E macsAir

Collecting frequent-committer miles

Magit 2.5 released

I am excited to announce the release of Magit version 2.5, consisting of 78 commits since the last feature release two weeks ago. The release notes can be found here.

It’s Magit! A Git Porcelain inside Emacs

Magit is an interface to the version control system Git, implemented as an Emacs package. Magit aspires to be a complete Git porcelain. While we cannot (yet) claim that Magit wraps and improves upon each and every Git command, it is complete enough to allow even experienced Git users to perform almost all of their daily version control tasks directly from within Emacs. While many fine Git clients exist, only Magit and Git itself deserve to be called porcelains.

For more information about Magit, see https://magit.vc.

End of an era?

This release doesn’t contain any particularly noteworthy changes and generally much fewer changes than previous feature releases did. Nevertheless it is an important milestone because finally I am satisfied with the result enough to take a break and to reconsider my involvement in the project.

Working on Magit was a lot of fun, but not only. It was also work. Lots of almost unpaid work. I’ve been planning to “finish Magit” and to then run a fundraiser for a very long time now. Having spend so much time on Magit is also is an important bullet point in my curriculum vitae.

I think that I have managed this project quite professionally, except for one crucial detail: I neglected the part about insisting to be paid like a professional. The best part about maintaining Magit is hearing from satisfied users. It’s nice to hear that I am not the only one who thinks I have done a good job. But unfortunately that does not put any food on the table.

On the other hand it can be quite frustrating to consolidate mutually exclusive ideas about how things ought to work and still being critizised for making the wrong compromises. I have always tried hard to make it possible for all users to configure Magit exactly as they wish, but sometimes that’s not possible and a default has to be picked. Issues like this, combined with essentially doing the work for free, has taken their toll.

Which is why I need a break now. Lately I have gotten quite sensitive to criticism and I don’t like it. And I have to figure out how to get payed. So “taking a break” may not be a completely accurate description of what I am going to do over the next few months.

Over at least the next two months I am going to only put a minimal amount of work into Magit. I am going to fix bugs, but I won’t implement any new feature, won’t review any involved pull requests, won’t extensively comment on feature requests, and won’t answer any questions that can be answered by looking at the existing documentation.

Before I became Magit’s maintainer (without noticing it until it was to late), I was just about ready to release a Git submodule based package manager for Emacs packages. I have continued to occasionally work on that and the related Emacsmirror, but so far haven’t released anything. Over the next week I am going to release a few packages and data sets related to this. At least for the time being these things will be released as-is, i.e. I won’t provide much support and I won’t implement any new features (however essential and/or trivial they might be).

The plan was to “finish Magit” and then write a carefully worded essay explaining why you should support my work on Magit financially. This is not it. This is only a quick draft from the top of my head. I also have not started a fundraiser yet, but you can donate here if you want to restore my faith in this actually being a viable option.

These are the next steps I will take:

  1. Publish the Emacsmirror related tools and data sets.
  2. Take an actual break.
  3. Prepare a fundraiser and contact potential employers and corporate sponsors.

And these are some possible outcomes:

  1. Users and/or corporate sponsors pay enough to provide a decent income.
  2. I get employed and the employer allows me to work on Magit as part of the job.
  3. I get employed but don’t get any time to work on FOSS. My new job needs all my attention and at least for the first half a year I won’t be working on Magit in my free time.
  4. There are not enough donations and I also cannot find a job. Working on a widely used Emacs package does not put food on the table and my experience doesn’t appear to be worth anything on the job market. I am forced to turn to other things to prove my worth to potential employers.

Jonas Bernoulli


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Posted on 10th February 2016