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From Peter Donald <>
Subject Re: Whoa Bessie... Was -- Re: [Proposal] AntFarm
Date Thu, 21 Dec 2000 09:47:16 GMT
At 01:14  21/12/00 -0800, Pier P. Fumagalli wrote:
>Yep... Kinda late on emails (around 500 yet to read on this list) but
>somehow here. What I told James (since he's the person closer to Ant I see
>most) is that I hated how that little creep changes every single attribute
>on every single release... And I have to go ahead and modify my bazillion of

simple - don't update. Ant is very immature - over next 2-3 years it will
evolve quite a bit. It will only stop evolving when it hits a certain
critical mass where the cost of changing outweighs the benefit of changing.
Look to any project and you will see that is how they all evolve. Since you
bring up Cocoon below - compare ant to it. Were changes made in cocoons
architecture? At what stage did DCPs stop being supported etc. This tools
is similar in that it is investigating a new thought space - similar to
other build tools (make/nmake/bake/gmake/cons/whatever) but significantly
different in approach. What makes you think that the evolution of ant is
going to differ from the evolution of any other open software project ?

>I stopped posting on this list when someone started saying that they wanted
>to put JavaScript in makefiles, and to repeat myself, I said "I'm going to
>checkout my own local copy of Ant and maintain it". That's what I did,
>because over here, in ANT land things change way too often.

luckily that never happened ;)

>Gee, just take a look at the other build tools available: GNU Make. I
>recompiled recently my old mod_jserv (almost 2 years without a change) with
>the latest version of GMAKE and IT WORKS! It doesn't say "that **** is
>deprecated, use another".

you know what. If I compile a c program from 2 years ago it will work.
Shock ! Horror ! How is this so ? Simple - it is an established technology
just like make.

>Now, when I ranted with James and he later on showed me his proposal, I was
>so happy to see that someone was "re-analyzing" the problem from bottom up,
>and trying to bring some order I almost cried.
>And my 0.02$ are, from what I read here, everyone is scared that James is
>going to take over the world, scared to loose their own little piece of
>"kingdom" because the new "dictator" is arising, without even listening to
>what he has to say "technically". I listened, it made sense, it's what I
>want, so I would love to see it happen... I didn't cry when Giacomo came on
>the Cocoon mailing list and took over "my" Cocoon 2.0 (as Stefano didn't do
>it when I revolutioned his Cocoon 1.x). Revolutions happen, and if we don't
>care about loosing our "prestige" or "leadership" but look at their
>technical value, we'll find out that most of them are very valid...

While he did try to become head czar that is almost irrelevent - he would
never be accepted anyway. His technical perspective or rather lack there of
is why many of his suggestions have been opposed. A lot of people use ant
and a lot of people have tried to improve/patch/mod it along the way. The
majority of these changes were never applied because they didn't fit with
the model. Ask how many people who have personal patches of ant to make it
do things that are not part of ant vision - a whole bunch of people will
put their hands up ;) I think there has been at least 2 different occasions
that ant-dev has been labeled thought police ;) (Usually because we were
wanting to block scripting).

However there has been some progress because certain needs become obvious
and needed by large numbers of people. PatternSets, FileSets etc are all
the results of these. There has also been a lot of crustiness acrued (magic
properties being best example) but also a lot of good things. JDDs proposal
did not adress these needs and he wanted to go back to the roots of ant. It
is not surprising - unless you have read and listened to a lot of users of
ant then it would be difficult to get the perspective of what is needed.
Some of his changes would never make it through no matter what and since
then he has modified his position - presumably because he has seen the
light or alternatively to mollify ant-dev ;)

But then again it is also amusing that the best proposal yet (AntFarm has
the best new features) has come from someone outside ant-dev who I assume
was just a dedicated user ;)



| "Faced with the choice between changing one's mind, |
| and proving that there is no need to do so - almost |
| everyone gets busy on the proof."                   |
|              - John Kenneth Galbraith               |

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