|Re: wp34s builds|
Message #4 Posted by Marcel Samek on 20 June 2013, 10:24 p.m.,
in response to message #3 by Ed Wright
It is an odd coincidence that this topic has come up because it is something that I just happened to be thinking about.
I decided that I wanted to make my own build, not because I had made changes, but because I wanted to be comfortable making reliable builds before I decided to try any changes.
It wasn't too difficult but it was a bit of a chore. I eventually figured it out and was able to build everything, including the library, and flash my calculator with the build. However, between mingw where I started, cygwin, and an ubuntu machine, it took me a number of missteps to figure out the right environment to do the build and the correct process to follow. I don't know whether this is because I did not find the right documentation, or didn't look hard enough, but it was what it was and it wasn't the smoothest of experiences.
Even now, I am not really sure whether the build is good. Just because it succeeded, is it OK?
The wp-34s project seems to have moved into a "bug-fix" mode and at some point in the not too distant future it will probably wind down completely. It seems that now is the time to think about how this project should be left for future generations. It only took me an hour or two to figure out how to build it this week, but a couple of years from now it will take longer and a couple of decades from now, I am sure it will be quite a struggle.
With most software, it probably doesn't matter. The software is either maintained, or it fades into obscurity without anyone caring. However, calculator fans are interested in machines from 40+ years ago and there is no reason to believe that 40 years from now, there won't be someone who will want to build the software and reflash a wp-34s. Is the project in a state that they will be able to do it easily?
I believe that there are a lot of things that could be done to bundle this project up into a form that would not only make it much easier for people to build today, but also that would leave it easier for people to build way down the road in the future.
Things like having local copies of all the correct version of all the open source tools and dependencies necessary to build the project, detailed documentation about process, configuration files to validate/configure the build based on the current environment, etc. Maybe even virtual machine images where you can just push a button and build....
I actually don't think that it would be a huge task. This is not that large a project and it is a relatively simple build process. It's certainly something that I would be willing to help with.