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Re: [screen-devel] screen maintainer

From: Amadeusz Sławiński
Subject: Re: [screen-devel] screen maintainer
Date: Wed, 2 Apr 2014 19:47:21 +0200

On Wed, 2 Apr 2014 18:43:16 +0200
Axel Beckert <address@hidden> wrote:

> Hi,
> On Wed, Apr 02, 2014 at 04:27:53PM +0200, Amadeusz Sławiński wrote:
> > Some of you may know that I maintain separate development tree on
> > github ( in which I
> > have a more than 300 changes committed in comparison with official
> > tree. So I may as well do this officially ;)
> I think the development of GNU Screen should stay on Savannah. Github
> is not free software and hosting free software with non-free software
> is always a dangerous thing, not only politically.

I'm also leaning toward leaving project where it's already located,
there is no need to move it.

> Surely, there's also Gitorious, Gitlab and, but I don't see
> any advantage over Savannah other than that some of the are more
> "agile" and "hip". (And I neither consider GNU Screen being agile nor
> hip. I consider it to be mature and stable, despite some changes in
> the past years, like bumping the protocol version between client and
> server, reduced stability noticably.)
> > * new features (256 colors in hardstatus, hardstatus on top,
> > truecolor, ...)
> Nice.
> > * removal of ancient code (removed most of #ifdef for ancient
> > systems)
> Not happy.
> I fear that this may cause a lot of breakage. Linux(*) is by far not
> the only platform for Screen out there.
> (*) You wrote earlier that you only tested your code on Linux. Linux
>     is by far not the only platform, GNU Screen runs on.

That's why I warn before hand. Screen is project which accumulated more
then 25 years of code according to copyrights. And while it may be
interesting to historians, I think it's time source is stripped of
those workarounds and retested on machines people use, because it's
likely that it just works with far fewer hacks, than it had.

> > * removal of features which didn't seem useful or could be replaced
> Not happy.
> On which base did you decide that? I suspect that these kind of
> changes will make many users unhappy, too.
> Please list which features you removed, so that people at least have a
> chance to object.
> E.g. I know people who think the most important screen feature is it's
> ability to talk to serial consoles. (One of the features, tmux doesn't
> have btw.) And I fear that this is one of these underestimated
> features which may easily be dropped by people who never needed them.

That's why I want to talk about it before I do anything drastic, one of
reasons I tried to describe my changes at least a bit ;)

From fast comparing between source files:
multiuser - seemed more like security risk to me
braille - couldn't test :(
utmp - seemed broken and there is also utmpx?
nethack - funny, but who really needs it?
zmodem - according to wiki some ancient file transfer protocol
there may be something else...

One of my goals was to make code far more readable, so I reformatted
whole tree, and also enabled most of features by removing #ifdefs.
And believe me it's far more easy to understand what's going on.

> > First thing I would do, would be releasing current git tree as
> > screen-4.1 also opening separate version 4 branch,
> Your git tree or the one on Savannah? I hope you mean the one on
> Savannah.

Of course I mean savannah one.

> > only for bug fixes so distributions have something recent to base
> > their packages on. Next step would be merging my 'devel' branch into
> > master and start developing version 5.
> Ok, this sound as least saner than I feared.
> Anyway, since this topic seems to get into a more "dangerous" and
> fast-paced state, I may sent some of my already written replies to
> some of the earlier threads on that topic -- which I didn't send yet,
> because I felt to angry to write calm mails at that point.

I want to make sure that screen stays as usable as it is to people who
use it, but also would like to see new stuff happening, that's why I
started this talk. 


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