[slime-devel] Re: SLIME Committers

Cyrus Harmon ch-slime at bobobeach.com
Thu Nov 23 19:12:25 UTC 2006

One of my main reservations about darcs is that slime is such an  
important part of a modern lisp environment, and it has a tendency to  
avoid releases, rather relying on the latest version from the  
repository to serve as the "version to be used", that putting the  
canonical version in darcs is likely to cause a decent number of  
users to stay away from it because 1) they don't have darcs or 2)  
they don't know or understand darcs. I would imagine there are still  
a reasonable number of platforms for which darcs doesn't exist yet.  
Telling first time lisp users (who, IMHO, should be using slime) to  
go find a haskell compiler and to build darcs seems a bit rough.  
Perhaps lisp-boxes could be built with darcs, etc... for various  
platforms, but I think sticking to a more "mainstream" repository  
like CVS or SVN is going to help with the ongoing adoption of slime.

Of course I have no data to back up my claims and this is all  
speculation, but I think it's worth considering. I would also claim  
that while darcs has some nice bells and whistles, the status quo  
works reasonably well and most folks have figured out how to deal  
with the trees to create small, manageable patches for inclusion into  
the try. Educating the developer base to do so without requiring  
darcs is probably going to require an overall lesser amount of work  
than trying to convince new users to use darcs (or moving to a more  
release-oriented distribution model).


On Nov 23, 2006, at 1:53 AM, Christian Lynbech wrote:

> I would like to warn that darcs has some definite performance
> problems, allthough slime is so small that it is unlikely to be a
> problem.
> After having sufficiently tired with CVS, I went on a quest to find a
> more moderne replacement. I arrived, at darcs after an uneasy period
> using TLA/Arch, following a number of excited reviews in the lisp
> community.
> However, I have twice (with different projects) experienced that
> merging between repositories stopped working. Darcs uses some hairy
> lazy-evaluation analysis of the complete patch combination graph to
> determine dependencies and this is what broke, I think. In one
> instance it just kept on working, and after 23 hours I lost patience
> and gave up, whether it was due to an endless loop in the code or a
> combinatorial explosion in the data I shall not say, but work it did
> not.
> In fairness, one example was my homediretory where I keep dot files
> under revision control to exercise control and to enable safe moving
> of information between my various accounts. It is rather impressive
> how many files and directories that accumulates in ones homedir over
> time, so this was clearly putting some stress on darcs. The other
> exmple involved a number of binary files which may have contributed to
> the problem.
> As I said, I do not think that slime is in any direct peril but those
> experiences made it hard for me to trust darcs, all its other nice
> features aside.
> I am now a happy subversion user. One of the strong points for
> subversion in my book is that it is developed by some of the old CVS
> notabilities.
> ------------------------ 
> +-----------------------------------------------------
> Christian Lynbech       | christian #\@ defun #\. dk
> ------------------------ 
> +-----------------------------------------------------
> Hit the philistines three times over the head with the Elisp  
> reference manual.
>                                         - petonic at hal.com (Michael  
> A. Petonic)
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