Subject: Re: Jim Kingdon: Cyclic discontinues CVS support contracts
From: Ian Lance Taylor <>
Date: 23 Jun 1999 20:07:18 -0400

   Date: Wed, 23 Jun 1999 15:40:45 -0700
   From: John Gilmore <>

   Date: Wed, 23 Jun 1999 18:17:14 -0400
   From: Jim Kingdon <>

   "One of the problems in running Cyclic has been that we have had
   trouble getting the public to understand that we still see CVS as a
   community project - the whole point of keeping CVS as free software is
   that we want a wide variety of people to be involved in CVS
   development rather than expecting Cyclic to do everything.

Jim and I have disagreed on this issue in the past.

I believe that in order for free software projects to be successful,
they must have a single strong central maintainer.  That person needs
to work to encourage patches from the net; he or she needs to rewrite
those patches to fit the direction of the program.  Although Jim
frequently commented on patches and strongly suggested that they be
implemented in certain ways, he did not have the time to take on the
job of actually integrating the patches.  Although several people,
including myself, had checkin privileges to the CVS repository, nobody
else stepped forward to do this work.

I don't think this had anything to do with Cyclic per se.  It's true
that, given that Cyclic was selling CVS support contracts, it would
have been unusual for somebody not at Cyclic to serve as the single
CVS maintainer.  However, I believe the basic problem was one of an
orphaned free software project, for which nobody was willing to serve
as maintainer and actively encourage contributions.

I know that Jim feels differently, but I do not feel that I can
adequately explain his position.

I am certainly sorry to hear that Cyclic will no longer be providing
support contracts.

CVS has become a critical part of the free software infrastructure,
and is a program in which I personally have invested a great deal of
time.  I hope that the free software community will be able to come up
with some plan to continue maintaining it.