I am starting to dislike GNU project

When GNU project was announced over 30 years ago it was something great. But time passed and I have a feeling that it is more and more politics instead of coding.

I do builds. For over 10 years now. It was ARM all the time with some bits of AVR32, MIPS, x86. During last two years it is nearly 100% AArch64. And during last months my dislike to GNU project grows.

Why? several reasons.

Commit messages

There is a lot of articles about “how to write good commit messages”. I can tell you where to look for bad ones: gcc, binutils, glibc — base of most of GNU/Linux distributions. All of them can be fetched from GIT repositories but look like deep in CVS era. Want to find what was changed? You will get it in commit message. Why it was changed? Forget.

GNU forks

Do you know what IceCat is? Or GNUzilla? Let me quote official homepage:

GNUzilla is the GNU version of the Mozilla suite, and GNU IceCat is the GNU version of the Firefox browser. Its main advantage is an ethical one: it is entirely free software. While the Firefox source code from the Mozilla project is free software, they distribute and recommend non-free software as plug-ins and addons.

Where is source? Somewhere in GNU cvs probably. I failed to find it. OK, there is a link to something which is probably source tarball but we have XXI century — developers take source control systems got granted.

Of course IceCat fails to build on AArch64. Why? Because it is based on already obsoleted by upstream version 24 of Firefox. Support for 64-bit ARM platform was merged around Firefox 30 and is complete in version 31. Sure, I could dig for patches for IceCat version but no. This time I refuse.

I do not know, but maybe GNU project needs some fresh blood which will make them more developer friendly?

Year at Red Hat

In the morning I got an email:

Dear Marcin Juszkiewicz,

Congratulations on your one-year anniversary with Red Hat! Thank you for your commitment and work over the past year. We hope that it has been everything you expected it to be and look forward to celebrating your future success with the company.

Yes, already year passed since I joined ARM team at Red Hat. It was a good time and I do not plan to change it 😉

What I did during that time? Managed to get several packages built for AArch64, sent many patches upstream (some were easy, other required several updates) and even got one machine to use at home. It was not an easy ride but I am glad that I went that way.

I had some ARMv7a work done but over 80% of time spent with AArch64. First in simulators but then hardware started coming. First shared one with other developers (timezone differences helped a lot), then got remote one for own development use and finally one machine landed under my desk (the only one in Poland at that time). Do I have to add how it simplified work? GVim over X11 just works so the only difference is colorscheme and font used ;D

What next? More AArch64 work. There are still packages which fail to build ;D