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Author Topic: Bitcoin Enhancement Proposals (BEPS)  (Read 1375 times)
genjix
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September 19, 2011, 12:32:25 AM
 #1

I adapted the Python PEP 0001 to Bitcoin (its license is public domain):

https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Bitcoin_Enhancement_Proposals

https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/BEP_0001

BEP 0001 is open to additional authors and revisions.

Ideally these should go in a github.com/bitcoin/beps/ repo.

Lets have a standardisation track for changes to the protocol.
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maaku
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September 20, 2011, 03:32:38 PM
 #2

Though I am not a core developer by any means, let me say that this is a great suggestion and I am surprised this thread has languished.

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Gavin Andresen
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September 20, 2011, 04:00:51 PM
 #3

There's been a little discussion on the bitcoin-dev mailing list.

I think it is a great idea, but "BEP" is the wrong name (because there are already BitTorrent Enhancement Proposals).

How often do you get the chance to work on a potentially world-changing project?
Alex Zee
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September 20, 2011, 05:03:28 PM
 #4

I like the name Gavin proposed - "Bitcoin Improvement Proposal".

BIP sounds better than BEP or BER and have similarities to Bit.

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dishwara
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September 21, 2011, 03:21:27 AM
 #5

What about BCEPS?
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maaku
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September 21, 2011, 05:19:40 AM
 #6

“biceps”?

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wumpus
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September 21, 2011, 06:45:29 AM
 #7

I like bip

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genjix
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September 23, 2011, 08:36:20 PM
 #8

I haven't been checking the forums so much since there seemed to be more discussion on the mailing list.

I actually changed the name before to BRC (Bitcoin Request for Comments) which I prefer, but since people here like BIP I've changed the name.

Name isn't too important as long as the process is there and respected Smiley

https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Bitcoin_Improvement_Proposal

Wiki is not a bad place for having these proposals up, but it would be a good idea to have these backed up in a secondary location on github.com/bitcoin/bips/
Alex Zee
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September 23, 2011, 09:18:23 PM
 #9

I am afraid, you're making it so overly formal that only few people gonna use it.

Don't know if that's the idea, but if it's intended for 5-10 people, you probably don't need that level of formalism either.

You sound like you're organizing a committee to design a space-shuttle...

And it all tied to a mailing list... Why not do it as a simple database and a web form with some of the fields you need in the header, status, etc. and let anybody just type and submit?

The BIP number will be assigned automatically, the editors will read it and either approve for further workflow or decline with a reason. Like "Status: declined. Reason: too stupid". Or maybe not even editors, just votes from other people. Something like http://useridea.idea.informer.com/

Such system would take part of the burden from both submitters and editors. Many tasks can be automated and there is no need to tie it to mailing lists. There would be a clear history, search, etc.





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etotheipi
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September 23, 2011, 10:02:16 PM
 #10

I am afraid, you're making it so overly formal that only few people gonna use it.

Don't know if that's the idea, but if it's intended for 5-10 people, you probably don't need that level of formalism either.

You sound like you're organizing a committee to design a space-shuttle...


I whole-heartedly disagree.  Right now Bitcoin -- specification, protocol, documentation, standards - is seriously lacking formalism, and to the detriment of BTC as a whole.  I don't know why people are so afraid of having things well-structured.  This isn't a space-shuttle, but I'd argue it's actually similar in many respects: it's a damned-complicated system with millions of dollars at stake, with the goal to be used by millions of people and businesses, and easy to break with poorly planning/development (look at the endless scenarios that could cause blockchain forks).  I believe a big part of Bitcoin's success will be not just the core developers improving bitcoin, but the capability of other parties to get involved.

If the community is too afraid to add formalism to Bitcoin, it will forever continue to look like an experiment that never got out of the garage, and won't be taken seriously but such parties that would otherwise be interested and enable Bitcoin to grow.  If they can't figure out how to use, implement, and improve Bitcoin, it doesn't have a chance to succeed.

In fact, I think I'll make a BIP, specifically to better improve documentation and protocol specification.  That is a solid BIP.

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September 23, 2011, 10:16:17 PM
 #11

This isn't a space-shuttle, but I'd argue it's actually similar in many respects...

Let's not flatter ourselves Smiley I already saw some people starting to behave like it's a rocket science. It isn't.

Yes, there are big money at stake and there should be some formalism for sure. I just don't think BIP's are a good candidate for it. After all, it's not a standard, it's just a proposal.

And I don't agree that formalism is the ultimate panacea for a successful project. I'd say that simplicity plays much more important role.

Simplicity also helps make things more secure, more reliable, easy to understand => easy to participate => more attractive.

And way too often without a conscious effort to make things simple they very quickly become overly complicated. Our brain seems hard-wired to produce excessive complications.


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etotheipi
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September 23, 2011, 10:53:59 PM
 #12

This isn't a space-shuttle, but I'd argue it's actually similar in many respects...

Let's not flatter ourselves Smiley I already saw some people starting to behave like it's a rocket science. It isn't.


If you've ever tried implementing the actual Bitcoin protocols, you'd realize that it is extremely complicated with countless nuances and pitfalls that have the potential to break the entire system.  And it's amusing you used the rocket science phrase with me, as I actually do rocket science at my full-time job.  It's complex programming, math, algorithm/computational optimization, and most importantly--collaboration between lots of developers with a lot of risk of catastrophic failure if you do it wrong.  I consider what I do at my job to share a lot of characteristics with developing for Bitcoin.  I feel very challenged by both.  

As a bunch of part-time hobbyists, I understand the inclination to keep things less formal.  Most open-source projects can get away with this.  But Bitcoin has the goal of wide acceptance outside of the small clique of nerds that currently use it.  A couple months ago I became interested in developing for Bitcoin and was very disappointed to see a lack of documentation and structure.  It feels like someone's pet project (hell, it actually is).  The learning curve is steep, and browsing/participating in forums seems to be the only way to get the information you need to contribute.  This is not a good recipe for wide acceptance.  

This is part of the reason few people, if any, have succeeded in making a usable, alternative BTC client.

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Alex Zee
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September 24, 2011, 07:53:36 AM
 #13

This project is by any definition "small". It was written by one guy and remains well inside the "one-guy" realm.

Yes, several people now contribute to it, but this doesn't suddenly make it "big". Heck, the boost library alone is two orders of magnitude bigger!

It's annoying when people start pretending like they are working on something that only they, "super-programming gods", can understand and contribute to...

This project is not that complicated. Particularilly, because whoever developed it tried to keep things simple.

And you're not listening. I don't advocate anarchy and no documentation or formalism whatsoever.

I just think that current BIP requirements are way too formal and cumbersome.


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Alex Zee
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September 24, 2011, 09:42:24 AM
 #14

Just for fun I've created a project on Idea Informer:

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=45498.0

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etotheipi
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September 24, 2011, 02:11:32 PM
 #15

Bitcoin is not just the original software created by Satoshi.  It's all the future design of the Bitcoin software, as well as all the variants that will be built among all participating parties.  Satoshi is a beast to be able to have created and implemented the original idea by himself... but it's going to take the collaboration of a lot of people to expand it and develop it for the real world. 

Your argument is like saying Relativity isn't all that complicated, it was created by one guy!  Sure, the original concept was proven by Einstein, but it took thousands of other smart people to find all its applications and make it useful beyond its original incarnation.

We don't need to harp on this any more.  I'm just pointing out that it's a huge mistake to somehow think Bitcoin is "complete."  We need other people and businesses to get involved if it's really going to succeed, and they can't unless there's a more-formal environment for learning about Bitcoin and suggesting improvements.  Any system that requires going to a forum to get the information you need is not mature enough for "the real world."


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Alex Zee
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September 24, 2011, 02:36:59 PM
 #16

You keep putting words in my mouth and continue ignoring that I don't argue to abandon all documentation and start using the forum for all documents. Why aren't you listening?

I argue that if you don't want to limit BIPs to the same 5 people, who are already communicating perfectly well, you need to make it less formal. Even for those 5 people it adds redundant burdens which doesn't have to be there.

Heck, why not require 3 notarized copies of each BIP to be sent to "Bitcoin HQ" by FedEx?..

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etotheipi
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September 24, 2011, 03:00:27 PM
 #17

I don't agree that less formalism is the answer.  It's the answer to getting less-serious people involved... 

But let's stop here and get back on topic: I like the idea informer you set up.  It's a slick, professional-looking interface.  I also like the topics you seeded it with.  I will start adding comments.

Genjix, I apologize for letting this thread go a bit off-topic.  But I do think what Alex set up is similar to what you were originally suggesting in this thread... is it not?  Or were you thinking more about a wiki-style system?

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Alex Zee
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September 24, 2011, 03:05:50 PM
 #18

etotheipi, the Idea Informer is not very good, it's just a test to see if people would be interested to add their ideas and vote.

It lacks advanced BB-code editing, it's more suitable for smaller proposals.

The ideal would be something like Idea Informer, but better suitable for what OP suggested.

Personally, I think that would be a perfect system to add to the contributors forum - less noise for proposals and more representative voting, but you guys don't seem to like the idea of a separate forum for contributors only.

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etotheipi
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September 24, 2011, 03:21:31 PM
 #19

This specific system doesn't have to be the "one."  I just like the idea of having the ideas structured in this way and allowing people to comment and vote.  This is, assuming it's whitelisted access in some way to bring up the signal-to-noise and avoid it turning into another incarnation of the forums (but yes, you already said that). 

It looks like the folks using this have already been using "gist", but just making it a bit more formal with BEP/BIP numbers to reference them.




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Armory Bitcoin Wallet: Bringing cold storage to the average user!
Only use Armory software signed by the Armory Offline Signing Key (0x98832223)

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