Robert Goldman rpgoldman at
Mon Apr 9 21:23:40 UTC 2018

I think Xach and I are trying to cope with essentially the same problem: 
lack of resources for a community project.

On the one hand, Xach wants to stick with and old ASDF because it's a 
lot of trouble to maintain it, and he's afraid of breakage.

OTOH, we don't have the resources to maintain backwards-compatibility in 
ASDF (though we try not to break things gratuitously).  Keeping ancient 
unmaintained software running at the cost of introducing complexity into 
ASDF is something I simply can't do (when I transfer maintenance to 
Microsoft, they'll have that covered!).

Faré has worked heroically (with admirable assistance from Anton 
Vodonosv) to keep from breaking libraries and offering patches, but at 
the end of the day, if there's no one available to merge patches into 
new releases of libraries, that can't be a reason to veto introduction 
of a fix into ASDF.  If there's no one available to change `foo-test` 
into `foo/test` in `crusty-library.asd` that's not really our fault (and 
really, should people be using `crusty-library.asd` if there isn't?). 
Naturally, that has the potential to make Xach's life miserable.  It's 
not my fault or his.

When there's stuff like `crusty-library` out there, there will be a 
certain amount of misery to be had, and there will always be a tension 
between QL and ASDF about who gets to enjoy it.

I wish that I could coordinate more effectively with Xach, but I really 
don't know what I can do to make this work better.


On 9 Apr 2018, at 12:13, Faré wrote:

> On Mon, Apr 9, 2018 at 12:22 PM, Robert Goldman <rpgoldman at> 
> wrote:
>> On 9 Apr 2018, at 11:17, Attila Lendvai wrote:
>>>> A cheesy fix would simply be to wrap it in IGNORE-ERRORS. But it 
>>>> might
>>>> cause
>>>> errors in its present form.
>>> i've learned, painfully, that indiscriminate ignore-errors will 
>>> almost
>>> always bite you back (in the form of wasted debugging time), no 
>>> matter
>>> how innocent they look.
>>>> This really is more a QL issue than an ASDF one (although it 
>>>> illustrates
>>>> an
>>>> issue with wrapping errors, IMO).
>>> while this is true, the implementation of QL requires a reliable way
>>> to hook into the internal state of various versions of ASDF (namely,
>>> into the situation when ASDF is looking for a system, and not 
>>> finding
>>> it will lead to an error without QL intervention). if i understand 
>>> it
>>> correctly, this is the crux of this issue.
>> Sure, and I am happy to try to support this, but not to the extent of
>> recovering a copy of ASDF 2.x and trying to run it.
>> The problem is that I don't know when the missing component condition 
>> was
>> added to ASDF, and doing this right would involve checking the 
>> enclosed
>> condition to see if it's a missing component error.  I know how to do 
>> that
>> for a modern ASDF, but I don't know how to handle ASDFs that are too 
>> old to
>> have this condition class.  And I don't fee like it's my job to think 
>> about
>> that: I think it's perverse to continue trying to use ASDF 2.
> ASDF 2.26 is totally unsupported at this point. No implementation uses
> anything less than 3.1.2 (the first stable release in the 3.1 series,
> from May 2014). Many essential packages require 3.1.x or later. It is
> a waste of time to try to get 2.26 running
> If Quicklisp wants to be conservative, I would recommend requiring ior
> providing ASDF 3.1.7, which is the last in the 3.1 series and pretty
> stable, from March 2016, which is two years ago.
> The "official" policy of ASDF was always to not support anything that
> had already been superseded 2 years ago or more. 3.1.7 should be the
> oldest supported ASDF release.
> That said, what my opinions seem to be negatively taken into account
> by Xach, so there.
> —♯ƒ • François-René ÐVB Rideau •Reflection&Cybernethics• 
> Evolution competitively selects stable cooperative patterns.
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