2008-05-08

Dear Software Authors

Another request for sanity please. If I'm running a Linux distribution less than 6 months old, it should be feasible to install your software without installing random -svn versions of your dependencies.

If it's not, I'm not going to bother trying out your software. That means I definitely won't be fixing any of your bugs, and I'm pretty sure I'm not alone. That means you lose out.

Yes, this means you, Review Board. Is it really so essential that you use a version of Django that isn't released anywhere?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I saw this too, Christian said this:

As for Django, you really do need Django SVN. It simply won't run with any of the releases. Our goal is for Review Board 1.0 to be compatible with Django 1.0, and the current releases of Django simply do not provide the features we need, not to mention the fact that the API in many areas has changed quite a bit.

John Levon said...

Then they should bite the bullet and ship Django with their sources until such a time the stuff they absolutely need is available somewhere else than "nowhere"...

ChipX86 said...

We could, but it's not going to really be any easier in practice. Setting up Django SVN is very quick. A checkout and an install, or a checkout and a symlink. We'd have to do the same thing otherwise.

Review Board very much depends on things that Django SVN provides, things we'd otherwise have to write ourselves. Furthermore, if we were to use a released Django (0.96) instead of keeping up with Django SVN, then there would be a point in time when 0.97 (or whatever) is released that distros would ship that we would definitely not work with. A lot of things have changed in Django and applications just won't work without being migrated. So, it's a choice between having to use Django SVN, allowing us to work better in more situations and to instantly work when Django 1.0 is released, or working with the shipped version of Django, meaning we'd eventually have a broken Review Board when Django 1.0 is out, requiring that we spend months of development and testing in order to catch up.

Ease of installation is really the problem here, not the version of Django. We need to make it easier to get all the right dependencies installed, ensure the user has the right versions of them, and help to generate the necessary configuration files for the web server. To a degree, we do this today, but it could be streamlined.

John Levon said...

I think you're underestimating the annoyance level of finding Django svn, building it and setting it up.

It's no big deal if I'm going to use Review Board. It's a big deal if I just want to play with Review Board, especially after fighting inaccurate build instructions. Why should I spend 30 minutes messing around when I'm only going to try RB for a few minutes?

If it's so easy, then Review Board should have a target that does it all for me. Without it, you're losing people's interest. You seem to be saying this in your last paragraph - great to hear.