[gambit-list] The future of Gambit

Marc Feeley feeley at iro.umontreal.ca
Wed Jan 14 10:27:14 EST 2009

Brad, as you know writing good documentation is not a simple matter...  
it takes time and considerable effort (at least for me) to write  
something that is correct and readable.  My experience is that few  
people actually read documentation anymore, so the incentive is low.   
There are still some important features of Gambit that are not  
documented in the user manual.  The reason is simply that the time I  
can devote to Gambit is mostly spent adding features that users  
request, fixing bugs, evolving the system, simplifying distribution,  
setting up and maintaining the wiki, mailing list and source code  
repository, etc.  Internal documentation is not on the critical path!

I agree that it would help if more people were involved in sharing  
this workload.  I do not believe the best place for (most) people to  
contribute is modifying the source code.  I am ready to put more work  
into documenting the code and its organisation to make it easier to  
contribute to the code, but the time I can put on this will greatly  
increase if people can also take on some other tasks.

One thing that might also help is to have one or more experimental  
branches on the source code repository in addition to the master  
branch.  The experimental branches would be under the control of  
individuals or groups of developers with a specific interest.  When a  
feature has matured on an experimental branch it could be merged with  
the master branch.


On 28-Dec-08, at 9:16 PM, Bradley Lucier wrote:

> I've had a draft e-mail sitting in an IMAP folder for about 8 months
> with the subject line "The future of Gambit", but with an empty
> body.  Today I still don't know precisely what to put into this body,
> but at least I found a blog entry that explains a bit of my feelings.
> I'm not exactly thrilled about the level of "outside" participation
> in (core) Gambit development.  In fact, graphing the Gambit git
> commit log would be a parody of the argument in
> http://www.gnome.org/~michael/blog/ooo-commit-stats-2008.html
> that the lack of non-Sun developers working on OpenOffice.org is an
> indicator that it is not a healthy project.  For there is only one
> committer to Gambit, and the best that can be said about getting
> other developers to develop code for Gambit is that a very few times
> Marc has committed code he hasn't written himself.
> I've studied the Gambit source code a bit, and even made some
> contributions over the years, but Marc's programming style is
> something I have not seen elsewhere---highly macroized and layered,
> there are patterns in the coding techniques but not ones that I've
> been able to unravel in general.    Perhaps one way to help new
> developers get into Gambit would be fore Marc to take a subsystem and
> write down an explanation of how the macros and layers of code for
> types, exceptions, constructors, functions, ... of that subsystem
> work.  (Christian Jaeger seems to have had some success in doing
> this, but it would be good to have an explanation of how Marc sees
> the construction of subsystems of the runtime.)  Just to get an idea
> of Marc's programming style would allow others to divine more easily
> the structure of the code.
> And happy holidays to everyone!
> Brad
> _______________________________________________
> Gambit-list mailing list
> Gambit-list at iro.umontreal.ca
> https://webmail.iro.umontreal.ca/mailman/listinfo/gambit-list

More information about the Gambit-list mailing list