Darcs is not a particularly policy-driven project; we tend to make decisions using case-by-case consensus. On the other hand, we sometimes find it helpful to maintain a small set of rules for the sake of consistency or efficiency. We will document these rules here as we grow them.


See BuildBot for details


  • darcs-users: all discussions (user and developer); open to all
  • darcs-devel: automated traffic only (bugtracker, buildbot); open to all
  • darcs-private: sensitive discussions only, to be avoided where possible; open to `darcs core team` members (see top of DarcsTeam)


Rough consensus from the current pool of commit bit holders. May be revised as the pool grows.


We welcome small third-party tools (eg. shell completion scripts) in our contribs/ directory. Our only requirement is that they be maintained. Bugs related to a contrib script can be tracked on if there is not already a tracker for them. Note that if the tool or script appears to be unmaintained - for example if we receive a bug report but get no response from the maintainer - then we reserve the right to remove the script outright. We will normally wait at least a month and make multiple attempts to contact the maintainer. Re-submissions are of course welcome when a maintainer is available.


  • Author keeps copyright
  • GPL (or more liberal) for source code
  • MIT for test suites


Libraries we depend on should be GPL-compatible. If the patch author introduce a new dependency that is not cabal installable, he or she should post a heads-up on the mailing list as this will likely break people’s builds of Darcs.

The hashed-storage library is critical to Darcs and currently fast moving. To reduce confusion about whether specific versions of Darcs have a specific hashed-storage bug fix or not, we have decided to hard-constrain the hashed-storage dependency and update it (with a hashed-storage review) as we go along. This may be relaxed in the future as appropriate, after further discussion. (reopen around 2011-08)

GHC versions

We will support the last two stable branches of GHC (for which a Haskell Platform has been released). Before we allow ourselves to drop a version of GHC, we will provide a human-readable copy+paste recipe for installing Darcs on the current Debian stable if we no longer support the GHC in that version.

This policy is our current best effort at managing the tradeoff between developer and user requirements. Developers find it difficult to support many versions of GHC; such effort could be better spent on improving Darcs. On the other hand, users (particularly on servers) sometimes need to build Darcs on very conservative platforms where recent versions of GHC are not always available.


Follows a commit-bit model; see PatchReview


Benevolent Dictator chosen by an Oversight Committee and deposed with a vote of at least 3/4 of its members.

See the SFC agreement for details (though the agreement technically only covers our relationship with the SFC, we use it as the basis for our political system)