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[Pan-devel] Re: How is development going?

From: Duncan
Subject: [Pan-devel] Re: How is development going?
Date: Wed, 21 May 2008 09:48:00 +0000 (UTC)
User-agent: Pan/0.132 (Waxed in Black)

"Ben Bullock" <address@hidden>
posted address@hidden,
excerpted below, on  Wed, 21 May 2008 14:22:42 +0900:

> I've sent a number of bug reports and patches for Pan newsreader and
> didn't get any reply. Is the project being developed still?

As a matter of fact, I just covered that question in some detail in the 
user group (well, list, but group as seen thru, where I use pan 
to participate).

Pretty much repeating what I said there, it's still being developed, but 
Charles has a history of fits and starts in his work on it.  After the 
rewrite was made public, he had over a year of nearly weekly betas, 43 
releases in ~14 months, but that rate was clearly unsustainable for what 
after all is nearly a one-person effort (he takes patches, but...).  
Since 0.132 however, released nearly 10 months ago now on Aug 1, 2007, he 
has taken a break.  As I said, fits and starts...

He's still active with GNOME and has reportedly put in a quite a bit of 
work on GNOME's Transmission bittorrent client in that time (I'm a KDE 
guy with pan being my only major GTK/GNOME app, thus the "reportedly" as 
it's second hand info), but apparently and understandably was burnt out 
on pan.

If there was a time to take a break, however, this time was somewhat 
appropriate.  As I said he had been working hard on it and had 43 betas 
in a bit over a year, during which he beat the rewrite into pretty decent 
working shape.  There were and are a few remaining non-trivial bugs, 
however, that really should be fixed before a full stable release.  
However, he was apparently at a creative dead-end at the time, the bugs 
weren't well known or reported altho it was known there were still some, 
and it was basically time to let the existing product settle a bit and 
get beat upon by the users, before what will hopefully be a final push 
toward a new stable version.

Apparently, however, he never anticipated that run of betas in the first 
place.  The initial rewrite release was given version number 0.90 and he 
was talking about a pretty quick 1.0 stable, so it's somewhat obvious he 
expected <10 "weekly" betas.  In hindsight that was wildly optimistic, 
especially for a 1.0 release, but there you have it.

So after that marathon I expect in addition to being burned out, he was a 
bit disillusioned/discouraged.  As I said, tho, that's sort of the 
pattern.  By pattern as well, he'll be back for another round, given time.

Where it goes when he does return I'm not sure.  I guess time will tell.

Again, you can read pretty much the same thing in the user list reply I 
linked, but it says it a bit differently, so maybe it's worth looking at 

What pan really needs, altho in practice I'm not sure Charles works well 
that way, but anyway... what pan needs is a second developer, perhaps one 
that's a bit more slow and steady, to compliment Charles' very gifted but 
almost manic depressive development pattern.  I'm more of the slow and 
steady type myself and have often wished... but unfortunately I'm not 
skilled as a real developer, more the sysadmin scripting type of thing.  
I'm not sure if no one else has had the long term interest, or if Charles 
just doesn't have a personality that works well in a team type effort, or 
what, but there it sits: he's still the primary developer, and pan is 
still being developed, but subject to what has now become a pronounced 
pattern of fits and starts, gung ho for a time, then pause, then gung ho 
again, then pause.  Meanwhile, I've ended up doing what I can anchoring 
the pan lists, my slow and steady style keeping me here year after year, 
even thru the two plus years we thought pan had been abandoned, before 
Charles made public the rewrite he had apparently been working on in 
private over much of that time.

Who knows, maybe he's working on another rewrite?

Duncan - List replies preferred.   No HTML msgs.
"Every nonfree program has a lord, a master --
and if you use the program, he is your master."  Richard Stallman

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