Default performance of ‘lp:foo’ URLs (was: Usage discussion from the GNU Emacs project.)

Ben Finney ben+bazaar at
Fri Nov 27 08:53:24 GMT 2009

Ian Clatworthy <ian.clatworthy at> writes:

> Performance is no longer #1 on our list of things to work on. poolie
> has made it clear though that we'll continue to work on it as needed.
> In particular, please help us by raising explicit bugs about the
> issues you're seeing.

I don't have a Launchpad account (for reasons well-documented elsewhere,
and unlikely to be addressed any time soon AFAICT). So this list is
still the logical place for me to report a bug.

Fortunately, in this instance that lets me observe something relevant to
this thread: that the default network experience for Bazaar against
Launchpad is horrible.

Ian, you've just published (thank you!) a guide for Emacs developers,
using the branch URL ‘lp:emacs’ as an example. You also invite
collaboration on the manual, with the ‘lp:bzr-explorer-website’ branch.

When I, like any person without a Launchpad account, try to branch those
URLs, the speed is utterly dreadful. From a conversation just finished
on IRC, I am told this is because Launchpad URLs *default to HTTP*.

Not ‘bzr://’, the smart server protocol, which I would have thought is
the most obvious way to provide an impressively fast read-only access to
the repository. Not even ‘bzr+http://’, which would be more complex to
set up but would at least be faster than what is currently the case:
simple but sloooow ‘http://’.

Surely now — with a horde of Emacs developers poised to plunge into
nicely-written user guides, and who have varying degrees of infestation
with the “Bazaar is complicated” and “Bazaar is slow” memes — now is the
time to get Bazaar smart server set up for all Launchpad branches, and
make read-only ‘lp:foo’ *default* to ‘bzr://’?

Otherwise I can only see this as another missed opportunity at improving
the public image of Bazaar: the Emacs developers, many of whom can be
expected to try things out *before* committing to a Launchpad account,
will experience a very slow branch operation with ‘lp:foo’, cementing
the “Bazaar is slow” meme.

Those few who bother to enquire as to an explanation, on discovering
“the Launchpad team haven't got around to setting it up”, will note that
the Bazaar *experts* can't even get around to making it work decently by
default, and simply conclude that the “Bazaar is complicated” meme is
also justified.

Wouldn't all of this be fixed easily by making “fast read-only serving
of ‘lp:foo’ URLs” a priority for the Launchpad team?

(Thanks to Robert for encouraging me to document this in this forum
rather than leaving it at a cathartic IRC rant.)

 \        “The restriction of knowledge to an elite group destroys the |
  `\                   spirit of society and leads to its intellectual |
_o__)                                impoverishment.” —Albert Einstein |
Ben Finney

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