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24 December 2012, 15:16

GNU sed maintainer resigns with 4.2.2 release

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Paolo Bonzini, the maintainer of GNU sed and GNUgrep, has announced the release of version 4.2.2 of the GNU sed and used the moment as an opportunity resign from his position on both projects. His decision to lay down the responsibility. after eight years of holding the post of GNU sed maintainer, and three on GNU grep, comes in the wake of a controversy over the control of the name and code base of the GnuTLS library, another member of the GNU Project.

As LWN reports (subscriber-only link), there has been a lively discussion about the control the GNU Project exerts over member projects whose developers have assigned their copyright to the Free Software Foundation (FSF). This is the recommended procedure for software under the GNU umbrella, but not necessarily required to join the project.

Nikos Mavrogiannopoulos, one of the two maintainers of the GnuTLS library, had announced his desire to continue the development of his software outside of the GNU Project. The statement elicited a response from Richard Stallman, the leader of the GNU Project, saying that this would not be possible due to the fact that all copyrights in GnuTLS were assigned to the FSF and that therefore, the name and current code base was under the control of the GNU Project. While Mavrogiannopoulos is free to fork the code, Stallman expressed the opinion that a fork would have to change its name as a result, though currently the code is now available on new infrastructure with the same name.

In his resignation, Bonzini expressed support for Mavrogiannopoulos: "Like Nikos, I do support the ideas behind the FSF as strongly as ever [...] However, like him I am in major disagreement with some decisions of the FSF and of Richard Stallman." In his opinion, the GNU Project is benefiting neither GNU sed, GNU grep or GnuTLS and is actually slowing down development with out-dated coding standards and a slow decision making process. Bozini has also given up commit access to Autoconf, Automake, Libtool, gnulib, libsegsegv and Bison – he has retained commit access to GNU Smalltalk and GCC though. It is currently unknown who will take up the maintenance positions for the two projects

GNU sed 4.2.2 includes a number of fixes that resolve the occurrence of an endless loop on certain input and truncated output with very long input lines. A new command to print the current input file name has also been added and a new -z option separates lines by ASCII NUL characters. All changes in the release are listed in Bonzini's announcement. GNU sed is available for download from the GNU Project web site.


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