[m-dev.] Grade confusion

Paul Bone paul at bone.id.au
Sat Mar 14 00:42:23 AEDT 2015

On Fri, Mar 13, 2015 at 11:57:32AM +0800, Michael Richter wrote:
> Yes, this is a rant.  No it isn't polite.  And, frankly, I don't give a
> shit.  If your feelings get hurt by people using bad words to describe your
> work you have two options: curl up in a little ball and pretend the bad man
> isn't out there, or man up and FIX THE FUCKING RETARDED SHIT YOU'VE
> WRITTEN!  (Sadly, I know which of these two I expect.)

Your feelings have been noted.  I will distill the technical points you made
below, please let me know if I misunderstand you:

    + Too many grades causes confusion generally.
    + Too many grades causes long build/install times.
    + "make install" step does building (I don't remember if your e-mail
      actually mentioned this).
    + It is difficult to know which grades are useful.
    + It is difficult to know which grades make sense and are
    + The documentation is sparse (where does it say hlc.gc.stseg doesn't
      make sense?)
    + The documentation doesn't tell the user what they want to know (which
      grades do I want/need?)
    + ./configure accepts some nonsensical grades (hlc.gc.stseg)

You make the suggestion:

    + A chart of valid grade combinations would be useful.

By and large I agree and have said so in the past when these issues
were raised:


    Which refers to your article here:

In particular I think that the article is clear and well-reasoned.  It
clearly explains the issue and provides some suggestions.  I personally
agree with the points it raises.

This has also been a continuing topic of discussion since.  I understand
that discussion isn't useful and actually fixing things is.

If I remember correctly that there has been a small amount of work done to
help with a long term solution.  However I agree that it's unfortunate that
more work hasn't been done.  However as Matt pointed out most of the effort
that goes into Mercury is volunteer work, by people who have lives outside
of this project.  I think that new developers would be really helpful and
I'll to my best to support and encourage anyone who wants to contribute,
especially to fix issues like these.

One of your issues that you raised today is new to me.  That is that it's
difficult to find out which grade combinations are useful or even make
sense.  For example:

    + In what situation would someone want to use the "hlc" grade?  (Note
      there is no "gc" grade component here.)
    + What kind of developer needs a "tr" or "trseg" grade component (this
      one is documented, but could be clearer).
    + Is "debug" compatible with "java"?
    + Do I need "asm_fast.gc.debug" if I have "asm_fast.gc.decldebug"?

Taking this onboard I agree with you that a chart is a good first step.  My
other thoughts haven't changed, that is that building grades either at
install time or on demand is a good idea (administrators or package
maintainer's choice).

Paul Bone

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