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Re: On the subject of Git, Bazaar, and the future of Emacs development

From: Karl Fogel
Subject: Re: On the subject of Git, Bazaar, and the future of Emacs development
Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2013 15:55:57 -0500
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.3.50 (gnu/linux)

"John Wiegley" <address@hidden> writes:
>We have often debated the merits of Git vs. Bazaar, and which one the GNU
>project should use for Emacs development.  I think now is an appropriate time
>to revisit this decision.
>My main reason for bringing this up again is that Bazaar development has
>effectively stalled.  There are major bugs which have been in their
>bug-tracker for years now -- bugs affecting Emacs development, such as the
>ELPA repository -- whach have been ignored all this time.  There are also
>other factors, but this one alone is significant enough that I think it
>justifies us switching over to Git all by itself.
>So, to Richard as the undisputed Czar of all things Emacs: can we now, pretty
>please, switch to Git? :)  I'm happy to coordinate whatever resources it takes
>to make a full and faithful conversion from Bzr happen as soon as possible.


Calling Bazaar a "GNU project" is becomes more meaningless the slower
Bzr's development gets.  The last release candidate, 2.6b2, was in July
2012.  That announcement said "2.6.0 is planned to be released in August

I understand that unplanned things can delay a major release -- this can
happen to any project.  But it's a little more disturbing when there's a
cessation of "beta" releases *on the way* to the next major release.  If
it's in the release testing process, then we should see successive beta
releases, not inactivity.

There are no announcements at all from after 24 July 2012, on the Bazaar
home page at http://bazaar.canonical.com/en/.

There is a small amount of activity in the bug tracker, but IMHO not
enough.  For example, look at the "89 New Bugs" [1] and make sure to use
the little gear icon to turn on "Date Last Updated" and "Age" columns;
click either column to sort by that column.  What you'll see is that
after the first 7 bugs, the next most recently filed new bug was filed
more than four months ago.  Of the first 7, only a few have meaningful
responses (whether from a maintainer or otherwise).

The needle on the "project health meter" in my head is hovering down
near the low end of the dial.

As a minor package maintainer in Emacs, I would be better able to do my
job if the master Emacs sources were in Git.  I don't use Bazaar for
anything else now, so it's just another slightly different command set
to remember.  And it's clearly causing us trouble interacting with
packages whose upstream maintenance happens outside our tree, in git.

And for what?  So we can say we're supporting a "GNU Project"?  What a
fascinating vector for a DoS attack: call $FOO a GNU Project and get
Emacs to use it.  Then don't maintain $FOO.

I like Bazaar, and personally like the people who work on it (many of
whom I've been lucky enough to meet).  Canonical took a big risk
developing it, and Bzr may well still be the right tool for the import
of upstream sources into Launchpad for Ubuntu packaging.  But for an
independent upstream like Emacs, git long ago became the right choice.
Maybe Emacs' decision to use Bazaar in order to support a fellow GNU
project was the right at one time... but surely that decision's
rightness can & should change based on changes in the status of Bzr and
Emacs' needs?



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