[Rubygems-developers] Deprecating gems

Jim Weirich jim at weirichhouse.org
Sat Apr 16 23:08:44 EDT 2005

On Saturday 16 April 2005 09:33 pm, Gavin Sinclair wrote:
> On the rails list, some confusion has permeated surrounding the wad of
> gems surrounding sqlite.  The main problem is that one of them is
> deprecated.
> I suggested to Jamis that he update the description of the deprecated
> one ("sqlite") which informs the user that it's deprecated and they
> should use sqlite-ruby or sqlite3-ruby instead.
> As far as I'm concerned, that's a sufficient solution.  Just thought
> I'd mention the issue here, though, in case someone thinks an explicit
> way of deprecating gems is a useful idea.

I was actually thinking about such things recently.  Although its cool that 
rubyforge lists all gems that were /ever/ uploaded (minus the handfull that 
have been explicitly withdrawn), I'm wondering if that is a sustainable 
model. The yaml.Z file is enormous and most of those older gems that have 
been replaced by newer versions are of little use to most people.

Here's an  idea.  Establish some kind of policy on archiving older versions of 
gems.  Hmmm ... something like keeping the last 10 version or the last year's  
worth of versions (whichever is less) on the normal gem server 
(http://gems.rubyforge.org).  When a version falls off the map, move it to 
http://gems.rubyforge.org/archive, where it will remain available.  If 
someone really needs it, they can use the --source option.  (the 10 version / 
1 year criteria is offered as an example... feel free to debate the merits of 
other policies).

That will keep the main gem index from growing so large so fast.  

Beyond that, we should have an explicit interface for gem authors to mark 
archive versions and remove flawed gems on the server.  Something like this 
would allow the gem author to remove the deprecated gems themselves.  There 
would be some effort to put the interface together, but perhaps someone would 
like to take it on as a RAILSDAY project :).

Just some random thoughts on the topic.

-- Jim Weirich    jim at weirichhouse.org     http://onestepback.org
"Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, 
not tried it." -- Donald Knuth (in a memo to Peter van Emde Boas)

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