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Re: [Hangout - NYLXS] State of the GNUnion 2020

From: Alexandre François Garreau
Subject: Re: [Hangout - NYLXS] State of the GNUnion 2020
Date: Sat, 15 Feb 2020 02:48:06 +0100

Le mercredi 12 février 2020, 19:13:12 CET Eli Zaretskii a écrit :
> I could also offer a different measure of the health of GNU: look at
> the projects that are at the base of any OS: GCC, glibc, Binutils,
> GDB, etc.

Btw how’s glibc? fine? yes? no? how are you?

Sometimes I feel like we should ask “how are you” to packages and computer 
programs, and listen to them.
> And then we have Guile, whose development pace leaves a lot to be
> desired, if we really want it to become the GNU standard extension
> languages.  Strangely, the Guile developers, including Andy Wingo,
> don't seem to do anything about that.  There are no discussions about
> making the project more active, none at all.  Does that mean the Guile
> level of activity is OK with Andy?  If so, how does that live in peace
> with the seemingly grave outlook for the rest of GNU?

Oh please yes! Scheme is a so beautiful language.  It deserves better.  I 
wished it could have a better place inside GNU.  But instead it keeps 
developing on its own side instead of linking with anything…

At some point someone introduced some confusion by saying “GNU should have 
done the right thing and dubbed Racket as officiel GNU extension language”.  
Well, Guile has an originally an history of minimalism and lightness so 
that to be used to extend… though I don’t feel it anymore… and it is GNU… 
and it is easily interfacable with C… so I should have been able to defend 
it in my mind…  But however, with the way guile grows nowadays, I could do 
nothing but realize that, in the current state of affairs, yes, I would 
have been happy if there was racket instead of guile…


> Last, but not least: I'm not at all sure that statistics of the kind
> we were presented, which is based on various measures of package
> activity, tells anything about "the health of GNU", because GNU, at
> least as I understand that term, has almost nothing to do with
> development activity of GNU packages.  The development activity is
> determined solely by the project's development team and its abilities
> to draw contributions and find worthy development goals.  GNU as an
> organization doesn't have any impact on that, because they almost
> never interfere into these matters (unless there's some sort of
> scandal, which happens only very rarely).

Actually, as gender metrics and other, I think this has a lot to do with 
outside world.  Maybe with free-software, or IT, as a whole.  As I saw 
some peeks and linear growth and decrease… I saw something interesting, 
but wouldn’t link that with GNU.

I think the life of how Canonical, Apple, Google, Microsoft and RedHat 
develop have more influence on such metrics than anything related to GNU or 
rms.  If one day microsoft decide to free C#/.NET, or Apple to switch to 
LLVM, or Canonical to change init system, start or abandon a new frontend 
system, google to change tech or language, redhat to change anything to 
the way they contribute GNOME… that sure will change a lot.

And that is driven by money.

But we keep talking complaining about opinions and talking about politics 
without talking about money.  There is a problem.  This is not serious.  
If you want to speak about project health, development efforts, etc. at 
some time you’ll need to speak about who contributes on their free time 
and who does as a salaree, who is paid, how many people, which who’s 
money, etc.

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