Peter, Joerg, Keiron, Jeremias, others,

I don't currently do more than monitor the Fop lists, and if I see a
question that pertains to something I wrote, then I'll try to answer it.
Since I have not been directly involved with the project for a year, it's
not my place to offer opinions on how people should dispose of their time,
or how they should direct their energies.

Real-life circumstances sidelined me just about the same time we decided to
go with a rewrite. I still support that decision for a rewrite. By the time
I got back into open-source (and I was away from it for about 6 months),
Keiron and Karen were well underway, I no longer had a handle on what they
were doing, and in any case too many cooks spoil the broth, so I scratched
the itch by striking out with a fork, of sorts. Not really, though - I think
the underlying design ideas are very similar - it's just the implementation
language that differs. And I've been involved with that for 7 months -
anyone who has been following that project knows how much effort has gone
into it.

I feel it important to point this out - I haven't abandoned Fop by any
means, I still keep tabs, it's just that I unavoidably dropped off the
cutting edge mainstream, and am now no longer on it. And now I have other
commitments. But I have a strong allegiance to Fop, and I'd like to ensure
that it stays on track. If I can somehow get back into occasional
contributions to the rewrite, I'd like to do that, too.

I say "occasional" because that's the reality of it at the moment. I have
other things going on right now. I had my day, and now it's time for others,
and I see people stepping up to the plate. James Tauber was not
indispensable, Fotis Jannidis was not indispensable, I am clearly not
indispensable - you get the drift. :-) Peter is involved, Joerg is involved,
Jeremias is involved, Bertrand is involved, Christian is a workhorse (:-)),
and we have solid developers and contributors - Rhett Aultman, Oleg
Tkachenko, Chuck Paussa, etc etc.

_And_ we are screwing up because we have _one_ guy - Keiron - doing what is
the most important, core work to ensure that Fop stays viable. Karen is busy
with real work - period. This happens. So it's Keiron doing the whole thing.
And this is obviously not working very well.

I've kept tabs on what Joerg has been doing - user support, coding, upcoming
plans - and I am very impressed. Problem being, and Peter is right on the
money, we've got a lot of effort going into the maintenance branch - high
quality effort, mind you - and this strikes me as being inefficient.

Joerg, you clearly have a thorough understanding of the spec and the
maintenance codebase. What stops you from helping out Keiron? I'm genuinely
curious. All we need is one other person. We need to freeze
development/feature work on the maintenance branch - that's my humble
opinion. At a minimum we need a full and frank exchange of opinions as to
what our priorities ought to be.

If the committers, OTOH, feel that the maintenance branch can be
resuscitated, we need to decide this. I've already seen from what Joerg is
doing that this may not be as impossible as I originally thought. But we
need to have a pow-wow and make a hard decision.

Maybe I am the wrong person to be saying this right now - because I am not
currently involved - and maybe I am the right person - because I am not
currently involved. In any case, it is said, and I hope we get some good
discussion going. Peter, thanks, you started it off.

I wouldn't be saying anything at all if I didn't still really care about


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Peter B. West [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]]
> Sent: August 2, 2002 10:18 PM
> Subject: Redesign vs. maintenance branch
> Joerg,
> I've agreed before with the importance of incremental improvements to
> the existing base.  However, Keiron has been the strongest supporter
> here of the principle of working from the existing base.  His work on
> the redesign is based, I believe, on his understanding of the existing
> design, his (and others') efforts to fix the problems over a long
> period, and his (and others') reluctant conclusion that some new design
> paradigms were necessary.
> Do you believe Keiron's understanding to be false?  Do you believe that
> the same result can be achieved by incremental improvements?  If so, you
> may ignore the redesign efforts in good conscience.  If your conclusions
> are not so radical, then it seems to me that, when making major changes
> to production, you ought to make all reasonable attempts to keep changes
> in the production branch in sync with the redesign.  Your comment about
> the worrisome things that are still in the redesign underlines this.
> Evidently, that means more work.  But before the redesign goes live,
> those changes are going to have to be made anyway, and that work will be
> particularly onerous if it has to happen all at once, rather than
> piecemeal by the person who writes the changes.
> Given all of the above, "stealing" code from the unfinished redesign for
> the maintenance branch, to quote Jeremias, would be essential to make
> synchronisation in the other direction feasible.
> Peter
> P.S. As it happens, I agree that HEAD should represent the production
> code, and that development should take place on a branch.  In this case,
> though, it would probably just facilitate the isolation of the redesign.
> J.Pietschmann wrote:
> > Jeremias Maerki wrote:
> >
> >> I'm not so happy about this one. I know I'm also guilty of doing more
> >> work for the maintenance branch than for the redesign, but "stealing"
> >> code from the unfinished redesign for the maintenance branch
> seems to me
> >> like starting to take its breath away.
> >
> >
> > The problem is that HEAD does not work, and even after
> > Keiron gets som block and layout out of the door, it will
> > be far from ready to release.
> >
> > One thing which particularly bothers me is that much of
> > the odd stuff is still in the redesign. Especially it
> > does not all that much to reduce memory usage, in fact
> > I have the feeling it will substantially *increase* it.
> > I wish this Mark Lillywhite character were still around.
> >
> > While there are other projects fighting with a HEAD
> > representing "new idea" stuff and a branch with "tried
> > technology" for the normal users to check out, IMO it
> > should be the other way around: have always a working
> > version in HEAD, make branches to develop new ideas,
> > and integrate them into HEAD as they mature.
> --
> Peter B. West  [EMAIL PROTECTED]
> "Lord, to whom shall we go?"
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