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Submission + - Has the bazaar model gone insane? (

synthespian writes: In a scathing review of the current "bazaar" situation in open source Unixen called A Generation Lost in the Bazaar, in a recent ACM Queue column, Poul-Henning Kamp — of FreeBSD fame — writes: "At the top level, the FreeBSD ports collection is an attempt to create a map of the bazaar that makes it easy for FreeBSD users to find what they need. In practice this map consists, right now, of 22,198 files that give a summary description of each stall in the bazaar... Also included are 23,214 Makefiles that tell you what to do with the software you find in each stall... the map helpfully tells you that if you want to have www/firefox, you will first need to get devel/nspr, security/nss, databases/sqlite3, and so on. Once you look up those in the map and find their dependencies, and recursively look up their dependencies, you will have a shopping list of the 122 packages you will need before you can get to www/firefox.
Here is one example of an ironic piece of waste: Sam Leffler's graphics/libtiff is one of the 122 packages on the road to www/firefox, yet the resulting Firefox browser does not render TIFF images...
That is the sorry reality of the bazaar Raymond praised in his book: a pile of old festering hacks, endlessly copied and pasted by a clueless generation of IT "professionals" who wouldn't recognize sound IT architecture if you hit them over the head with it. It is hard to believe today, but under this embarrassing mess lies the ruins of the beautiful cathedral of Unix, deservedly famous for its simplicity of design, its economy of features, and its elegance of execution."

Has the bazaar model become unmanageable? We all remember when Debian just crumbled under its own weight, when its packagers (they're called "developers" in Debianland) just couldn't keep up with the exponential explosion of packages. It took money — i.e., Shuttleworth's money — to get Debian rolling again (except now it's called Ubuntu). But that entails both parasitizing a distro and too much human work. While that seems to confirm the old adage that money will get you anything, it doesn't really look like it's a real technical solution. FreeBSD and Ubuntu/Debian remain the open source Unixen with the largest collection of Userland goodies, and are the prime victims of bazaar dependency-hell.
Do you agree with PHK's view? Do need to go "old school" and take more responsibility for the design of our code? Has the bazaar become, perhaps, the mirror image of the NIH syndrome? Or maybe we need updating our old ways, reaching out for newer cutting-edge tools that can analyze and automate intelligently, such as SAT solvers, Abstract Interpretation error-checking, Formal Concept Analysis-based toolsfor better dependency analyses [pdf],and non-destructive (referentially transparent) updating tools — all mostly absent in the developer's radar? Or do we do both?

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Has the bazaar model gone insane?

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