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From Jeremias Maerki <dev.jerem...@greenmail.ch>
Subject Re: Redesign vs. maintenance branch
Date Mon, 05 Aug 2002 08:39:58 GMT
comments inline.

On 03.08.2002 05:32:25 Arved Sandstrom wrote:
> Peter, Joerg, Keiron, Jeremias, others,
> I don't currently do more than monitor the Fop lists, and if I see a
> question that pertains to something I wrote, then I'll try to answer it.
> Since I have not been directly involved with the project for a year, it's
> not my place to offer opinions on how people should dispose of their time,
> or how they should direct their energies.
> Real-life circumstances sidelined me just about the same time we decided to
> go with a rewrite. I still support that decision for a rewrite. By the time
> I got back into open-source (and I was away from it for about 6 months),
> Keiron and Karen were well underway, I no longer had a handle on what they
> were doing, and in any case too many cooks spoil the broth, so I scratched
> the itch by striking out with a fork, of sorts. Not really, though - I think
> the underlying design ideas are very similar - it's just the implementation
> language that differs. And I've been involved with that for 7 months -
> anyone who has been following that project knows how much effort has gone
> into it.
> I feel it important to point this out - I haven't abandoned Fop by any
> means, I still keep tabs, it's just that I unavoidably dropped off the
> cutting edge mainstream, and am now no longer on it. And now I have other
> commitments. But I have a strong allegiance to Fop, and I'd like to ensure
> that it stays on track. If I can somehow get back into occasional
> contributions to the rewrite, I'd like to do that, too.
> I say "occasional" because that's the reality of it at the moment. I have
> other things going on right now. I had my day, and now it's time for others,
> and I see people stepping up to the plate. James Tauber was not
> indispensable, Fotis Jannidis was not indispensable, I am clearly not
> indispensable - you get the drift. :-) Peter is involved, Joerg is involved,
> Jeremias is involved, Bertrand is involved, Christian is a workhorse (:-)),
> and we have solid developers and contributors - Rhett Aultman, Oleg
> Tkachenko, Chuck Paussa, etc etc.
> _And_ we are screwing up because we have _one_ guy - Keiron - doing what is
> the most important, core work to ensure that Fop stays viable. Karen is busy
> with real work - period. This happens. So it's Keiron doing the whole thing.
> And this is obviously not working very well.
> I've kept tabs on what Joerg has been doing - user support, coding, upcoming
> plans - and I am very impressed. Problem being, and Peter is right on the
> money, we've got a lot of effort going into the maintenance branch - high
> quality effort, mind you - and this strikes me as being inefficient.
> Joerg, you clearly have a thorough understanding of the spec and the
> maintenance codebase. What stops you from helping out Keiron? I'm genuinely
> curious. All we need is one other person. We need to freeze
> development/feature work on the maintenance branch - that's my humble
> opinion. At a minimum we need a full and frank exchange of opinions as to
> what our priorities ought to be.

I fully agree with you. It will make a lot of people unhappy, but this
is probably needed to bring the redesign to a developer release. For
example, I've promised to include the bitmap renderer (Submissions by
Oleg Tkachenko and Andriy Palamarchuk) but now I'm not so sure if my
time isn't better invested in helping out Keiron, so I can help bringing
the spotlights upon the redesign.

> If the committers, OTOH, feel that the maintenance branch can be
> resuscitated, we need to decide this. I've already seen from what Joerg is
> doing that this may not be as impossible as I originally thought. But we
> need to have a pow-wow and make a hard decision.

I still don't think the maintenance branch can bring us to a version 1.0.
Even if it can, I don't think it's the right path because that would
mean that a lot of work by Keiron and Karen would have been in vain.
Most of the things that were added to the maintenance branch will be
relatively easy to bring over to the redesign because this was mostly
peripheral stuff. The redesign is about changing the internal processes
in FOP so the layout engine can support the full recommendation. Work on
renderers, font support etc. is relatively easy to bring over to the

I'm looking forward to hearing more opinions here.

> Maybe I am the wrong person to be saying this right now - because I am not
> currently involved - and maybe I am the right person - because I am not
> currently involved. In any case, it is said, and I hope we get some good
> discussion going. Peter, thanks, you started it off.

Oh no, Arved, you're doing your job very well. It's a good thing we
start talking about this again.

> I wouldn't be saying anything at all if I didn't still really care about
> Fop.

That goes without saying.

As Arved did I may quickly outline my personal situation: I'd like to be
the other person helping Keiron with the redesign, but I cannot, at
least at the moment. Work has eaten me up during the last 9 months.
We've completely rewritten our massprinting solution around FOP, but FOP
was almost always neglected because I was so consumed by managing three
projects, coaching my colleagues and finally finding time to actually
work on these projects. ;-) That left almost no power to work on FOP.
Now, after having pounded heavily on the table at work and after my
7-week holidays, I hope things will get back to normal. There are things
underway that I will be able to concentrate more on development, and
even on FOP development. By the way, my new email address doesn't mean
I've changed my employer. I've just reorganized my stuff a bit.

Jeremias Maerki

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