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GNU is Not Unix Programming

GNU Emacs Switches From CVS To Bazaar 198

Posted by timothy
from the surely-you-need-not-leave-emacs-to-use-bazaar dept.
kfogel writes "GNU Emacs, one of the oldest continuously developed free software projects around, has switched from CVS to Bazaar. Emacs's first recorded version-control commits date from August, 1985. Eight years later, in 1993, it moved to CVS. Sixteen years later, it is switching to Bazaar, its first time in a decentralized version control system. If this pattern holds, GNU Emacs will be in Bazaar for at least thirty-two years ..."
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GNU Emacs Switches From CVS To Bazaar

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  • Why 32? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hezekiah957 (1219288) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @11:21PM (#30567982)
    24 is plausible, too; an arithmetic not geometric progression.
  • by Tumbleweed (3706) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @11:21PM (#30567990)

    You'd think there'd be an emacs keystroke combo to check for duplicate words in a block of text.

  • ObSimpsons (Score:5, Funny)

    by StarDrifter (144026) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @11:28PM (#30568016)

    If this pattern holds, GNU Emacs will be in Bazaar for at least thirty-two years ...

    Disco Stu: Did you know that disco record sales were up 400% for the year ending 1976? If these trends continue... A-y-y-y!

  • News? (Score:3, Funny)

    by TheKidWho (705796) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @11:30PM (#30568034)

    So some young whippersnappers decide to change things around and this is news?

    Get off my lawn!

  • by tchuladdiass (174342) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @11:33PM (#30568052) Homepage

    Wasn't Emacs used as an example of a "Cathedral" project in Raymond's paper?

    • by kfogel (1041) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @11:47PM (#30568122) Homepage

      I can't remember if it was in the paper offhand, but in any case Emacs development is not really very cathedral-y.

    • by jrumney (197329) on Monday December 28, 2009 @01:03AM (#30568412) Homepage
      At the time of Eric Raymond's paper, Emacs development was of the Cathedral style, but that changed with the switch from RCS to CVS and the closed emacs-hackers mailing list to emacs-devel. Compared with other major GNU projects, this switch came quite late, around 1998 (not 1993 as stated in the summary).
    • by CAIMLAS (41445) on Monday December 28, 2009 @01:24AM (#30568498) Homepage

      Oy, too much more of this, and we'll be setting ourselves up for a paradox.

      You've got GNU/Emacs which is the operating system of its own, but runs on the GNU/Linux operating system as well. And it runs on the free proprietary OS. And Emacs is also in bazaar, even though it's based on the cathedral model. But its owner is very, very fond of bazaar (and bizarre, but that's neither there nor certainly here) development, despite not using it, while also using it.

      Basically, we're looking at Emacs as a self-contradiction as things stand. Too much more of this and it's going to just go *poof*.

  • Is, the code for EMACS is written in vi.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 27, 2009 @11:42PM (#30568090)

    I'm waiting for someone to write a Bazaar server that runs inside Emacs. Will Emacs then update itself and become self-aware? That ought to put the Emacs vs. VI debate to rest once and for all.

  • by bcrowell (177657) on Monday December 28, 2009 @12:18AM (#30568256) Homepage

    I started using emacs about 7 years ago, at which point the jokes about its feature creep ("nice OS, just needs a good editor," etc.) were already probably 20 years old. A few years ago I switched to mg, which is an emacs clone that is much more lightweight. The advantage of mg is that it loads immediately, and it has all the features I actually need. So maybe I'm just a curmudgeon, but -- what is currently happening in emacs development? New features? Better performance? Bug fixes? Polishing the brasswork? I'm honestly curious why it can't just go into the same kind of masterpiece-maintenance mode as some of Knuth's projects like Tex.

    As far as bazaar, my impression is that it has had a much lower profile than git, and that its main selling point seems to be that it's supposed to be easier to use than git. Here [canonical.com] is bazaar's explanation of why they think bazaar is good. Here [whygitisbetterthanx.com] is a similar sales job for git. Bazaar is used by ubuntu, sponsored by Canonical, and written in Python. You can get free bazaar-based hosting on Launchpad. Personally I've been happy with git.

    • by melikamp (631205) on Monday December 28, 2009 @12:43AM (#30568350) Homepage Journal

      Two recent features in the stable release are antialiased fonts and the daemon mode (speeds up invocation, but useless for those who never quit and use Emacs for everything). I am a big fan and I cannot stand using anything else when I am coding (C++, Common Lisp, Bash, HTML, LaTeX) or editing plain text (my favorite text format). I love the default integration with gcc and make, and the fact that my ~/.emacs has clever LaTeX bindings, but the main selling point for me is the (fully justified) feeling of total control. I like knowing that I can easily extend the functionality and/or disable any feature I don't like.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      So maybe I'm just a curmudgeon, but -- what is currently happening in emacs development? New features? Better performance? Bug fixes? Polishing the brasswork? I'm honestly curious why it can't just go into the same kind of masterpiece-maintenance mode as some of Knuth's projects like Tex.

      Check out org-mode. It's a fantastical set of code for managing things in emacs. It takes a bit of setting up, but it's very powerful and awesome. It's now included standard in emacs.

    • by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted.slashdot@org> on Monday December 28, 2009 @12:53AM (#30568376)

      As Linus explained, the “easier” argument is gone, since they did put really hard work into git’s user interface. They knew that it was bad. And what was the normal interface back then, is now the low-level interface, with a whole new, nice interface on top. (But you can still use the low-level one, when you need it.)

      Anyway, maybe it’s me, but I don’t see “easy” per se as a advantage. I prefer efficiency. And more often than I like it, easiness seems to mean less efficiency.
      It’s like “Those who give up some efficiency for a little easiness, deserve neither”. ^^
      Of course the same is true for too (pointlessly) complicated interfaces too. (Main examples: Emacs and VI.)

      The problem is, that most programmers seem to see that level of complexity as static. But it has to adapt to the user, over time. Rise when in need, fall when not. Stepless, if possible.
      Instead they think in absolute, black and white, one-dimensional spaces: Either Notepad with Clippy, or Emacs/VM.
      It’s so stupid.

      To me, git is a tool that is pretty nice in that aspect.
      Simple committing and version management for yourself is very easy.
      But if you want to do crazy stuff, like go back 10 versions, patch that one with eight other forks, wrap it, and the next five versions, into one version, and put that thing not only back into your repository, but into that of others too... then it doesn’t leave you in the rain, but gives you the tools to do it.

      • by JanneM (7445) on Monday December 28, 2009 @01:51AM (#30568600) Homepage

        "Anyway, maybe it's me, but I don't see "easy" per se as a advantage. I prefer efficiency. And more often than I like it, easiness seems to mean less efficiency."

        And sometimes it means more.

        The main issue with the interfaces to systems like emacs, or LaTeX or git (the old one; the current interface is not bad) is that they are only really efficient if you use the tools all the time. If you use emacs all day, every day then the interface is probably fine. I constantly use LaTeX and so it's really much more effective for me than a graphical typesetting-type application. If all your software lives in git repos and you work with them most days of the week then it soon becomes second nature.

        But many people don't use their tools every day. I'd say that every single one of us have some tools that we do use and do like, but we simply don't need them every day or even every week. And when you're an occasional user, no matter how "power" you are, the kind of cryptic interfaces these tools have become a hindrance, not a help. The UI is not discoverable - it's not clear how to do things you may want - so when you don't use it all the time you forget how to do even simple, common tasks.

        You end up spending your time searching the web or grep:ing your own shell history to remind yourself how you do stuff, and the efficiency goes straight out the window.

        "So use it more often" isn't an answer. These are tools, not something you use just for their own sake. If you don't need to, say, write a report more than once every three months then you're certainly not going to create the occasional bogus document just so you don't forget how to do things in LaTeX.

        So depending on the task, more than on the user, these interfaces can be a help or a major hindrance.

        • Yes. Absolutely. That was kinda the point I tried to make: The interface has to adapt.
          Even git does not do that. In fact, command line interfaces are very unfriendly in that aspect. Because you don’t know what you want to do, until you know what you can do. Which in this case is hidden in directories with a thousand executables, and man pages that you can only read when you already know the name of the command.

          A good shell would be like a really good RAD programming IDE.

          And a good editor would be both

        • by Haeleth (414428)

          Emacs' UI is very discoverable. It has a menu bar by default these days. And it has online help with a decent index and decent search facilities. And about half a dozen different ways to search for the right command.

          If you want to do X, where X is more complex than simply moving the cursor around and using the clipboard, then it is as easy to find out how to do X in Emacs as in any other editor, and often it is easier.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Whybzrisbetterthanx [github.com] It used to by whybzrisbetterthanx.com, but I guess that domain expired. (I don't necessarily espouse the views of the site, I just find it funny).
    • What Does It Need? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Greyfox (87712) on Monday December 28, 2009 @01:45AM (#30568578) Homepage Journal
      Emacs is Perfect...

      Well not entirely perfect, but I have yet to find a better editor for editing code. I keep my resume as a big lisp data structure which Emacs can use to emit into any markup language I care to write an emitter for (Currently HTML and plain text, but I've been pondering writing a LaTeX one as well.)

      What I'd like to see in Emacs:

      • Threading. Currently everything runs in one big thread, so if you try to do too much processing with elisp the entire editor hangs up. There was a push a while back to replace elisp with Scheme, which would solve this handily, but that effort sort of petered out.
      • Better integration with GUI applications. I want to use Emacs for my editor boxes in Firefox, notably.
      • A better mail client, or better integration with a GUI mail client. Emacs together with Remembrance makes for an awesome mail combo, but every time I've tried to do Email in Emacs, it's been a huge effort to keep it going.

      Ultimately it would be nifty if Emacs could work as well with the GUI components on my desktop as it can with text mode UNIX applications, but I suppose that might be asking too much of it.

      • I keep my resume as a big lisp data structure which Emacs can use to emit into any markup language I care to write an emitter for (Currently HTML and plain text, but I've been pondering writing a LaTeX one as well.)

        Clearly, this guy doesn't have a job yet.

        For me, a paper napkin (it doesn't have to be clean), with whatever I can think of at the top of my head, usually does the job.

      • by Lenbok (22992)

        A better mail client, or better integration with a GUI mail client. Emacs together with Remembrance makes for an awesome mail combo, but every time I've tried to do Email in Emacs, it's been a huge effort to keep it going.

        I find the Wanderlust email client for emacs is pretty damn good - give it a try.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by tyroneking (258793)

        Have you thought of re-booting your Emacs addiction?

        gVim was perfect - I used to write all of my documents in restructured text (gVim addon or rst2pdf to get PDFs) and all my emails with Mutt and Pine.

        One day I switched to Freemind and Open Office for documents and Gmail for email ... so terribly un-geek like, but so much easier.

        Never looked back.

        You should give it a try.

        • by Kidbro (80868)

          Interesting. One of the main reasons why I stick to, in my case Emacs, mutt & similar tools is the extra options storing everything as (more or less) plain text gives me. If I need to search for something in my mail, I can use the standard unix tools for it (vastly superior to gmail's search features). I can easily version control my documents and actually get useful diffs from (as opposed to the uninformative "well, the file changed" you get as a history when putting a binary document in an RCS). In th

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by tyroneking (258793)

            I regret nothing ;) the speed and agility one gains from 'light' but imperfect solutions is far better than the effort required to do anything else.

            Plain text is best of course, but binary formats are easier for dimwit colleagues to understand - and I get paid quicker that way too. We both have problems diff'ing between binary formats so most of the time they don't bother and neither do I - no loss really because most documents have a very limited lifetime (especially when you use LiveLink :). It's kind of

        • One day I switched to Freemind and Open Office for documents and Gmail for email ... so terribly un-geek like, but so much easier.

          I don't care one iota about the "geekiness" of a solution. If Gmail and OO.org works for you and you can get stuff done faster, that's wonderful. Personally, I did look back after I realized I can get so much more done in vim.

      • Perfect? Not quite.

        I've been using Emacs for more than 20 years, and while it is unbeatable as a text editor, it suffers in comparison with modern code editors. For example, it does not have a source browser like visual slickedit does. In fact, the open source world at present does not have a good code browser that can handle C++ or any of the other modern languages. Sorry, cscope does not cut it. Xrefactory comes close, but suffers from its own weirdnesses and is not open source anyway. Even though I am as

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        I want to use Emacs for my editor boxes in Firefox, notably.

        I am doing that right now, via "It's All Text" -plugin to Firefox. The most important FF add-on after Adblock+, IMHO.

    • There's one feature that, as far as I've been able to tell, is not in any of the major version control systems, whether distributed or not. That's good support for directory-based files.

      What I mean by "directory-based files" are documents that are treated as a file by the applications that know about them, and the GUI system, but are actually implemented as a directory. The major example would be MacOS package files. For example, an OmniOutliner document actually consists of a directory with the name of you

    • by Teckla (630646)

      Personally I've been happy with git.

      I love git. Oh, no, I don't actually use it myself. I love watching other people trying to use it. My God, what a usability train wreck git is. And since it's promoted by Linus, lots of people use it blindly. Love it!

    • by Khelder (34398)

      "The advantage of mg is that it loads immediately"

      Loads, loads... Hmmm. What's that? ... Oh, yeah, you mean what you do once every few years when you have to reboot for a kernel or hardware upgrade and then you log in and have to wait 10s or so until emacs fills your screen again? Is that this "load" time you're talking about?

      Anybody who cares how long emacs takes to load isn't using it the Right Way(TM)*.

      [*] Meaning, of course, how I use it.

    • I'm honestly curious why it can't just go into the same kind of masterpiece-maintenance mode as some of Knuth's projects like Tex.

      Honestly, I always thought Knuth was kind of arrogant to ascribe this status to TeX, given that TeX is an absolute nightmare to use on a modern machine.

      A modern TeX distribution is usually a 1.3gb download, doesn't support modern typefaces, and produces some of the most unintelligible error messages I've ever seen. To get other "modern" features (ie. embedding a .png or adding hyperlinks), you have to rely on unofficial extensions to the language.

      There's a lot to like about TeX. I still use it for any lar

  • Why use Bazaar over Git?

  • How bazaar! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Dachannien (617929) on Monday December 28, 2009 @07:03AM (#30569588)

    If this pattern holds, GNU Emacs will be in Bazaar for at least thirty-two years.

    I'm pretty sure Emacs has already been bizarre for at least 32 years.

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