In support of Jonas Bernoulli's Magit (was: comparing code on different branches)

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In support of Jonas Bernoulli's Magit (was: comparing code on different branches)

John Yates-4
On Tue, Jul 4, 2017 at 7:05 PM, Richard Stallman <[hidden email]> wrote:
I wish someone would write a package comparable to Magit that
we could get legal papers for and include it in Emacs.

​Richard,

I cannot let this go without commenting.  Do you understand what
you are advocating?

In Jonas you have someone who is doing just about everything
right per your notion of software freedom including applying gpl v3.
He has made significant personal sacrifices to provide emacs with
a package that is unique among editors and IDEs.  It could emerge
as one of those oh-so-elusive creatures: a true killer app for the
emacs platform.

Jonas has and continues to deliver a steady stream of features,
bug fixes and refinements.  Magit is clearly a work of love that is
wonderfully supported.  Jonas has exhibited admirable project
leadership skill and has published a detailed, credible map to
the future:


Some of us care enough about developers like Jonas and the
value he is delivering to emacs that we have responded to his
plea for financial support via PayPal, Patreon or Bountysource.

Were Jonas' effort invested in a non-GNU project, or at least not
one so dear to you heart as emacs, I suspect that you would
applaud his work.

Instead you seem to advocate undercutting Jonas' efforts with
no good reason to believe that you would get a replacement of
anywhere near the same quality.  Further, were you actually to
mount such a competing effort I am confident that long before it
ever delivered any useful amount of functionality you, the emacs
community, and the gnu effort would harvest significant bad press.

Sometimes community might be more important than copyright
assignment.  Please reconsider you request.

/john

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Re: In support of Jonas Bernoulli's Magit (was: comparing code on different branches)

Kaushal Modi
Adding my support.

On Wed, Jul 5, 2017 at 11:30 AM John Yates <[hidden email]> wrote:
In Jonas you have someone who is doing just about everything
right per your notion of software freedom including applying gpl v3.
He has made significant personal sacrifices to provide emacs with
a package that is unique among editors and IDEs.  It could emerge
as one of those oh-so-elusive creatures: a true killer app for the
emacs platform.

Jonas has and continues to deliver a steady stream of features,
bug fixes and refinements.  Magit is clearly a work of love that is
wonderfully supported.  Jonas has exhibited admirable project
leadership skill and has published a detailed, credible map to
the future:


In addition, the Magit project is an epitome of elisp projects; it has a wonderful Info manual with source code in Org (yes, I am aware of RMS' views on Org mode), tests!, active support by Jonas and other key Magit developers in bug fixing and providing solutions to user-specific flows, etc.

Some of us care enough about developers like Jonas and the
value he is delivering to emacs that we have responded to his
plea for financial support via PayPal, Patreon or Bountysource.

Me too.
 
Sometimes community might be more important than copyright
assignment.  Please reconsider you request.

+1 
--

Kaushal Modi

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Re: In support of Jonas Bernoulli's Magit

Óscar Fuentes
In reply to this post by John Yates-4
I'm afraid that you guys are missing the point. This has no relation
with the maintainer of Magit, but with the fact that Magit cannot be
distributed with Emacs.


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Re: In support of Jonas Bernoulli's Magit

Kaushal Modi
On Wed, Jul 5, 2017 at 12:24 PM Óscar Fuentes <[hidden email]> wrote:
I'm afraid that you guys are missing the point. This has no relation
with the maintainer of Magit, but with the fact that Magit cannot be
distributed with Emacs.

So the proposed solution should be to help figure out how to make that happen instead of proposing a rewrite of the whole project. 
--

Kaushal Modi

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Re: In support of Jonas Bernoulli's Magit

Stefan Monnier
In reply to this post by John Yates-4
>> I wish someone would write a package comparable to Magit that
>> we could get legal papers for and include it in Emacs.
> I cannot let this go without commenting.  Do you understand what
> you are advocating?

FWIW, I fully agree with John that developing a "replacement" for Magit
just because we can't get the copyright paperwork would be harmful at best.

A much more constructive path would be to figure out *how* to get Magit
into GNU ELPA (i.e. start collecting copyright paperwork from the
various contributors, look at the code that's not yet covered to see
what we could about it, consider maybe a subset of Magit, consider
tweaking the policy for GNU ELPA, ...).


        Stefan


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Re: In support of Jonas Bernoulli's Magit

Stefan Monnier
In reply to this post by Óscar Fuentes
> I'm afraid that you guys are missing the point.  This has no relation
> with the maintainer of Magit, but with the fact that Magit cannot be
> distributed with Emacs.

I'm afraid you're missing the point: distributing Magit with Emacs is
not terribly important, compared to fostering good relationships.

BTW, if we want to distribute something like Magit with Emacs, there's
no need to write a replacement: we can simply include Magit itself,
since the license allows us to do so.
The only hurdle is the one *we* (Emacs maintainers) put.


        Stefan


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Re: In support of Jonas Bernoulli's Magit (was: comparing code on different branches)

Noam Postavsky-2
In reply to this post by John Yates-4
On Wed, Jul 5, 2017 at 11:29 AM, John Yates <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Jonas has and continues to deliver a steady stream of features,
> bug fixes and refinements.  Magit is clearly a work of love that is
> wonderfully supported.  Jonas has exhibited admirable project
> leadership skill and has published a detailed, credible map to
> the future:

Speaking of, Jonas asked me to let you all know he's planning on
commenting here this weekend.

But in the meantime don't worry: he agrees with the idea of making
Magit into a GNU project in principle.

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Re: In support of Jonas Bernoulli's Magit

Óscar Fuentes
In reply to this post by Stefan Monnier
Stefan Monnier <[hidden email]> writes:

>> I'm afraid that you guys are missing the point.  This has no relation
>> with the maintainer of Magit, but with the fact that Magit cannot be
>> distributed with Emacs.
>
> I'm afraid you're missing the point: distributing Magit with Emacs is
> not terribly important, compared to fostering good relationships.

This is your personal opinion, not the policy exercised by the Emacs
project on recent times (see bzr, clang for two glaring examples).

Besides, "fostering good relations" on this case is a bit of a red
herring, since IIRC the current Magit maintainer is quite collaborative
with the Emacs core maintainers and, anyways, enriching Emacs itself is
more important than having good relations with a single individual.

> BTW, if we want to distribute something like Magit with Emacs, there's
> no need to write a replacement: we can simply include Magit itself,
> since the license allows us to do so.
> The only hurdle is the one *we* (Emacs maintainers) put.

Was that hurdle put by the Emacs maintainer or by the GNU governance?


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Re: In support of Jonas Bernoulli's Magit

Ingo Lohmar
In reply to this post by Stefan Monnier
I agree with the consensus in this thread, and on reading Richard's mail
this morning, several thoughts along the same lines crossed my mind.

Please let's not undermine a successful *free software* project (by the
strictest FSF definition) by trying to duplicate (presumably badly) the
work, passion, clear vision and eye for quality that Jonas has shown.

Also, from a practical point of view --- why would anybody in his/her
right mind contribute to such a project, instead of contributing to
Magit?  There are no ethical incentives, and any technical curiosity
has to face the *huge* amount of work and refinement that has already
happened in Magit.

Since getting copyright assignments for Magit contributions seems a
rather daunting task (given the longevity and the size of the project),
we could try to encourage technical steps to integrate parts of Magit
into GNU ELPA and/or Emacs.  Jonas has extracted several auxiliary
packages that might qualify, for example because they have been newly
written, rewritten, or have all necessary copyright assignments.  A
rewrite of magit's core using libgit2 (maybe as an Emacs module) is also
on the map --- maybe this could be done in such a way that it could
become part of Emacs?

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Re: In support of Jonas Bernoulli's Magit

Richard Stallman
In reply to this post by Óscar Fuentes
[[[ 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. ]]]

  > I'm afraid that you guys are missing the point. This has no relation
  > with the maintainer of Magit, but with the fact that Magit cannot be
  > distributed with Emacs.

You've hit the nail on the head.  I am not saying anything either good
or bad about Magit as such, because that's not the issue here.

We have a problem in Emacs: it doesn't contain a good interface to
git.  People often recommend something that is not in Emacs.  That's
not a good situation.  I want to fix it.

In principle, we could fix it with Magit.  I would be very glad if we
did.  That would require tracking down lots of people and convincing
them to sign the legal papers, and maybe replacing some pieces of code
whose authors didn't sign.

A year ago, more or less, I asked people if we could do this and I was
told it was impossible.

If we don't fix it with Magit, we need something else to fix it with.
So I asked people to build a suitable something else.

However, if there is now a real possibility of putting Magit into
Emacs, of course I would like to do it that way.

--
Dr Richard Stallman
President, Free Software Foundation (gnu.org, fsf.org)
Internet Hall-of-Famer (internethalloffame.org)
Skype: No way! See stallman.org/skype.html.


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Re: In support of Jonas Bernoulli's Magit

Clément Pit-Claudel
On 2017-07-05 19:03, Richard Stallman wrote:
> That would require tracking down lots of people and convincing
> them to sign the legal papers, and maybe replacing some pieces of code
> whose authors didn't sign.

Or we could make a one-time exception to our copyright paper's policy for Magit.  That may not be easy either, but it might be done.

This does not necessarily mean dropping the requirement to get legal papers.  It could mean re-evaluating the legal papers process, instead, to ensure that it can be conducted entirely online.  There was a bit of discussion on that topic in the past, and this push to get legal papers for Magit could be a good occasion to revisit it.

Concretely, the proposal would be to work with the FSF's lawyers to set up an entirely-online copyright assignment process, with no need to email [hidden email].  "Getting legal papers from 100 Magit contributors" sounds a lot more scary than "getting 100 magit contributors to click through the FSF's CLA" (Contributor's License Agreement).

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Re: In support of Jonas Bernoulli's Magit

Glenn Morris-3
Clément Pit-Claudel wrote:

> It could mean re-evaluating the legal papers process, instead, to
> ensure that it can be conducted entirely online. There was a bit of
> discussion on that topic in the past, and this push to get legal
> papers for Magit could be a good occasion to revisit it.

Do you not imagine that the FSF appreciates that completing the
assignment process is an issue for some people, and have already made it
as simple as the legal system allows?

https://www.fsf.org/blogs/licensing/fsf-to-begin-accepting-gpg-signatures-for-copyright-assignments-from-italy

"We are always working on ways to make assignment itself simpler."

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Re: In support of Jonas Bernoulli's Magit

Glenn Morris-3
In reply to this post by Richard Stallman
Richard Stallman wrote:

> We have a problem in Emacs: it doesn't contain a good interface to
> git.

I get on just fine with Emacs VC and git. It enables me to do just what
I did with other VCS in Emacs, and I appreciate the uniformity of
interface. Obviously, many people prefer a more featureful interface to
git's many bells and whistles, and that's fine. But IMO your statement
is an exaggeration.

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Re: In support of Jonas Bernoulli's Magit

Clément Pit-Claudel
In reply to this post by Glenn Morris-3
On 2017-07-05 21:46, Glenn Morris wrote:
> Do you not imagine that the FSF appreciates that completing the
> assignment process is an issue for some people,

Which part of my email made you think that I didn't?

> and have already made it as simple as the legal system allows?

No, I don't imagine this, in part because Richard did in the past support the idea of setting up an online form (to let people submit the info normally sent to [hidden email]).  Is it silly to imagine that this may not be a top priority item?  Or that volunteer efforts could help streamline the process further?

Clément.

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Re: In support of Jonas Bernoulli's Magit

Jean-Christophe Helary
In reply to this post by Glenn Morris-3

> On Jul 6, 2017, at 10:46, Glenn Morris <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Clément Pit-Claudel wrote:
>
>> It could mean re-evaluating the legal papers process, instead, to
>> ensure that it can be conducted entirely online. There was a bit of
>> discussion on that topic in the past, and this push to get legal
>> papers for Magit could be a good occasion to revisit it.
>
> Do you not imagine that the FSF appreciates that completing the
> assignment process is an issue for some people, and have already made it
> as simple as the legal system allows?
>
> https://www.fsf.org/blogs/licensing/fsf-to-begin-accepting-gpg-signatures-for-copyright-assignments-from-italy

That was 18 months ago and in the meanwhile I was able to scan a signed document and send it as a PDF. from Japan. There are still lags in the process, mostly because some parts don't seem to be automatized.

Jean-Christophe
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Re: In support of Jonas Bernoulli's Magit (was: comparing code on different branches)

Paul Michael Reilly
In reply to this post by Noam Postavsky-2
But in the meantime don't worry: he agrees with the idea of making
Magit into a GNU project in principle.

That is wonderful news! Were Magit a GNU project a few years ago, Richard would no doubt have a few less gray hairs and I would not have been the proverbial messenger whom Richard shot when trying to help him grok Git by using Magit. :-)

There are likely more than a few of us who have learned Git via Magit and for which we are grateful to Jonas and the Magit contributors.

I would implore the GNU leaders to bend over backwards to include projects like Magit which exemplify Free Software values and practices.  I would go so far as to suggest that catalogs of GNU software also include a special category of software that fails the GNU stamp of approval by virtue of only missing copyright assignment to GNU.  And I would implore these same leaders to use such software proudly.  
--
-pmr
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Re: In support of Jonas Bernoulli's Magit

Toon Claes-2
Paul Michael Reilly <[hidden email]> writes:
> That is wonderful news! Were Magit a GNU project a few years ago...
>
> There are likely more than a few of us who have learned Git via Magit
> and for which we are grateful to Jonas and the Magit contributors.

Let me first say, I am not against making Magit a GNU project, in
contrary. But I think Magit would never have gotten such a vibrant
community if the project was hosted on Savannah, rather than on GitHub.

Having a more /modern development platform/, like GitHub/GitLab/Gitea/...,
makes it much easier for new contributors to participate on a project.

So making a project an official GNU project is two-fold. All the legal
paperwork would be in order for all contributors, but I seriously doubt
the Magit project would ever have reach anything close to the current
207 contributors.

I know this discussion has been raised several times before, but I
really would like to see GNU/FSF to adopt a more modern platform.


-- Toon

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Re: In support of Jonas Bernoulli's Magit

Ted Zlatanov
In reply to this post by Glenn Morris-3
On Wed, 05 Jul 2017 21:50:23 -0400 Glenn Morris <[hidden email]> wrote:

GM> Richard Stallman wrote:
>> We have a problem in Emacs: it doesn't contain a good interface to
>> git.

GM> I get on just fine with Emacs VC and git. It enables me to do just what
GM> I did with other VCS in Emacs, and I appreciate the uniformity of
GM> interface. Obviously, many people prefer a more featureful interface to
GM> git's many bells and whistles, and that's fine. But IMO your statement
GM> is an exaggeration.

Agreed. Magit in particular adds a steep learning curve to Git's. It's
good software and fun to use, but it's definitely not a good *general*
interface (which I'm assuming RMS meant).

Ted


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Re: In support of Jonas Bernoulli's Magit

Kaushal Modi
On Thu, Jul 6, 2017 at 10:12 AM Ted Zlatanov <[hidden email]> wrote:
Agreed. Magit in particular adds a steep learning curve to Git's.

I felt just the contrary. I would have never used hunk-based staging, cherry-picking, interactive rebasing (re-ordering, squashing, amending commits older than HEAD, etc) had I not come across Magit.

(It's so convenient that I can commit stuff to Org mode repo using Magit on my phone as ssh port is blocked at work.)
 
It's
good software and fun to use, but it's definitely not a good *general*
interface (which I'm assuming RMS meant).
--

Kaushal Modi

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Re: In support of Jonas Bernoulli's Magit

Phillip Lord-3
In reply to this post by Richard Stallman
Richard Stallman <[hidden email]> writes:

> [[[ 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. ]]]
>
>   > I'm afraid that you guys are missing the point. This has no relation
>   > with the maintainer of Magit, but with the fact that Magit cannot be
>   > distributed with Emacs.
>
> You've hit the nail on the head.  I am not saying anything either good
> or bad about Magit as such, because that's not the issue here.
>
> We have a problem in Emacs: it doesn't contain a good interface to
> git.  People often recommend something that is not in Emacs.  That's
> not a good situation.  I want to fix it.
>
> In principle, we could fix it with Magit.  I would be very glad if we
> did.  That would require tracking down lots of people and convincing
> them to sign the legal papers, and maybe replacing some pieces of code
> whose authors didn't sign.
>
> A year ago, more or less, I asked people if we could do this and I was
> told it was impossible.


It is not impossible, just difficult and time-consuming. I would relate
my experiences with getting copyright assignment for dash (33
contributors vs 200, no dependencies vs 4 dependencies).

Almost everybody I asked about copyright assignment said yes. Those who
did not just did not reply and have disappeared from the web. I
contacted everybody through their emails in git. I had to write out one
function, of about 14 lines.

The problem is that the process is currently blind. I email all the
developers, but I can't tell who already has assignment. Those who do
not, I email information to, but then cannot tell who has sent the
request forms out. Then I email again, to see whether they have
assignment forms, because I get no notification when the process has
completed. Copyright assignment is, per se, a big slow down. But, with
the FSF process, it's even harder. I know that some people can see the
assignments, but AFAICT, there is not notification of when this changes.

Installing some kind of ticket system, and a method for letting people
declare whether they have assignment already would be an enormous help.

As it stood, I think, dash.el took 4 months, because of the necessity
for the to-ing and fro-ing. dash.el in ELPA is now several versions
behind, because it's has some new contributors since, and I haven't been
able to get the energy up to start the process again. We also now have
seq.el, most of whose functionality is covered by dash; an unfortunate
and unnecessary duplication.

The FSF has a donations drive every year. Can you not spend some of that
on making the process easier? Even a public website showing people with
assignment (who are willing to be public) would help. And, another
copyright assignment clerk who can help with the process of emailing
everyone in a project like magit.

After that, getting magit into Emacs or ELPA might be less impossible
after all.

Phil




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