[Lazarus] Is there a separate mailing list for Lazarus developers?

vfclists . vfclists at gmail.com
Sun Jan 5 01:48:26 CET 2014

On 4 January 2014 23:18, Juha Manninen <juha.manninen62 at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Sun, Jan 5, 2014 at 12:26 AM, vfclists . <vfclists at gmail.com> wrote:
> > A lot of Lazarus developments and improvements, whether fully
> implemented or
> > planned go unnoticed and I wonder if this is the reason why.
> What might those unnoticed developments and improvements be?
> I believe this is a misunderstanding or maybe hopeful thinking from your
> side.
> The discussion is about technical details of some piece of code,
> release schedules and maybe organizing transportation for a meeting.
> You would be bored.
> There is no secret agenda about the future of Lazarus that its
> developers try to hide from you.
> The development process is as open as it gets.
> The missing features are well known: Project groups, Android and other
> targets, docking, installing packages from a repository, Unicode, etc
> ...
> The Mantis bug tracker has loads of feature requests, too.
> Everybody agrees those features are needed but somebody actually has
> to do them. Just talking and writing about them would be useless.
> > Is it possible to view their archives or have some kind of read only
> access
> > to it?
> No.
> Besides, I think your time is better used if you learn the Lazarus
> code base and then provide patches.
> And, if you still really REALLY want to read the developers mailing
> list, you must provide so many quality patches that you finally get a
> commit access and get invited to the list.
> I can recommend this route.
> Juha
> --
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> Lazarus mailing list
> Lazarus at lists.lazarus.freepascal.org
> http://lists.lazarus.freepascal.org/mailman/listinfo/lazarus

I have always had this nagging feeling that something wasn't quite right
about Lazarus and this explains it. I have been using Lazarus on and off
for about 4 years now. From the start I don't think I used more the 10% of
what Lazarus offered and in the succeeding 4 years my usage of its features
increased by 10%.

The additional features that I can think of are using the Object Tree to
navigate the components, changing the parent to move objects around, using
Control-Shift-Down Arrow to jump to the definition and Control Click with
the mouse to jump to the definition of a procedure or a type, but I suspect
that there have been more improvements since then.

I think the developers fear that if they open up the list even for viewing
alone there will be lots of acrimonious debates and disagreements with non
developers over how Lazarus should evolve, such as the everlasting Unicode
debates, and also criticism about its internal operation.

It may be a well founded fear as seen in other open source projects but it
ought to be reconsidered, with the understanding that whatever things
non-developers/participants disagree with should be raised politely and in
a tempered manner that doesn't offend or dishearten existing developers.

As for being able to participate by submitting patches or fixing bugs first
many users may consider such things outside their field of competence, or
may only be  interested in areas that affect them directly or are deeply
knowledgeable about, such the issue with transparency that Kostas recently
submitted a patch for. For me it was always a non-starter because compiles
were breaking due to missing units and I was always afraid of breaking my
installations to try new things even for my own use. It is only now that I
am becoming more confident and even then I am still wary.

I think for testing stock VM images should be used so that contributors can
just load, test and report their findings without the fear of messing up
their working installations. Testing is one area that can result in more
participants if involves just being click monkeys.

I think that opening the list may allow people who are highly skilled in
specialized areas to see where they can contribute and offer their help.
Going through Bugzilla to select bugs for fixing is okay for young
developers or students who want to cut their teeth or find a way to enhance
their skills and acquire some experience, but some of us are too long in
the tooth for that. I also suspect that some of those bugs wouldn't creep
into the code in the first place if the development process was open enough
for more eyes to spot them in the first place.

There a lot of projects which are more open but I suspect that using
dynamic languages helps with rapid iterations and enable to them to manage
debates and issues without slowing development, whereas a compiled language
doesn't afford that time and flexibility.

I think being able to see what is coming and follow their development will
encourage more participants and more bug fixing as well.

In any case if Lazarus developers feel that this approach has proved to be
the best over the years then they are entitled to continue as is.

Frank Church

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