Open-source code moves through version-control systems cyclically, and it looks as if one of the oldest open-source software projects in existence, the Emacs text editor, is ready for a change.

In an open letter, Open Source Initiative cofounder Eric S. Raymond expressed his feeling that the bzr (formerly called GNU Bazaar) version-control system sponsored by Canonical is dying. He cited a dwindling developer list, and that even most of Canonical’s in-house projects have abandoned bzr for Git. He concluded that if Emacs doesn’t change with the times, it’ll be left behind.

“The uncomfortable truth is that many younger hackers already think Emacs is a dinosaur—difficult, bulky, armor-plated, and generally stuck in the last century,” Raymond wrote.“If we’re going to fight off that image, we cannot afford to make or adhere to choices that further cast the project as crusty, insular, and backward-looking. As of right about now, continuing with bzr is such a choice.”

Emacs has been hosted on bzr since 2009, and before that spent 16 years in development on the Concurrent Version System, or CVS. Emacs’ first recorded version-control commit dates back to 1985.