[darcs-users] Poll: Do you need to be able to build darcs from source on GHC 6.6?

Trent W. Buck trentbuck at gmail.com
Wed Oct 29 01:11:22 UTC 2008

On Tue, Oct 28, 2008 at 05:27:11PM -0700, Jason Dagit wrote:
>> There is backports.org for cases where you want to cherry-pick a
>> handful of packages for which stability is less important than
>> newness.  Of course, GHC 6.8 isn't on backports.org at present.
>> That means either it's non-trivial to backport, or nobody has
>> volunteered the time.
> What is the cost/benefit for providing a backport?  Suppose we
> wanted to provide a backport so that we could drop a dependency on
> old software.

To my mind, the benefit is negligible, because:

  Then we still have OpenBSD users.

means we can't drop GHC 6.6 support.  Also, note that Lenny has 6.8,
and it is scheduled to become stable Real Soon Now.

> Could we realistically tell users to get an update from the
> backport?

If we're going to the trouble, it would probably be better to just
provide a backport of darcs itself on backports.org.

> I think we don't have a realistic solution other than to deal with
> the maintenance burden of supporting antique software.

It's not our (the darcs community) burden.  It's the burden of the
distributions that choose to maintain a stable release.

I don't mean we should "do a Mozilla" and send a big "hey, fuck you"
message to Debian, but I really don't think we need to do more than
make sure that Darcs' code is reasonably portable, reasonably
straightforward, and avoid introducing *gratuitous* incompatibilities
with legacy compiler/library releases.

> Thus I think the version/upgrade matrix is handy so we can
> plan/schedule when it is safe to drop support.

In an ideal world, we just make sure it builds with the latest tools,
and let the users of stable distros worry about telling us if it
breaks against whatever versions they care about.

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