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Re: GuixSD on arm

From: t3sserakt
Subject: Re: GuixSD on arm
Date: Tue, 5 Jul 2016 10:53:14 +0200
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10.11; rv:45.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/45.1.1

Am 05.07.16 um 00:18 schrieb Jookia:
> On Mon, Jul 04, 2016 at 05:14:56PM +0000, ng0 wrote:
>> t3sserakt writes:
>>> Hi Ludo,
>>> I would like to help, but I have no idea where to start.
>>> I am "just" an application developer, and do not have
>>> the right knowledge for doing this task alone.
>>> Additionally to that I am busy with helping the
>>> secushare (gnunet) project.
>>> But if there is somebody who knows in more detail
>>> what to do, I can help.
>> I think Jookia was working on this.. or still is.. I am unsure
>> about the state of Jookia's work.
>> I'll CC Jookia and we'll see if this thread gets an reply.
>> Additionally I CC'ed you t3ss because I don't know if you are
>> subscribed.

I am not. Thx!

> Hi there!
> I started on an ARM port a few months ago with the intention of running the
> system on my Novena, but eventually gave up given the hard development cycle.
> I haven't talked about this before but I don't expect many people to read this
> email, so here goes. The main pain points were these:
> - Patches would get lost regularly.
> This is probably the biggest issue, and from reading the mailing list it 
> doesn't
> seem to be solved. There was an attempt at adding a patch tracker but I guess
> that was lost too. I suggested at some point to use a newer version of Mailman
> which would help this, but the developers didn't think it useful. The 
> suggested
> way to fix this is to reply and get people's attention about your patches 
> again.
> I'm not cut out to what feels like nagging people when I don't know the 
> reasons
> why they haven't replied. Perhaps this is how things work in other systems, 
> but
> as someone that suffers from social anxiety and finds it hard enough to even
> send patches I can't deal with this, and Guix seems to be doing fine without 
> me.
> - Feedback is little to none.
> As patches were lost and most discussion was done on the mail list, there was
> basically no discussion on patches or design problems. After getting Guix to
> boot on my Libreboot machine I went to work on fixing issues with the boot
> system, such as adding support for legacy Libreboot systems and encrypted
> bootloaders. This was lost.
> I also did some work to get LVM+LUKS working on Guix and tried to spark a
> discussion in to fixing the design issues in system configuration. I think 
> there
> was about one reply, and it was lost.
> Some of the work that I did do and in fact got in somewhat by proxy is GTK+
> theming. There's a habit of maintainers fixing things themselves rather than
> taking patches, which I feel is a further hindrance to actually working on 
> Guix.
> This gives me the impression that Guix doesn't have enough maintainers to
> sustain people doing new development upstream, want to do things themselves, 
> or
> the project is just bad at communication.
> - GNUness over pragmatism.
> The main issue I had with doing an ARM port is the bootloader, and this is
> because everyone I spoke to except Ludovic seemed to be hesitant towards 
> using a
> bootloader other than GRUB. Looking at the code base, I'd need to do make 
> things
> less GRUB-specific which I was happy to do, but I didn't want to do it wrong 
> or
> end up with my work ignored or thrown away.
> To be concrete, the conversation generally went like this: "To get the Novena
> booting Guix I'll need to add support for U-Boot as a bootloader." "I've heard
> GRUB works on ARM, have you tried that?" "Yes, it doesn't work from what I've
> tried." "Perhaps you've done it wrong." "I can't rule that out, but GRUB on 
> is still early work compared to U-Boot (which GRUB uses) and it'd work for 
> more
> boards." then the conversation would drop off.
> I have a distinct feeling this is due to a bias in building "the GNU system"
> rather than building a fully free Guix-based system. 

I do not really want to start a debate on principles, but isn't the goal
of GNU
to have a fully free system?

> I was originally going to
> do a fork of Guix with my own changes that people could download, but in the 
> end
> I just went back to NixOS which runs happily on my Novena and my Libreboot
> machine. The only reason I wanted to use Guix was so I could contribute 
> patches
> upstream and not maintain ones locally like I do with NixOS.
> - Summary
> This experience has put me off of Guix, GNU and free software development. I
> don't blame any one, but more a system that doesn't incorporate people like 
> me.
> I'm not going to elaborate more on this, I just had to get it off my chest.
That reads very sad.
> I'm willing to send you code and help you with what I've done: It's mostly
> reworking the bootloader. There's no ARM support yet, but I did identify the
> points that need changing.

That would be very kind. I would endeavor that your work will not be for
Like Alex I also had the experience, that you need a lot of patience
when participating
in free software development. There are a lot of volunteer with more or
less time
for working on a huge amount of tasks.

Maybe right now it is not the time for Guix on arm, but I hope you can
be encouraged
to give this community another chance in the future.


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