[asdf-devel] Alternate default lisp system location

Robert P. Goldman rpgoldman at sift.info
Thu Mar 13 16:34:33 UTC 2014

Stelian Ionescu wrote:
> On Wed, 2014-03-12 at 23:30 -0400, Daniel Herring wrote:
>> On Wed, 12 Mar 2014, Faré wrote:
>>> Major changes like that happen less than once a year (ASDF 2 in 2010,
>>> ASDF 3 in 2013, ASDF 3.1 soon in 2014), and while
>>> backward-compatibility has always been a huge priority, improvements
>>> sometimes do mean the recommended way of using ASDF changes, for the
>>> better.
>> For essential infrastructure like what ASDF claims to be, I expect major 
>> changes to happen less than once every 5 to 10 years.
> You can expect whatever you want, but unless somebody is paid full-time
> to work on ASDF, it's not going to happen.

Agreed.  Tell me: am I to piss our contributors off by refusing to
accept their patches, in order to make happy the people who contribute
only complaints?  New features may simply be the price users pay to have
bugs getting fixed.

>> The more backwards compatibility, the better.  Projects like glibc
>> have developed significant infrastructure to enable transparent
>> improvements (see the ABI compliance checker, DSO symbol versioning,
>> etc.).
> See above. That kind of backwards-compatibility is very difficult and
> burdensome.

We spend a great deal of time maintaining backwards compatibility.
Consider how much work was spent making the bug-fix coming from
PREPARE-OP from breaking previous OPERATION subclasses.  Similarly, as
someone who still uses ASDF:*CENTRAL-REGISTRY*, maintaining that is
substantial backwards compatibility.

I find this complaint to be quite unfair considering what actually goes
on in the maintenance of ASDF.

>> Every breaking change inflicts cost on a fraction of the existing 
>> userbase, in exchange for some proposed benefit to future users.  Every 
>> time I have to debug breakage and change something or redesign my workflow 
>> to maintain existing capability, it encourages me to explore other, more 
>> stable or better designed options...
>> Sometimes "good ideas" fade after a month or two of reflection.  Some 
>> survive the test because the benefit truly outweighs the cost.  When that 
>> is the case, it is often helps to give the community time to prepare and 
>> minimize the number of times the community must change.  So propose the 
>> change, allow a long RFC window, allow users to obtain test 
>> implementations (while still promoting the stable branch), wait a while 
>> for several changes to collect before pushing them into major new 
>> releases, etc.
> I agree that an RFC-like process would be useful, instead of jumping in
> and implementing new features, as long as it's not too lengthy.

It has, in fact, been a long time since ASDF's last release, October
2013.  During that time, there have been a very large number of tagged
versions available to the community.

I don't think that this community can afford the time, nor can it muster
the interest, to deal with such an RFC process.

Furthermore, I don't find people stumbling over each other to install
ASDF prereleases from git and report bugs they find.  So who exactly is
going to be participating in this RFC process?  And who is going to be
testing these prereleases?  We have quite a small community of testers,
to whom I am very, very grateful.

Yours sincerely,

More information about the asdf-devel mailing list