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pull requests

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: pull requests
Date: Thu, 26 Mar 2020 22:59:35 -0400

[[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider    ]]]
[[[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies,     ]]]
[[[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example. ]]]

We had a discussion last year about support for pull requests.  The
problem that we identified last year is that allowing proposed patches
into a GNU forge breaks down the simple wall between what the GNU
Project distributes and users' changes.

In place of that simple wall, there would be a criterion that requires
judgment.  Emacs developers would understand that criterion, but the
public and the courts would not reliably understand.  This could cause
problems of a legal nature, problems of a moral nature, and problems
of explanation.

The legal problems: there could be code without copyright assignments.
The moral problems: there could be code that isn't free.
The explanatoy problems: there could be code or comments that contradict
our message.

I don't remember the precise conclusions last year, but ISTR I
concluded that any pull requests on a GNU forge must be visible _only_
to the developers of the package.

Can someone find that previous discussion and show its actual conclusions?
With a single Message-ID field I could find the discussion.

  > Question for maintainers: is it actually mandatory that all changes are
  > submitted through patches on the ML? If we need to submit lot of
  > patches, can we just point to an external repository on some branch?

I don't feel confident I understand that concretely -- what precisely
would be "on some branch"?

Maybe it is ok to point to an external repository in an email to
emacs-devel.  I'd want to have a discussion of that, but I tend to
think that if done properly it is basically equivalent to emailing the
patches themselves to emacs-devel.

The external repo should not be on a site such as GitHub that requires
Javascript to do things users will want to do with that repo.  And it
should be clearly labeled as "XYZ's patched version of GNU Emacs M.N,
containing changes submitted for installation."

Dr Richard Stallman
Chief GNUisance of the GNU Project (https://gnu.org)
Founder, Free Software Foundation (https://fsf.org)
Internet Hall-of-Famer (https://internethalloffame.org)

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