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Re: some questions about GUIX

From: Leo Famulari
Subject: Re: some questions about GUIX
Date: Tue, 29 Dec 2015 14:46:26 -0500
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.24 (2015-08-30)

On Tue, Dec 29, 2015 at 08:11:55PM +0100, Ricardo Wurmus wrote:
> Sam Halliday <address@hidden> writes:
> > Ludovic Courtès <address@hidden> writes:
> >>> * Issue tracker / comm channels
> >>>
> >>> Will you be continuing to use debbugs, savannah and mailing lists going
> >>> forward or would you consider moving to a modern community management
> >>> system like gitlab?
> >>
> >> I hear the appeal of GitLab and the like.  However, as was recently
> >> discussed on guix-devel, while I think we must find ways to improve our
> >> workflows (for instance, tracking patches is becoming tricky), I don’t
> >> see us moving to one of those web-based approaches for several reasons:
> >>
> >>
> >
> > I've never used GitLab, but I understand that it is free software. The
> > thread above seems to suggest that it is proprietary.
> There are two variants AFAIU; the hosted GitLab service uses the
> proprietary version.
> Although I personally started contributing to free software projects
> regularly only at the time when Github came around (before that it was
> quite awkward for me to send patches via email), I have come to really
> appreciate the mail-based workflow we have for GNU projects.
> Savannah certainly isn’t pretty (and I only used the web interface once
> or twice to get the info I needed to get started), and I find debbugs
> somewhat hard to use, but I think using mailing lists for discussing
> patches (but not to keep track of them) is vastly superiour to the
> workflow imposed by Github and similar systems.

I also have come to prefer the email workflow over web-based systems
like Github and Gitlab.

For one thing, I automatically have a complete copy of the project's
development discussions (since I joined) on my workstation, because I do
IMAP sync to have local emails. This means that the "human" part of the
development process is distributed, in addition to the source code part
(with git). Github is useless when I'm offline.

It integrates very simply with git-send-email and git-am (for applying
patches to my work tree). I find it much faster than clicking around Sure, it takes a little longer to learn than Github, but so
does writing software versus just using it.

I do like Github et al for sending one-off patches or bug reports to
projects that I am not going to be spending a lot of time on. I would
like to see a system that hooks into the mailing list and provides a
"dual-interface" where both email and webpages are equal citizens, so
that drive-bys have a chance of contributing without signing up for yet
another mailing list (the true backcronym of YAML? ;)

Tracking patches is more cumbersome with the current email system than
Github but, on the other hand, I think that the patch's author should be
paying enough attention to be able to keep track of it themselves [1].
If I have a local branch that isn't merged, I should know why. It's
either incomplete or waiting for review, and if it's been waiting for
review for a while, then I can send a reminder to the list.  And if
somebody else's mail is sitting in my guix-inbox for a while, I know
why. This method works for me; I don't know if it works for other

[1] This first half of these archived LKML messages describe what I'm
talking about:

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