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Re: [Nmh-workers] nmh @ gsoc?

From: Ken Hornstein
Subject: Re: [Nmh-workers] nmh @ gsoc?
Date: Mon, 25 Jan 2010 15:38:59 -0500

>On an daily basis I'm using large swathes of code that haven't been 
>touched in years, or even a decade. They stopped developing it because it 
>works. Even five or ten years later.

I've seen this in some cases ... but many times it's rather special-purpose
code.  I don't see it that much in what I would call "system utilities",
because those depend on features supplied by the operating system, and
those DO move (hardware changes, operating system bugs force upgrades, et
cetera).  You want to have some fun?  Try compiling the original MH on
a modern operating system.

>I have wrestled with this one for years. By adding a VOP-like interface to 
>the message store you could have two storage backends -- the native file 
>store, and IMAP. But the pile-on will start immediately, and in no time 
>we're dragging around 15 different storage backends, each with their own 
>little quirks that need little tweaks to various MH commands, leading to 
>the inevitable mess of conditional code, and the complete loss of the 
>elegance and symmetry of what's there now.

Do you honestly think that if someone writes an IMAP message store,
there will be a "pile on" of additional message stores?  I CANNOT see
that happening.  We do not have an active developer community; that is
simply a fact.  Most of the code is contributed by a half-dozen
people, and is mostly driven by their needs.  I cannot see those people
each writing their own message store; to suggest otherwise is simply
crazy.  Notice that everyone who posted their wishlist included better
MIME handling for replies in nmh; has this code been written?  Nope.

To return to the original point - I would be willing to ask the NetBSD
Foundation (I'm a NetBSD developer) if they would be willing to be a
sponsor organization for nmh, and do the leg work to make that happen.
This means that they would get a small cut of the Google SoC stipend.
If someone else wants to do the leg work for nmh directly (and get
the stipend cut), then I have no objection.  Last year the "mentoring
organization" for Google SoC projects received $500; I think anyone
doing the SoC legwork for nmh deserves that money.


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