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A new maintainer for DDD

From: Peter Wainwright
Subject: A new maintainer for DDD
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2008 20:16:17 +0100

Greetings to the DDD community.

As you know, Jose Maria has had to retire from the maintainership to
make time for other things.  I am glad that he has agreed that I should
take over.

My current day job is in bioelectromagnetics, simulating the interaction
of electromagnetic fields with humans.  This has required me to develop
programs in Fortran, C and C++ on linux workstations and clusters.
These never seem to work first time - hence I was grateful to discover

At the moment, my own efforts are directed towards developing a new GTK
interface to replace the venerable Motif front end of DDD.  I hope to
have some working "alpha" code available early in 2009.  Beyond this
cosmetic change, however, I have various items on my "wishlist".

As Rocky Bernstein recently pointed out on the DDD list, there are a
number of gdb-like debuggers for other languages (zsh, ksh, ruby...),
but it is not as easy as it should be to interface these with DDD.  The
present interface to the inferior debuggers involves multiple switch
statements (case BASH, case DBX, case GDB...) scattered through the
code.  It would be helpful to have a more modular approach to this so
that we could add new languages more easily.

One thing which would make my life much easier would be support for
multi-thread/multi-process debugging such as I believe is offered by the
commercial product TotalView. I've recently had to debug MPI programs
which I have done with multiple instances of DDD - It's not pretty. A
multi-process DDD would I think be be a useful (and ambitious) project.

However, little can be achieved without a fresh influx of talent to the
project. In order to attract new developers it will be necessary to have
some challenging yet attainable targets. Few people are willing to sign
up just for bug-fixing. So, I'd like to canvas additional ideas from
users on the list, as well as asking for volunteers!

There are still bugs in DDD, so bug-fixing should continue (what is the
Latin for "who will debug the debugger"?). The current releases of DDD
direct users to the bug-ddd mailing list. However, due to the severe
lack of manpower many bugs cannot be fixed immediately, and after a
while are forgotten. On the new official site at Savannah, we have a
modern bug-tracker http://savannah.gnu.org/bugs/?group=ddd
and I would suggest that this is a better place to record issues so they
can have a more permanent existence.

Various enhancements to DDD have been implemented since the last release
in 2005. To consolidate these, a new release is needed. There have been
various 3.3.12-testx releases (test6 being the most recent), but the big
3.3.12 was never actually released. I shall be looking into this in the
next few months...

Best wishes,
Peter Wainwright

P.S. Unfortunately "Peter Wainwright" is not a globally unique
identifier. Just to clarify, I'm not the author of "Pro Perl", "Pro
Apache" etc.

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