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Re: deleting rcs keywords from emacs sources

From: Juanma Barranquero
Subject: Re: deleting rcs keywords from emacs sources
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 2004 15:01:59 +0100

On Tue, 23 Mar 2004 08:13:16 -0500
Miles Bader <address@hidden> wrote:

> Keywords are just a generally stupid idea, so that's hardly an advantage

Well, no. Keywords are wrong, perhaps, the way they're implemented in
CVS; but is a fact that lots of people find them useful, so dismissing
them as stupid is not very useful, I think. And I'm not defending my
turf here: I don't like keywords and I've never used them.

But quite recently there was a thread on the Subversion list about $log$
(which Subversion *does not* implement), because a guy explained how
they used it to track sources and releases, etc. They had a complex
system, which worked fine for them all allowed them to do *exactly*
what they wanted, and it depended heavily on $log$. Granted: there are
other ways of doing the same things; but that does not mean they aren't
useful, or perhaps *the* right answer to some problems, even.

> I don't use windows so it's hard for me to judge, but I believe there are
> several ports of tla to windows, it's just that none of them is free from
> dependencies on particular non-standard environment (cygwin or various
> microsoft environments, etc).

AFAICS, there is no official Windows port. The existence of home-brewed
ports eases the problem, but doesn't solve it. I could, after all,
compile my own tla; but I'm interested in hacking Emacs, not arch, so I
don't see why should I be forced to do that. What I mean is: before
considering whether to switch to another VC, wide disponibility of the
tool (not in number of platforms, but in number of potential developers
able to use it) should be considered paramount. Perhaps I'm biased
because I'm on Windows :)

> Yes -- it's much, much (much) better than CVS (and subversion).  This is
> _not_ an advantage of subversion.

Sorry, but "much better" is subjective. I know, at least a bit, what
decentralized VC systems (like BitKeeper and Arch and Monotone) do, and
I agree that it *is* interesting and useful; but I don't think I can
unconditionally agree that it is "better" than the centralized model of
CVS and Subversion and other tools. Decentralized seems to work for
Linux, partly because there is a "centralized repository", known to the
world as Linus Torvalds (I know I'm simplifying there). But a
centralized model is good for quite a lot of environments, and most free
and open-source projects have been developed that way for thirty years.
That's why I mentioned Apache: they're high-profile, and they don't seem
afraid of going to Subversion, so clearly there's not much they find
lacking on it.

(And BTW, speaking of decentralized, there's svk: a BitKeeper-style VC
system built on top of Subversion.)

> Actually I suspect that arch would is likely easier, despite the differences
> -- its network model is extremely flexible and simple, and it has none of the
> special hosting requirements that subversion does.

Subversion requires Berkeley DB 4.0.X or 4.2.X, and, *if* used as an
Apache module, httpd 2.0.48+; having Python is a plus, but not necessary.
Not much more, I think. With respect to ease of porting, you convert the
repository with cvs2svn.py (preserving all history, tags, branches, etc),
install the Apache module, define the access model, and that's all.

> I say "is" because as you might know, there's _already_ an emacs arch archive
> (synchronized with CVS), which could take over from CVS quickly if the
> developers wanted that

Yes, I know. But I'm not letting the fact that there's already an
alternative trick me into believing this is necessarily the best one :)

> You might want to check the emacs-devel archives: there was a big thread on
> this about 10 months ago -- and at that time I was tentatively on the
> subversion, for many of the reasons you gave above.  Now that I've seen
> personally how superior arch is, I'm firmly in the arch camp.

Well, I'm in no camp, other than the non-CVS one. I firmly believe
switching to another, better VC would be a good move for Emacs; and I
also think that doing it to Subversion would be easier and safer (in the
sense that Subversion seems a stable, well-maintained and active
project: my admittedly subjective view of arch is that of a on-and-off
development effort with very few contributors).

All that said, if Emacs switched to arch and I had good, up-to-date
tools to access it from Windows I wouldn't complain. But still think
Subversion is a better match to our needs.


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