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[Sv-migration] Re: [Savane-dev] [IMPORTANT] GNU Savannah migration from

From: Sylvain Beucler
Subject: [Sv-migration] Re: [Savane-dev] [IMPORTANT] GNU Savannah migration from Savannah (the Software) to GForge - Why?!
Date: Thu, 8 Apr 2004 14:12:02 +0200


Thank you for asking.

After I saw references to moving to GForge and Hugo's question, I
tried to get more information.

The decision to move to GForge was made by Bradley Kuhn and the system
adminitrators, according to Richard Stallman. They considered Savane
could not be made secure enough. It would be interesting to discuss
that point, as Savane was just security audited.

I also mentioned that the GForge team do not value copyleft (notably
as defined in Affero's license) as much as Savane's do. RMS replied it
was similar to using Apache. After thinking about it, I find this
argument discutable since there is no copyleft technical equivalent to
Apache, unlike in this case.

Another comment I got, from the sysadmins, is that Tim Perdue is
willing to make the changes necessary to make GForge usable at
Savannah. Given our current wishlist:;
and that people at Savane know Savannah better than GForge's staff,
using GForge will add delays.

No discussion took place indeed, so we should have one right now :)
Post your thoughs.
As far as I am concerned I think upgrading to Savane would be better,
for the reasons above.

Last, I currently lack time to deal with Savannah, and nobody can help
me answering support request at the moment (there was an help offer,
but that person disappeared). I would be pleased to get have some help
from you. It is always difficult to add somebody in a team (hence
maybe Bradley's reply to your previous offer - I myself had to insist
before Rudy and Hugo included me in the team), but I am concentrating
some information on Savannah and should be able to answer most of your

PS: I cleaned-up the recipient list so hopefully no rejection will
occur again, mainly removing duplicates and people registered in

Elfyn McBratney wrote:
If this message sounds rude, please accept my apologies.  It's intent
is not to be disrespectful!  I speak as a free software hacker and
user; a GNU/Linux user in particular..

[When I refer to "GNU Savannah" I mean GNU Savannah, the Software and
the service it provides to its users.]

Also, though I'm "just a user," I hope that you do not think that I
have no right (or perhaps /Freedom/ would be a better word) to be
asking these questions of yourselves.  I feel very strongly about
this, which Is why I'm emailing the savannah-hackers, sv-migration
list, savane-dev list, Sylvian Beucler, James Blair, Vincent Caron,
Paul Fisher, Hugo Gayosso, Rudy Gevaert, Loic Dachary Mathieu Roy,
Bradley Kuhn and Richard Stallman.

I have a few points I would like to raise with the /People/ that made
GNU and the current GNU Savannah what they are today, hopefully the
user's thereof, too, and anyone else who wants to listen! :)  These
points are:

  - /Why/ is GNU Savannah moving from the Savannah Software (now
Savane) to GForge?

  - Why was this decision made?  Who made that decision?  Who was
involved in the making of said decision?  What were the reasons
behind this (IMO bad) decision?

  - Why was there not even /One/ mail note to savannah-hackers or
other such places letting people know that a discussion took place/
decision was made (and the reasons behind said decision) to move to
GForge  (There may have been, though, you wouldn't know from looking
at the archives!)?

Before I start, please do not reply to me to say something along the
lines of "This is off-topic.  Go away!"  I've already seen one of
those type replies to a genuine and much-needed question to be

Firstly, this all started, AFAICT, and from a users point of view, in
one message being sent by James to the savannah-hackers list (here in
the archives[1]), where he said:

  "We've set up a list to discuss the migration of Savannah to

  "If you're interested, you can subscribe at:


  "The address is <address@hidden>."

Searching through the archives I see no other mention of this
migration.  Not a single note.  Nothing.  Zip.

Why has it been decided (I take it it has been decided, otherwise the
above would read

  "We've set up a list to discuss the /POSSIBLE migration/ of
Savannah to GForge. . ." (emphasis mine))

to migrate GNU Savannah (service) to GForge?  What were the reasons
(exact reasons please) to migrate?  Who was involved in this
decision, what points were raised for/against such a migration?

I think the most important question has to be, are the FSF System
Staff going to migrate GNU Savannah (service) to GForge even /if/ a
majority, against this migration, is reached?

Secondly, Why do you (FSF System Staff, I suppose) /want/ to migrate
GNU Savannah (the service) from Savannah (the software; now Savane)
to GForge.
What are your exact reasons?  Is it that of bugs[4]?  or Security
related issues[4]?  Or, perhaps, there was a blue moon in the sky, so
you thought it'd be a good idea?

Whatever the reason(s) was/were, was this /even/ discussed with the
savannah-hackers (of the time)?  Was it discussed only internally?
If the latter, why so?

Freedom, IMNSHO, should not be split in two.  To say, freedom applies
to all not just one (as in entity, or in the case the FSF staff in

/Even/ if, for example, it were RMS that made this decision (the
migration), I would expect at least a discussion with the community,
or just the savannah-hackers at first, about it.  I would also like
to think that, /if it were/ RMS' decision, (I think of most people at
the FSF/GNU as very together and clued-up people, I'm just using RMS
as an example) that the /whole/ Free
Software community using/hacking/relying/maintaining/... GNU Savannah
would /at least/ be asked of their opinion!  "Freedom of Speech," to
coin a phrase.

Finally, I would like to ask why there was not even one mail note
sent to savannah-hackers (The people who used to run GNU Savannah,
which I must say, was ten times better than the current situation we
are in now) consulting with them on this?

- From my point of view, from watching the savannah-hackers list
since March 2003, from using/hacking on the software behind GNU
Savannah (and now hacking on Savane), this whole situation from crack
to who knows where, has been a complete shambles (please see the end
of my mail before you criticise).

As an outsider, so to speak, it seems as though certain parties were
not consulted/emailed/whatever for a reason.  But as someone who is
familiar with the FSF, GNU, and know of the People from the FSF and
GNU by name and reputation, I'm 99% sure this is just a very, very,
very unfortunate case of no time == no communication.  Though the
other 1% of me is thinking that this has been a covert operation

I would also like to point out this mail note[2] that was sent to the
sv-migration list[3] by Hugo, in reply to James' message[1], where he

  "Thanks Jim, I have already subscribed, but I have a question.

  "After reading the first and only post on this new mailing list,
and after not seeing any discussion on savannah-hackers or anywhere
else regarding the migration.  I wonder who and why was the decision
made to migrate to GForge?

  "- From that mail in the archives of this new mailing list it seems
that we don't even know if GForge can provide the behaviour that is
expected from the current Savannah.

  "People from CERN, XEROX and others have contributed heavily to
savannah (now savane), and they are using it in those institutions
internally, so I guess that "unsupported" was not a reason to

  "I am curious as to why, and I am sure users will be too, what
should we tell the users?  I have seen other savannah-hackers ask
this same question but I haven't seen the answer, did I miss it?"

Please note that Hugo Gayosso, who I believe is also the GNU
evaluation co-coordinator, helped greatly fielding the vast amount of /
user/ support requests, in the near six months that there was no
Savannah, there was only very small parts of it re-built/re-
installed, or there was still huge problems (by the way, a lot of
these still exist!!) that were being ignored by the FSF System Staff
(or so it would seem).

Now, the problem I have is this:  Not only was this message not
responded to with valuable content (hence the length of my note), it
was also answered, very rudely IMHO, by Tim Perdue (for those of you
who do not know, Tim Perdue was one of the original developers behind
SourceForge, and is the current project leader of GForge).  His
message reads:

  "/This is OT for the migration list/" (emphasis mine)

I would think that someone who /actually/ read Hugo's note (see
above), who's intent was not to say "Go away!  Get off my migration
list!" would think "Damn.  No-one has told you we're migrating?  /
PEOPLE/, time for a /PROPER/ discussion with /EVERYONE/"

Don't you think?  Anyway, this is all /hopefully/ in the past!  What
I want from this note, from me to you all, is to make you think!  We
need Savannah!!
I need Savanah!!  26,559 Users and 2,260 Free Software Projects
depend on Savannah!!

Please, if it will help, pretty please, can we start communicating
and get GNU Savannah back offering the quality of service it was once
providing almost 6 months ago?

GNU Savannah got cracked nearly six months ago, please lets not take
another six months to migrate to a new Software (GForge) without even
trying to fix any current problems, when we already have, which if
I'm right, was specifically designed for use by GNU Savannah in the
beginning, to a new Software (which is actually just an upgrade with
a new name!) when we do not even know of a reason to.  Even if there
is a reason, I'm sure that whatever's behind that reason can be

I will personally upgrade the Savannah software (old) on GNU Savannah
(by myself if need be, though I know others will help!) to the latest
/stable/ version of Savane.  I promise that I will do all that I
possibly can do do this task to the best of my ability, so that we
can have, six months on, a clean/stable/secure GNU Savannah

On a related side-note, between August and October of last year
(2004), I submitted/sent a mail note(s) to the Bradley (perhaps
indirectly via another address) offering to help the FSF System Staff
(I'm a System Administrator myself) with any GNU Savannah related
admin tasks (such as dependant mail server, running of the then
Subversions machine, etc.).

Only one of those was responded to, by Bradley Kuhn, where he said
something along the lines of:

  "We could certainly use the help, but there's [insert word here]
backlog that needs to be cleared first.  Come back in a couple of

That offer still stands.  I will offer 5-10 hours per week to work on
GNU Savannah,, and anything else that directly impacts
the GNU Savannah (the service).

OK, it was a long ride, but I think that's it. Please reply!

Thank you for your time!


[3] <address@hidden>
[4] Bugs exist in all software.  Live with it.  Help fix it
[5] Security related bugs &c will exists in all software.  That's a
fact.  We can only alleviate these issues by working together on the
project(s). Have you ever headerd of "False sense of security." ?

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