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Re: [Gnu-arch-users] Inclusion of Bzr into the GNU system

From: Andy Tai
Subject: Re: [Gnu-arch-users] Inclusion of Bzr into the GNU system
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2008 15:50:35 -0800

Hi, just some general comments:

GNU Arch is not in active development, nor maintenance... (the latter my fault; the former, don't blame me).

Software's value depends on many factors; resources behind active development are one of them...  in that regard bzr  beats  Arch  hands down.  There may be technical  viewpoints  favoring one or the other, but bzr also has one more thing superior to Arch: its (command line) user interface is much better due to the efforts spent on the design.

Python is free software; and how the Python inventor thinks of software freedom is not relevant because that is not connected to the developers of bzr. Not a reason to use or not to use Python. (I do not use Python myself)

Bzr is a GNU project; the issue of whether GNU should have accepted it is outside the scope of the GNU Arch community; frankly. 

Arch is still a GNU project and contribution is welcome; and I welcome a better person to come along to take over the maintainership if such a hero exists.


On Tue, Nov 25, 2008 at 3:11 PM, deadlyhead <address@hidden> wrote:
I've been sitting on this for a long time, but it's been bothering me a bit and I need to get some others' perspectives on it.

I'm a fan of GNU Arch.  Seriously.  I'm not a major software author at all, but I do have need of a revision control system, and of all that I've used, GNU Arch is the one that I really feel fits how I work.  The fact that it is distributed, that it uses forward patching, that it has a sane, usable interface and more make it ideally suited to my needs.  Most of all, it's a GNU project, and thus I am ensured that in using it I retain my freedom.

The fact that GNU Arch has a smaller user base than some revision systems has always been a bit of a downer to me, but has not deterred my use of it in my own projects.  When Bazaar forked, then rewrote, GNU Arch, I was fairly unimpressed, because potential users of Arch were then pulled over to Bzr.  I can't fault either the Bazaar team nor the users; this is a freedom protected by free software.  I would have preferred to see those same efforts make there way into GNU Arch (though I have read of the reasons why they weren't), but what really galls me is the means of developing Bazaar and the subsequent product.

Bazaar is written in Python.  I've used Python, and though I personally don't prefer it (I'm a Guile user), I see its merits and why so many programmers are drawn to it.  But Python, while ostensibly free software, has a rather weak license and in the past its community has shown a bit of hostility toward maintaining the Four Freedoms.  This greatly troubles me for a project that has been accepted as part of the GNU system.  I would like to have seen the deliberations over accepting Bazaar as a GNU project and know whether this issue was brought up.

My personal wish would be to see the continued development of GNU Arch (1.x or 2, either works) as a GNU project.  I feel that these programs are much more in line with GNU philosophy and thus a better choice for the system.  I realize that the ``best'' way to go about this is to take an active role in the development of either piece of software, and I'd love to, though I feel barely confident in my abilities to do the software justice.  (I'm a passable C programmer at best.  Along with being an avid Guile user, my interests lie squarely with Ada programming and GNAT.  Talk about marginalizing my own project acceptance!)  I feel that it would be worthwhile to use all GNU-supported languages for GNU projects, and GNU Arch extended with Guile would be a worthy showpiece for GNU's extension language as well.  Maybe I'm just a fanboy, but using GNU's tools when working on a GNU project seems _right_ in so many ways.

This is just my perspective.  I'd like to see what others have to say for the inclusion of Bazaar as a GNU project, how that sits with the GNU Arch community, its benefits and detriments, and what that means for the future of Arch.  I'm inclined to get involved with Arch if it's active in any way still (but don't think I could push start it if it's stalled),  but due to my reservations with Bazaar, involvement in it, let alone use of it, is unlikely.  (It doesn't even work on my Debian box!  WTFpython!?)

Thanks for reading.

-- deadlyhead

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