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Re: conflicts in the gnu project now affect guile

From: Mark H Weaver
Subject: Re: conflicts in the gnu project now affect guile
Date: Wed, 16 Oct 2019 21:24:27 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/26.3 (gnu/linux)

Hi Andy,

Andy Wingo <address@hidden> writes:
> Before the RMS/GNU/FSF conversation started, Mark Weaver left Guile, for
> essentially unrelated reasons.  He threatened to leave because he wished
> to be consulted before I landed mixed definitions and expressions and
> shipped them in the 2.9.4 release;

The funny thing is, I don't actually have a strong opinion on this
particular change.

What I *do* have a strong opinion on is that you made the decision
unilaterally, without discussion on the mailing list, and without even
consulting your co-maintainers.  The commit was pushed to Savannah less
than 6 hours before you publicly announced a new Guile release that
included this core language change:

Ludovic and I only found out about the change after the public
announcements had already been made.

Can you understand why I consider this behavior to be dictatorial?

> I responded over email asking to talk about the issues;

This is misleading, because in fact you flatly refused to even discuss
the issue of *process*, namely that you made the decision unilaterally.
Instead, you insisted on limiting the discussion to the merits of the
actual change, after it had already been made, included in a release,
and publicly announced.

This kind of thing has happened several times in the past, and you've
always responded the same way, flatly refusing to talk about process,
and insisting on limiting the conversation to the merits of the changes
you had already made.

> in response a
> week later I see that he resigned from maintainership and left the
> Guile group on Savannah.  It was truly a shame for Guile, as Mark is
> an excellent hacker and has done a lot of good work for Guile.

I regret quitting the project.  The bus factor of Guile is far too low,
and it's a very important project.

I was angry.  I think I had a right to be angry.  After 8 years working
on Guile, and 5 years as your co-maintainer, your actions felt extremely
disrespectful to me.  Can you understand why I would feel that way?

> It's true also that, mixed with the sadness, I felt a modicum of relief.
> It has never been easy to work with Mark.  I could toil on Guile for
> weeks, taking time away from my family, and then wake up to receive a
> private mail excoriating me for my work.

I did not excoriate you for your work.  Rather, I complained bitterly
about being blindsided by changes that you included in the 2.2.0 release
against my wishes.

Still, I should have balanced my complaints with congratulations for
your contributions.  I'm sincerely sorry that I failed to do that.  I
didn't have it in me at the time, and your refusal to talk about process
left an open wound that has festered and never really healed.

> Yesterday, on internal project-wide GNU mailing lists, Mark brought up
> his personal grievances with me, arguing that the only reason I was
> ignoring RMS was because, in his opinion, RMS is the only person that
> could stop me from being Guile Dictator For Life; that I was attacking
> Richard out of some kind of hypocritical, tyrannical megalomania.

This is a severe mischaracterization of what I actually wrote.

First of all, I never said that it was the "only reason", or even that
it was "a reason".  I merely said that you had an "interest" in deposing
Richard, by which I meant that you had something to gain from it.

Secondly, there was a specific purpose to raising my grievances on the
internal mailing list.  It's because you are vigorously arguing for
collective decision making within GNU, while at the same time you are
acting in a dictatorial manner within the Guile project, failing to even
consult your co-maintainers on core language changes.  I think that's
hypocritical, and I said so.

> Still, it was with surprise that I woke up this morning to a request
> from Mark to re-join the Guile project on Savannah, saying that RMS had
> appointed Mark to become co-maintainer, and that Mark assented -- "given
> recent events".
> Now, Richard has no idea about Guile or how it works either technically
> or socially, and has not consulted with me as Guile maintainer, nor to
> my knowledge did he consult with Ludovic.

The facts are plain.  The bus factor in Guile is shockingly low.
Ludovic's attention is almost entirely focused on Guix, and he hasn't
worked much on the compiler since the 2.0 days.  A lot has changed since
then, as you and I both know.  Besides you, I'm the only person in the
world who is able to work on contemporary Guile compiler internals.

> I don't know what to conclude about RMS's motivations -- is it
> retaliation?

A stronger case can be made that your attempt to block my return to this
project is retaliatory.

You might be comfortable with a bus factor of close to 1 on modern Guile
compiler internals, but that would be an irresponsible decision on your
part, as anyone without an axe to grind can plainly see.

Frankly, it should not be your decision to make.  There's no question
that I'm qualified, and that there's a dire lack of other qualified

> And what role is Mark looking for?  Are we to have commit wars or
> something?

Absolutely not.  I will always seek your input on important changes, and
I ask that you show me the same courtesy.  I'm simply looking to return
to the same role that I previously held in this project for the last 5

For what it's worth, despite our disagreements, I still sincerely
believe that you are acting in good faith, and fighting for what you
believe is right.  I hope that you can believe that I'm doing the same.


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