[racket] meeting notes, November 2014

From: Matthias Felleisen (matthias at ccs.neu.edu)
Date: Thu Nov 20 13:44:32 EST 2014

Every few months, the principals of the Racket world meet for a day to discuss the state and near (and, occasionally, distant) future of the Racket world. We met this past weekend in Chicago, and here is the list of major points we discussed. 

1. We will split the central Racket repo so that every directory in the pkgs/ directory -- i.e. every major package -- will each get its own repo. [The *-lib, *-doc, *-test packages will be kept together.] The process will start with packages that no/few other packages depend on so that we can test the idea on an incremental basis. 

Once the repository is split, we plan to migrate the existing bug database to GitHub, splitting it along the same lines as the repository.

As we split the repos, we will improve the infrastructure so that not only core packages but all ring-0 packages are tested on drdr on a per commit basis; see http://drdr.racket-lang.org . Similarly, we are hoping to improve our search service so that searching for functionality includes all packages not just the ones included with a specific bundle. 

The primary intention is to put core developers and package developers on roughly the same footing. A secondary intention is to facilitate the creation of targeted download bundles, e.g., for specific sites with particular security needs or for books with special language and library needs. 

2. The download site will make use of this last point after the split. It will then offer three different kinds of packages:

-- one minimal bundle, for just Racket 
-- one graphical bundle, including the Racket IDE
-- several 'book' bundles, covering for example DeinProgram, EOPL, HtDP, PLAI, PP, Realm, Redex

This step simultaneously thins out our all-in-one bundle and promotes Racket-related works. 

3. We will improve the package site in two ways. First we will upgrade the cloud service and determine how much it will improve the reliability of the server (whose memory and cpu needs spike at certain points and thus reach the limits of the low level of services we rent). Second, we will collaborate with Tony Garnock-Jones to improve the UI experience based on the latter's prototype. 

4. We discussed the issue of backwards compatibility, and we will continue to think how to balance it with other needs of our user base. 

5. Finally, we want to explore the possibility of donating directly to the Racket project. Thus far, some of us have paid for PLT Design, Inc, web sites, and web services out of pocket. To have funds for additional services or upgrading the services for improved experiences, additional funding would be welcome. To support donors who may wish to receive a tax deduction, we need to investigate forwarding organizations, such as the Software Conservancy, that comply with the US Tax code (so-called 501 c(3) organizations).

-- Jay, Matthew, Robby, Sam, and Matthias

Posted on the users mailing list.