and Glenn et al
by reporting bugs against git revision ids.  John is trying to reduce
or eliminate the annoyance by providing a canonical git repo with a
publicly available git revid <-> bzr revid map.

Richard's reluctance to express approval of this idea strikes me as
going beyond *promoting* GNU Bazaar to *protecting* it.

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