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72177Vim development process is utterly broken (Was: Re: [patch] test98 stops when using gvim)

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  • Lech Lorens
    Jul 14, 2013
      On 14-Jul-2013 Bram Moolenaar <Bram@...> wrote:
      > Ken Takata wrote:
      > > When I run the test 98 with gvim, it stops at the last line of test98a.in.
      > >
      > > > call feedkeys(":setl scb\n\<C-w>\<C-w>", 't')
      > >
      > > It seems that feedkeys() works different on CUI and GUI.
      > > I don't know why the difference occurs, but using feedkeys()
      > > is not necessary for this test. I think using "setl scb" and
      > > "wincmd w" is enough.
      > > Please check the attached patch.
      > Thanks. I also have no clue why feedkeys() was used here.

      Ken: sorry for including you here, even thought only a tiny bit is
      a reply for you.

      I have been thinking about writing this email for at least a year now.
      This patch is the straw that breaks the camel's back, so here it comes.

      feedkeys() is essential there.
      Try re-running the test without the fix that was introduced along with
      the test. Magic: the test succeeds even without the fix!
      It took 9 days for the fix to be accepted for inclusion because you,
      Bram, asked for a working test (one that would fail without the fix).
      Now it takes 40 minutes (!!!) to have a patch included that breaks the
      test and makes all my effort (I wrote how I needed to use gdb to come up
      with a method that would reproduce the problem in a script) go to
      a waste.

      I know, my bad for not putting in a comment, but the patches are
      micromanaged to the point that the name of the file test96extra.in gets
      renamed to test98a.in yet the very point of tests gets lost after only
      4 days (!!!) since inclusion! That's less time than it took me to
      prepare the bloody test!

      Bram, don't get offended, I actually do hope that one day I will become as
      competent a programmer as you are, but still I think Vim's development
      process is severely broken:
      - the single point of failure (Bram),
      - how the decision what gets included is made with the community totally
      - we don't have a development branch of Vim because we want stability.
      Therefore the unaware users are without a single warning presented
      with 7.3.970 which breaks half of syntax scripts, makes the rest 10
      times slower, breaks regular expressions and introduces random
      crashes. Only after a number of patches and becoming stable is the
      only branch renamed to 7.4 alpha!
      - we manage patches as files (as opposed to the distributed VCS way:
      pull requests) because it allegedly "just works". Yet there was
      a spell of a few weeks where every single week there was at least one
      patch which was either applied twice, applied only partly or applied
      to a wrong part of code. How can it "just work" if it so obviously
      doesn't work?

      All this means that a lot of effort of developers goes to a waste:
      - because Bram can't (how could he possibly? He's a man: he needs to
      eat, to sleep and to rest) evaluate all the possible patches and they
      are added to the mythical todo.txt which means their changes of
      getting included drop to almost 0,
      - even though a patch got to todo.txt (and therefore will not be
      included) people still work on it because they believe it will,
      - people prepare a patch to fix something, a fix is published but the
      solution has been totally rewritten; not a single word of explanation
      is given,
      - people prepare a patch, it gets included but for some reason the bug
      doesn't go away. I recently had to re-debug Vim after my fix got
      included only to discover that a line from my patch was not included.
      The funny thing was that I did include a test and this single stable
      branch of Vim was published with a failing test.

      For some reason how people waste their time is OK because they volunteer
      to waste their time, they are the guilty ones. But it also means that
      Bram's time gets wasted:
      - he needs to update todo.txt,
      - he won't explain what was wrong with a patch so people will submit
      those incorrect patches which Bram will have to rewrite,
      - he needs to fix the problems with the mis-applied patches.

      I used the pronoun "we" to mean "community" but the sorry state of Vim
      development community is that IT DOES NOT EXIST. "Community" implies
      a N-to-M relation between its members where N,M > 1. Here it's
      a one-to-many relation between Bram and multiple patch submitters
      because Bram has to evaluate every single patch. This means there's very
      little incentive to examine each other's work (I will check your patch,
      this way you will be more likely to check mine). That's why these
      I-would-appreciate-it-if-some-people-tried-it-out emails from Bram get
      so little response (and because people know that their work might go to
      a waste). People work to scratch their own itches; there's no point in
      scratching the itches of others.

      I could write more but I think there's no point – this already got quite
      long. I believe these things drive people away from Vim development or
      make them one-time contributors. There used to be a nice small community
      of contributors to vim-extended. We produced a number of stable, well
      tested (we – as in more than an I – used them on daily basis!) features,
      most of which got abandoned (because there was no change of them going
      into mainline Vim. Instead the (still buggy) conceal feature got
      included because someone convinced Bram it would be nice to be able turn
      a text editor into e.g. a web browser. Some bugs simply got renamed as
      features and everyone's happy.

      I don't know why I'm writing this. I don't hope this email will change
      anything. I *AM SORRY* and perhaps I believe that sharing will somehow
      help me. I am a contributor of around 50-100 patches to Vim, I've been
      here for 5 years and I don't feel I'm being taken seriously. I know
      there are many others that will come and replace me, people whose work
      could replace what I have done (I have seen one of the issues in
      todo.txt solved 3 times before it got removed from todo.txt) but this
      doesn't make it any less wrong. I don't deserve it. And I don't deserve
      to have this email ignored.

      Lech Lorens

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