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Poll
Question: Will you support Gavin's new block size limit hard fork of 8MB by January 1, 2016 then doubling every 2 years?
1.  yes
2.  no

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Author Topic: Gold collapsing. Bitcoin UP.  (Read 1808050 times)
cypherdoc
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June 02, 2015, 03:27:07 AM
 #25281

note how gmax and Luke pull the same perverted "consensus" argument out of there pocket in a political battle where they, as a minority of 5(?) devs argued their wishes should hold sway over just about the entire community's?

Luke presented the idea that the "devs = Bitcoin" and should have ultimate say, before he backpedaled on it. I can understand how devs would think that way, but it's of course silly for the reasons you mentioned there.

As for Greg, he does make unfair points whenever he feels he can veil it sufficiently (though so do Gavin and especially Hearn, from what I've seen - is this part of the core dev culture?), but more importantly he has this weirdly cognitively dissonant "I know best and get to decide, but everyone's equal" thing going on, and he's able to make his writing look watertight so that it can't be proven conclusively so he cannot really be caught on it so easily.

It's like he feels like he doesn't get enough respect for what he does, and is owed more sway in the sense of actual control rather than just influence and core dev status. That impulse explains his comment yesterday when he was lamenting all the work he'd done to make it just so things don't break with 1MB blocks (if not for those optimizations Bitcoin with 1MB blocks would be a "smoking hole in the ground" were I believe his words) and yet no one seems to appreciate it, they just want to march forward with even bigger blocks and keep working the hamster while Gavin gets all the glory.

The old underappreciated tech guy syndrome? (But with high-level writing skills)

i'm open to looking at examples of Gavin's unfairness.  anyone?

we all want recognition but Greg goes over the top.  and this is why he started Blockstream, to be the CEO of something potentially significant where he will get that recognition he so covets.   it's dangerous for a project like Bitcoin though.

Gavin's strength is his maturity and calm demeanor, imo.  he'll win if it comes down to a battle.
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cypherdoc
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June 02, 2015, 03:30:40 AM
 #25282

"The code is the spec."
This is the source of the problem.  It was a shortcut, but one that has costs long term.

Justus is right about that.
Until the code is frozen/deprecated and we have an functional spec, we will have this quandry.

i read about this here one time but i don't fully understand it nor the implications, not being a coder.

a spec is a written, detailed, normal language description of how the protocol works, is that correct?  wouldn't the current developer's guide qualify as something similar?

where as the code is what actually executes within the operating system and carries out the protocol rules?

and why NL, do you believe it would've prevented what we have going on now?
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June 02, 2015, 03:35:56 AM
 #25283

i read about this here one time but i don't fully understand it nor the implications, not being a coder.

a spec is a written, detailed, normal language description of how the protocol works, is that correct?  wouldn't the current developer's guide qualify as something similar?

where as the code is what actually executes within the operating system and carries out the protocol rules?

and why NL, do you believe it would've prevented what we have going on now?
The Bitcoin Core is in such bad shape that fully specifying its behaviour is indistinguishable from impossible.

You could say this is Satoshi's fault. What we now call Bitcoin Core started out life as a prototype and evolved into its present condition - it is not an engineered piece of software.

I think the best course of action would be to acknowledge that the prototype has served its purpose and retire it in favour of treating a non-prototype codebase as the reference implementation for which a specification can be written.

Doing that would have the beneficial effect of increasing the number of developers who can participate, since the reference would be more understandable and better documented.
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June 02, 2015, 03:46:53 AM
 #25284

i read about this here one time but i don't fully understand it nor the implications, not being a coder.

a spec is a written, detailed, normal language description of how the protocol works, is that correct?  wouldn't the current developer's guide qualify as something similar?

where as the code is what actually executes within the operating system and carries out the protocol rules?

and why NL, do you believe it would've prevented what we have going on now?
The Bitcoin Core is in such bad shape that fully specifying its behaviour is indistinguishable from impossible.

You could say this is Satoshi's fault. What we now call Bitcoin Core started out life as a prototype and evolved into its present condition - it is not an engineered piece of software.

I think the best course of action would be to acknowledge that the prototype has served its purpose and retire it in favour of treating a non-prototype codebase as the reference implementation for which a specification can be written.

Doing that would have the beneficial effect of increasing the number of developers who can participate, since the reference would be more understandable and better documented.

but there is truth to the fact that those embedded bugs and general messiness somehow "contribute" to the behavior of how the system works in unknowable but apparently predictable and stable ways which seem to work.  by changing those bugs or trying to clean up the mess, someone somewhere along the line will disrupt the predictability to where how the code operates may become unstable or unpredictable.  that would be bad.  it would take someone or some group truly exceptional to be able to rewrite the entire code and have it function exactly like it does today.  and with billions on the line, that would be a tremendous responsibility for a volunteer, would it not?
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June 02, 2015, 04:27:04 AM
 #25285

Against rewriting an entire codebase
http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000069.html

On the importance of having a spec
http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000036.html
http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000035.html

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June 02, 2015, 04:38:59 AM
 #25286

Gavin's strength is his maturity and calm demeanor, imo.  he'll win if it comes down to a battle.

Nope.  Szatoshi will back Back and Maxwell.  The cypherpunks will stick together (or hang separately).

You should change your handle to 'FrappuccinoDoc.'   Grin

The difference between bad and well-developed digital cash will determine whether we have a dictatorship or a real democracy.  David Chaum 1996
Fungibility provides privacy as a side effect.  Adam Back 2014
"Monero" : { Private - Auditable - 100% Fungible - Flexible Blocksize - Wild & Free® - Intro - Wallets - Podcats - Roadmap - Dice - Blackjack - Github - Android }


Bitcoin is intentionally designed to be ungovernable and governance-free.  luke-jr 2016
Blocks must necessarily be full for the Bitcoin network to be able to pay for its own security.  davout 2015
Blocksize is an intentionally limited resource, like the 21e6 BTC limit.  Changing it degrades the surrounding economics, creating negative incentives.  Jeff Garzik 2013


"I believed @Dashpay instamine was a bug & not a feature but then read: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=421615.msg13017231#msg13017231
I'm not against people making money, but can't support questionable origins."
https://twitter.com/Tone_LLT/status/717822927908024320


The raison d'être of bitcoin is trustlessness. - Eric Lombrozo 2015
It is an Engineering Requirement that Bitcoin be “Above the Law”  Paul Sztorc 2015
Resiliency, not efficiency, is the paramount goal of decentralized, non-state sanctioned currency -Jon Matonis 2015

Bitcoin is intentionally designed to be ungovernable and governance-free.  luke-jr 2016

Technology tends to move in the direction of making surveillance easier, and the ability of computers to track us doubles every eighteen months. - Phil Zimmerman 2013

The only way to make software secure, reliable, and fast is to make it small. Fight Features. - Andy Tanenbaum 2004

"Hard forks cannot be co
cypherdoc
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June 02, 2015, 04:44:46 AM
 #25287


that was a great read. thanx.

i had suspected as much.  not being a coder but watching dozens of coders here and on reddit criticize bitterly not only Bitcoin's code but other code as well, i always got the feeling that it is just a given that everyone criticizes everyone elses code either out of envy or just trying to appear smarter than everyone else.  it's not like anyone can really tell or hold them accountable.  Peter Todd fell right into that trap yesterday on LTB with that stupid remark that Satoshi made a mistake.  just who the hell is Peter Todd?  answer: just an armchair critic who hasn't done anything significant with his life.  Satoshi was the best thing that ever happened to him; he provided himself as a target that can't defend himself from the likes of Peter.
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June 02, 2015, 04:51:23 AM
 #25288

Gavin's strength is his maturity and calm demeanor, imo.  he'll win if it comes down to a battle.

Nope.  Szatoshi will back Back and Maxwell.  The cypherpunks will stick together (or hang separately).

You should change your handle to 'FrappuccinoDoc.'   Grin

Bitcoin XT is a poison pill for all the newbs and unwary, certain bug fix commits that went into Core have already been omitted. Both Hearn and Andresen have been covertly anti-privacy from day zero, paying it only lip service when pressed. Don't trust it or them. Not to mention it is poorly maintained and totally untested. I can't believe I'm reading such a mad approach being championed on these pages ... it's like a twilight zone episode wtf are you people thinking !!! following Pied Pipers now?

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June 02, 2015, 04:54:57 AM
 #25289

Gavin's strength is his maturity and calm demeanor, imo.  he'll win if it comes down to a battle.

Nope.  Szatoshi will back Back and Maxwell.  The cypherpunks will stick together (or hang separately).

You should change your handle to 'FrappuccinoDoc.'   Grin

Bitcoin XT is a poison pill for all the newbs and unwary, certain bug fix commits that went into Core have already been omitted. Both Hearn and Andresen have been covertly anti-privacy from day zero, paying it only lip service when pressed. Don't trust it. Not to mention it is poorly maintained and totally untested. I can't believe I'm reading such a mad approach being championed on these pages ... it's like a twilight zone episode wtf are you people thinking !!! following Pied Pipers now?

both versions are on github.  Hearn's claims there is only 2 functional differences.

how hard would it to run a diff?  shouldn't be.  have you?
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June 02, 2015, 05:02:13 AM
 #25290

I'm working for Nick Szabo.

Quote
Szatoshi will back Back and Maxwell.

enough with the hints, spill the beans please.
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June 02, 2015, 05:04:04 AM
 #25291

Bitcoin XT is a poison pill for all the newbs and unwary, certain bug fix commits that went into Core have already been omitted. Both Hearn and Andresen have been covertly anti-privacy from day zero, paying it only lip service when pressed. Don't trust it. Not to mention it is poorly maintained and totally untested. I can't believe I'm reading such a mad approach being championed on these pages ... it's like a twilight zone episode wtf are you people thinking !!! following Pied Pipers now?

wish there was a thanks button on BCT
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June 02, 2015, 08:46:55 AM
 #25292

I singled out the first posts by 2 core Devs. to get a taste for there personality in the wild - early days when everyone was working nicely.  (note if you read it, many other devs. are quite encouraging.)
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=122013.msg1331489#msg1331489
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=122013.msg1389749#msg1389749

Sorry need to quote the first one explicitly:

All rules I found are enforced. I am eager to learn any outstanding.
The biggest deliverable is serious testing.
I would love to get this production ready this year, but since I only work on this on my spare time and my family has other plans with me around Christmas, I can not commit.

Okay. You're missing at least one important rule, but I don't know what else is missing that I missed in review.

Unless you object, I'm contemplating keeping this missing rule to myself for now so that it can function as a test of the testing. E.g. if the test don't find it, they're incomplete.  Obviously I don't want to withhold information which could undermine the network, but absent better testing the software shouldn't be in production use anyways... and there are scarcely few good ways of testing the tests.   Does this sound reasonable to you?


My english vocabulary is not wide enough to define how presumptuous gmaxwell's reply was. Thanks for the pointer Adrian, very informative.

Bitcoin is a participatory system which ought to respect the right of self determinism of all of its users - Gregory Maxwell.
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June 02, 2015, 09:03:53 AM
 #25293

...
There are issues among such a group of people that we probably can't hope to understand. The politics, the interpersonal clashes, the miscommunications, the lingering grudges tinting things. Again, I think your implication may be right, this may be more a social issue than a technical one.

Interesting. I decided to read all Greg's recent posts and found one which makes his position much clearer.

Quote
There is a soft blocksize limit in addition to the hard one. Originally it wasn't easy to adjust. We ran into the soft limit, and were pushing into it for months at a time back at the end of 2012 and beginning of 2013. Transactions slowed down and there was some complaining, but the wheels did not fall off and Bitcoin's adoption grew substantially during that time. A lot of technical innovation happened then-- in particular replace-by-fee was invented and child-pays-for-parent was deployed. After the soft limits were increased, development on these improvements went fallow, sadly (e.g. CFPF was never merged, or matured to a merge ready state, in Bitcoin Core).
The experience we have says there will not likely be a dire emergency. We also have reason to believe, from the prior accidental quasi-hardfork, that the mining portion of the network can be updated within a day or two during an actual emergency. A straight-forward blocksize bump also has the benefit of being completely compatible with existing SPV clients (they can't see the blocksize). If there really were a dire situation where it was larger blocks or doom-- I'm confident that larger blocks could be deployed quickly without much trouble; and in that kind of situation: consensus would be easy. No matter how concerned people are about larger sizes, if the choice is really larger or a useless network, the former is preferable to everyone. There is also plenty of room for other creativity, as we saw before in 2013, should the need arise, but it can be hard to predict in advance.

He doesn't really want to engage in the mechanics of a block size increase right now, because his opinion is that the limit can be safely maxed out. I wish he had said this a couple of years ago in BCT because then the pros-and-cons of letting the limit be hit could have been hammered out before the question of how to change the limit needed addressing (which is the case now). Maybe he didn't say this two years ago because it wasn't his position then?

Compromise is very difficult when one side does not recognize that an urgent problem, or even just that a problem, exists.

He is looking at it from a very technical level. Advantages of hitting the limit is speeding the development of some software components, work in adversity etc, the downside is non-technical: a PR disaster, collapsing price, loss of VC enthusiasm, academics noting that a decentralized community cannot be trusted to manage a global currency. IMHO, these downsides far outweigh the technical, software benefits. It is simply playing with fire.

He also forgets that not all mining pools obeyed the soft-limits in 2013. A few didn't. e.g. when the soft-limit was 250KB Eligius was mining 500, when the soft-limit was 500 Eligius mined 750. There was always some level of extra capacity which does not exist at 1MB.

He repeatedly says that he is worried about centralization, loss of nodes. Well, the fact is the fastest way to kill*off the most nodes at once is to quickly deploy a hard-fork. A hard-fork needs as much time as possible to be as smooth as possible, maintaining the network intact.

*Nodes left on an old fork are not guaranteed to upgrade, some will just switch off.


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June 02, 2015, 09:08:51 AM
 #25294

Bitcoin XT is a poison pill for all the newbs and unwary, certain bug fix commits that went into Core have already been omitted. Both Hearn and Andresen have been covertly anti-privacy from day zero, paying it only lip service when pressed. Don't trust it. Not to mention it is poorly maintained and totally untested. I can't believe I'm reading such a mad approach being championed on these pages ... it's like a twilight zone episode wtf are you people thinking !!! following Pied Pipers now?

wish there was a thanks button on BCT

ah but you can always unintentionally "kudos" gavin's blog posts.



edit: ninjakudos! ^^
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June 02, 2015, 10:56:44 AM
 #25295


He doesn't really want to engage in the mechanics of a block size increase right now, because his opinion is that the limit can be safely maxed out. I wish he had said this a couple of years ago in BCT because then the pros-and-cons of letting the limit be hit could have been hammered out before the question of how to change the limit needed addressing (which is the case now). Maybe he didn't say this two years ago because it wasn't his position then?

Compromise is very difficult when one side does not recognize that an urgent problem, or even just that a problem, exists.

Exactly. There's this weird mismatch in that he should be saying this *first* whenever the debate comes up. I didn't see him even comment on Mike Hearn's "Crash Landing" post, which is nevertheless the one everyone remembers and has in the back of their mind and directly opposes this position.

It's almost like he somehow wants to remain in his pessimistic curmudgeonly state, like he has a vested interest in it (not financial, but emotional/social). He has a way of not addressing the most key issues while looking like he is and looking like he's being the reasonable one. Now that I've read the Press Center thing I can see some parallels.

One classic Gmax thing is to make every statement interpretable in a safe way. For example, today's reddit post where someone was accusing Peter Todd of being biased against an increase because of his affiliation with Viacoin. I don't think there is much merit to the accusation (though that doesn't excuse Todd's sensationalism), but in Greg's reply he said, "Welcome to Reddit, 'Viacoin66'!"

He will say something that looks safe and unantagonizing (just the standard Reddit welcome), but his real purpose is to point out that the account was bran new and imply that it was obviously created to troll Viacoin/Todd. He's probably right about that, but nevertheless it's an example of what I mean where he'll say whatever serves any sort of low-blow purpose in a debate as long as it can be interpreted as not being that. I guess with his security testing mindset he has become Mr. Plausible Deniability.

OK, it's true that a lot of people do things similar to this in debate, but he has it down to an art. It has the effect of making him look blameless unless you know all the context and read between the lines. Again, I suspect this is part of core dev culture, where there is a lot of pressure not to appear inflammatory. Remember Gavin talking about "poisonous people" ruining projects (though he was talking about Luke)?
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June 02, 2015, 11:47:55 AM
 #25296

For completeness, here's Jeff Garzik's view, emphasis mine:

Quote
I have a lot more written down, a WIP; here are the highlights.

- The 1MB limit is an ancient anti-spam limit, and needs to go.

- The 1MB limit is economically entrenched at this point, and cannot be
removed at a whim.

- This is a major change to the economics of a $3.2B system.  This change
picks winners and losers.  There is attendant moral hazard.

- The core dev team is not and should not be an FOMC.

- The bar for "major economic change to a $3.2B system" should necessarily
be high.  In the more boring world of investments, this would accompanied
by Due Diligence including but not limited to projections for success,
failure scenarios, upside risks and downside risks.  Projections and
fact-based simulations.

- There are significant disruption risks on the pro (change it) and con
(keep 1MB) sides of the debate.


- People are privately lobbying Gavin for this.  That is the wrong way to
go.   I have pushed for a more public debate, and public endorsements (or
condemnations) from major miners, merchants, payment processors,
stackholders, ...   It is unfair to criticize Gavin to doing this.

Matt Corallo is "rather strongly against any commitment to a block increase in the near future [without more testing]," but seems like he'd go definitely along with at least some increase on Gavin's time frame (if testing panned out), because when asked by Mike Hearn whether he had a specific, credible alternative to Gavin's plan, he said:

Quote
Yes, doing more research into this and developing software around supporting larger block sizes so people feel comfortable
doing it in six months.

Wladimir van der Laan, who seems to be Gavin's appointed lead for the project now, is "weakly against in the near future" because the solution seems to delay better ones. Seems he'd go along if it came down to a fork:

Quote
I understand the advantages of scaling, I do not doubt a block size increase will *work* Although there may be unforseen issues, I'm confident they'll be resolved. However, it may well make Bitcoin less useful for what sets it apart from other systems in the first place: the possibility for people to run their own own "bank" without special investment in connectivity and computing hardware.

I really don't think we are far from consensus at all, especially for 4-8MB after "more testing" (and especially when there is more urgency). Gmax seems the only real holdout, and even he is for 50% increases repeatedly. Adam Back is still pinning hopes on alternative solutions but I think would go along if it came down to the wire. As for Peter Todd, I'm not sure how much count to give him as he's a little too drama-queenish - if attention moves to XT we know where he'll be Grin
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June 02, 2015, 11:52:45 AM
 #25297

All good points. And yes, Greg's posts are full of clever sub-texts.

He did reply in the dev & tech on Mike's article, but only to hand-wave it away:
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1054181.msg11318788#msg11318788

It remains curious to me that such a strongly written article was largely ignored by the dev & tech contributors, who sometimes debate the minutiae of an obscure software topic. There was no attempt to determine whether Mike is broadly right or not, and maybe Greg's reply "put-off" other people echoing the concerns.

Those quotes are nice to see in one place. Some evidence of flexibility overall.

Yes, Luke was tagged "poisonous". He runs Eligius which I mentioned earlier, never played ball when the soft-limits were being tested, though Greg omits this fact, and any criticism of Luke for it.

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June 02, 2015, 12:21:15 PM
 #25298

He did reply in the dev & tech on Mike's article, but only to hand-wave it away:
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1054181.msg11318788#msg11318788

It remains curious to me that such a strongly written article was largely ignored by the dev & tech contributors, who sometimes debate the minutiae of an obscure software topic. There was no attempt to determine whether Mike is broadly right or not, and maybe Greg's reply "put-off" other people echoing the concerns.

I did feel that Mike was pushing his points a little unfairly at times in the article, but then it should be relatively easy to bat them down. Greg's response was decent, especially his first point, but it seems like something that will come down to technical points I wouldn't know enough about to judge.  I went ahead and bumped the thread in hopes of getting more responses.

The fact that Greg neglected to point out the Elegius pool's ruining the "test" at the soft limits shows his propensity to grasp at whatever straws look plausibly available as long as it will advance the stance he wants to defend. (Again an unfortunately common debating practice, even in Mike's article and this thread, but once again Greg has it down to an art. Mike it's easy to tell he's doing it; Greg not so much.)

I also note that Matt Corallo actually pointed out that the lack of discussion on some points and seemed to find it odd as well. Sounds again like something interpersonal.
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June 02, 2015, 12:39:49 PM
 #25299

but there is truth to the fact that those embedded bugs and general messiness somehow "contribute" to the behavior of how the system works in unknowable but apparently predictable and stable ways which seem to work.  by changing those bugs or trying to clean up the mess, someone somewhere along the line will disrupt the predictability to where how the code operates may become unstable or unpredictable.  that would be bad.
The problem is that there are two very different things in play here:

  • How humans think the Bitcoin protocol behaves
  • What Bitcoin Core actually does

There is no case where a divergence between these two things is good. It means that despite years of effort Bitcoin Core is in some ways still a black box capable of surprising behaviour instead of predictable behaviour.

We have no guarantee that Bitcoin Core is self-consistent (like it wasn't in March 2013). Due to the way that code was written, it's likely that we never will have such a guarantee.

The only way out of this mess is to deprecate Bitcoin Core in favour of more-specifiable implementations as rapidly as possible.

If Bitcoin Core (and derivatives) were a minority of the nodes in the network, then the next time one of Bitcoin Core's surprises manifested it would be a problem that a minority of the network would need to fix instead of newly-discovered behaviour that the entire network would need to implement.

it would take someone or some group truly exceptional to be able to rewrite the entire code and have it function exactly like it does today.  and with billions on the line, that would be a tremendous responsibility for a volunteer, would it not?
That work has already been done by the authors of btcd (btcsuite).

They do have some truly exceptional developers, particularly davec.

That he receives snubbing, derision, and personal attack for his efforts is a major example of how toxic and dysfunctional the Bitcoin development culture has become.

Nope.  Szatoshi will back Back and Maxwell.  The cypherpunks will stick together (or hang separately).
Some cypherpunks would do well to engage in soul searching regarding the question of so many of their flagship efforts (PGP) have been market failures.

Knowledge of cryptography doesn't automatically translate into understanding business, economics, engineering, or interface design.
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June 02, 2015, 01:25:03 PM
 #25300

We have no guarantee that Bitcoin Core is self-consistent (like it wasn't in March 2013). Due to the way that code was written, it's likely that we never will have such a guarantee.
If memory serves 2013 hardfork was more a "dependency" bug imho. Client with ver <= 0.8.0 cant's store block bigger than 512KB due to a Berkeley db default misconfiguration. It could have happened with any other external tool used by the client.

That said I fully agree that we need to decouple the protocol definition from bitcoin core.

In that regard what do you think about the plan to isolate the consensus code in a separete library?

Bitcoin is a participatory system which ought to respect the right of self determinism of all of its users - Gregory Maxwell.
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