[darcs-users] new darcs maintainer: Guillaume Hoffmann

David Leuschner david.leuschner at gmail.com
Mon Oct 26 15:04:42 UTC 2015

Hi Guillaume,

thank you very much for dedicating so much time to Darcs!   As you probably
know, we at factis research use Darcs for all of our projects since about
2006.  Stefan and I are very happy with Darcs and since we have rebase
there are no major shortcomings.  Still it becomes constantly harder for us
to justify the decision to use Darcs in front of our younger and newer
colleagues, who have been using Git previously.
At the moment I don't really know what to expect from Darcs.  The Darcs
development team is passionate and highly competent but very small.  I also
don't know what the direction will be.  What are the major improvements
you'd all like to work on?

>From the top of my head the perceived shortcomings of previous Git users are
- switching branches is not possible within the same directory (keeping the
directory is important because build products can be reused)
- there's no way to group patches ("feature branches") to be able to treat
them as a unit (for pulling/applying/suspending)
- there's no way to see at which time and by whom a patch has been applied
to a repository
- it's not as easy to refer to a specific state of the repository using a
- when merging conflicts it's difficult to understand which part of the
marked conflict belongs to which patch

Other frequent questions and wishes include
- Why can't I push to and pull from a repository with a rebase in progress?
- Why do I have to record all my changes before unsuspending a (unrelated)
- I'd like to explicitly swap to patches without having to suspend one,
obliterate the other, unsupend the first, reapply the other
- I'd like to undo unsuspending a patch
- I'd like to amend-record a patch that other patches depend on (without
having to suspend, amend-record, unsuspend)

Thank's for taking on maintainership!  We're always looking forward to the
next release!



2015-10-08 20:36 GMT+02:00 Guillaume Hoffmann <guillaumh at gmail.com>:

> Hi everyone,
> I guess I should say a few words about this :-)
> First I'd like to thank Eric for his work as a maintainer for 7 years,
> and hope he'll stick around!
> For the observers that might wonder what is going to change for the
> Darcs project, the answer is: not much.
> Ever since I started participating to Darcs (2009, my first sprint
> attendance :,-) ), I found the project to be very collaborative and
> consensus-lead. Anyone is welcome to send patches, code reviews are
> public and are a great opportunity to learn about Darcs' codebase;
> release management duties have been shared between several members over
> time; coding sprints are open for participation, and indeed, every time
> we have a few non-darcsers visiting us and helping. I am very happy
> with these aspects of Darcs as a free software project, and Eric ensured
> all of this happened over the years.
> So, things will continue as before!
> As for Darcs the software, how is it going to evolve? I cannot answer
> this question alone for the long term. What I can say, is that in the
> past I sometimes found Darcs' evolution as being a little too slow and
> conservative. We lost valuable energy and focus in decisions which did
> not pay off eventually. On some topics we did not reach any conclusion
> and sticked to the status quo. My guess is that this drove a few hackers
> to stop contributing, while the users also left anyway!
> I don't mean that we're going to break everything just to make us
> developers happy. The very nature of Darcs leads us to be conservative:
> Darcs is not just a software but also a data format (Darcs repositories)
> which we don't want to change unless we have a *really* good reason
> to do so. Also, Darcs handles other people's data, so we want it to be
> safe and predictable. On the other hand, I think we should really commit
> to the transitions we set ourselves to do, and remember that developer
> energy is a scarce resource.
> Now for the short term, what is going to happen? We had a big 2.10
> release last April, 3 years after 2.8. It included a lot of new stuff,
> which made us very happy; but the release process was consequently
> quite long. I'd like the next release to happen sooner and I propose
> myself to take care of it for a second time. The release process will
> start after the GHC 8 release and the next sprint, which means February.
> Happy hacking!
> Guillaume
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> darcs-users at darcs.net
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