Cleaning up old Rust projects

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Created 2024-03-17, last updated 2024-03-17 18:15:56 UTC

I recently learned about the maintainer dashboard feature of I don't think the dashboard is linked anywhere, so you just have to find out about it from somewhere else, but it's a very handy feature. It can point out all sorts of problems with your crates, such as:

I have created a fair number of crates over the years, most of which I no longer actually maintain. Maybe the crate was for a hobby project that I've since moved on from, or for a job that I left years ago. Whatever the reason, I have certainly accumulated a lot of stale crates, and the dashboard made it easy to see them. I spent some time cleaning them up, which is pretty easy to do:

  1. Clone the repo. If it's archived, run gh repo unarchive -y to unarchive it.
  2. Add a note at the top of the readme:
    **This tool is no longer under active development. If you are
    interested in taking over or repurposing the name on, feel
    free to contact me:**
  3. In Cargo.toml, bump the patch version and add this section:
    status = "deprecated"
  4. Commit the changes, push, and publish the final deprecated version of the package:
    git commit -am 'Deprecate' && git push && cargo publish
  5. Archive the repo: gh repo archive -y

Pretty straightforward, and now will ignore the crate because it's deprecated. Better search results for everybody, and if someone wants to take over the name on (whether to start maintaining the crate again, or to replace it with something else entirely), they know who to contact.

Aside: by default, cargo publish compiles the crate before publishing. I could have turned that off with --no-verify, but I was curious to see if compilation would succeed on code that hasn't been touched in years (nine years, in the longest case). Result: other than one crate that required a system dep I didn't happen to have installed, all crates compiled successfully. That would certainly not have been the case with C or C++ projects. Even figuring out how to compile projects in those languages would have taken some effort. As important as memory safety is, this is a good example of how Rust brings a lot more to the table.

Final thought: I kinda wish that had some out-of-band method of marking a crate as deprecated, rather than having to publish a new version that just marks the crate as deprecated. I don't think the current way of doing it is unreasonable, but it would be nice to be able to go into the settings and mark a crate as deprecated there. It would also be nice to have a built-in way to say "hey, I don't care about owning this name anymore; feel free to send an email to <address> to request it". Or maybe even a button that says "click here to just take the name immediately". At any rate, this is just a minor wish. The current method is not bad, just takes a bit more effort.

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