[syslinux] Status of syslinux git master
ady-sf at hotmail.com
Sun Jul 7 14:13:56 PDT 2019
> it looks like the syslinux master branch is broken since February .
> Peter created the wip.makefixes branch but I wasn't able to get it
> working (yet) and it lacks activity since March.
Since you are mentioning it in your email, I would like to bring up a
complication of merging almost anything from the "wip.makefixes" branch
onto the master branch.
One of the things that Peter performed in the "wip.makefixes" branch
was to move around a lot of files. This "shuffling" has a very
important negative consequence, at least at this time. Considering the
lack of active development of the last few years, most Linux
distributions have been picking up patches and workarounds in order to
(barely) "maintain" their Syslinux-related packages. In more than a few
cases, those patches and workarounds are not provided by upstream
Syslinux nor included in the official upstream repositories. Using this
"method", Linux distros are (currently) using very different versions
of Syslinux, from 4.04 onward.
"Shuffling around" files in current git master would imply that prior
patches and workarounds that have been ignored by upstream Syslinux
while embraced by downstream package maintainers would be much harder
to apply in different distros/packages in the future. Moreover, if at
some point someone would decide to pick up Syslinux's development,
proposed patches that are still "awaiting" for some reaction from
upstream Syslinux would be useless after this massive "shuffling" of
files. To be clear, there are more-than-just-a-few of those
previously-ignored proposed patches.
One additional negative aspect of this massive "shuffling" of files is
documentation. For some time now, I've been updating documents in the
wiki, including paths that are mentioned, even in the wikified official
documents. It would be very inconvenient and confusing, for users and
package maintainers alike, to have paths being relevant "from 5.00 to
6.04-pre1" while other, different paths would be relevant "from
Moving around files in such way also complicates things when trying to
track down specific changes, especially when searching for bugs that
were introduced in the code before such shuffling.
If development of Syslinux had been much more active, someone could
claim that this massive "shuffling" of files is necessary in order to
keep the code clean and continue with development of features (and
solving bugs). But in such hypothetical case, Syslinux would be at a
"higher" version number by now, and "active and continuous development"
(together with a "higher" version number) would introduce more "sense"
in the reasoning for this massive shuffling of files. I claim that we
should be more realistic, and there is no sign of "active and
continuous development" in the near future for Syslinux.
I do have comments regarding the current status of git master (which is
either FTBFS or the resulting binaries are not working as expected),
but I'd rather leave them for some future email.
I very much hope (and even "beg") that the massive "shuffling" of files
that is currently seen in the "wip.makefixes" branch is _not_ merged
onto the master branch. I think that the negative consequences are much
greater than the potential benefits at this time.
Thank you and Best Regards,
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