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OT: CVSNT discussion (was: To get some information regarding CVS)

From: Spiro Trikaliotis
Subject: OT: CVSNT discussion (was: To get some information regarding CVS)
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2008 20:30:47 +0200
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.17+20080114 (2008-01-14)


I am answering to the ML only. I am sure anyone interested to follow
here will be subscribed, too.

* On Mon, Sep 15, 2008 at 08:45:42AM +1000 Arthur Barrett wrote:
> Just noticed Spiro's comment on the 22nd August in the thread "Obtaining
> the files modified/created after a failed/successfulbuild of CVS
> repository".

No problem. I just noticed your mail here. ;)

> > Indeed, cvs2svn/cvs2git does not support CVSNT (though it often mostly
> > works if you use the --use-cvs option).  And one main reason 
> > is that the
> > CVSNT format is not well documented.  I've also heard rumors that the
> > format has changed over time, but I don't know if that is true.
> The CVSNT format is the RCS format, it is documented in the RCS man
> page. 

The format: Yes, but not the "tags" as you call them.

> 1a.
> As I have written here and elsewhere in the past - the primary reason
> why 3rd party tools fail to read CVSNT repositories is that they fail to
> ignore tags that they do not understand.

As I never tried to parse CVSNT files myself, I cannot comment on this.
Anyway, thanks for the explanations of what might be the
differences/extentions and/or difficulties of parsing the CVSNT format.
> > If anybody wants to add CVSNT 
> > support to
> > cvs2svn/cvs2git, I would be happy to help them.
> I think the main reason why noone is contributing this effort is that
> people are more interested in moving from SVN and CVS to CVSNT since
> CVSNT provides the features of those other systems plus many more.

I am sorry to say this, but from my experience, this is not the case.

I am quite sure that SVN is taking much "market share" from CVS and
CVSNT. If this is reasonable or not, I do not want to comment it.

> I am regularly approached by project managers and QA managers who want
> to move their organisations to CVSNT (primarily for the failsafe audit,
> but often also for the merge tracking and other features) and who are
> facing 'developer revolts' because the developers will not use anything
> except a SVN client.

<...and removed shameless plug...>

Again, this is not my experience, not my personal one, and not the
experience of many people I am speaking with.

> These questions of Michael's, as with any other CVSNT question should be
> asked on the CVSNT newsgroup.  

Well, Michael just answered to someone who has a question here, and he
told him why it is not supported. That's all.

In the same way as you are answering CVSNT specific questions here, it
is Michael's right to answer other questions here, too.

> If someone has a question and do not ask it of the people who have the
> capacity to answer it then it is unfair to claim that there is no answer
> to the question.

The problem here is mainly that most of the documentation is not
obvious. If Michael (or someone else) goes out and asks on the CVSNT
newsgroup in order to support CVSNT repositories - he can be almost be
sure that this information will not be completely true in the near
future. The CVS people are much more "conservative" when it comes to
introducing incompatible changes. This has its advantages - and, of
course, some disadvantages, too.

> I'm not at all sure what Spiro meant by "reasons *not* to use CVSNT" -
> unless he meant that a reason not to use CVSNT is that we do not provide
> answers magically to questions that are never asked of us

No, that's not true. And I think, we have discussed so much in the past
that you should know that this is not the case.

> and that we
> listen to our users and solve the problems that they are asking to be
> solved.

Of course, it is a good idea to listen to the customers. I would never
question this!

> To me and all our customers and open source users they are
> great reasons to use CVSNT.

Well, again, from my experience, most people who are using CVSNT are
using it because they believe it would be the only way to use CVS on
Windows machines, or because WinCVS (or TortoiseCVS) uses it
"internally". Almost all of them would be perfectly o.k. with "plain" CVS.

> Of course there are many people (like Spiro I believe) who do not want
> the 'additional features' of CVSNT and prefer the 'simplicity' of CVS -
> and for people who understand this then it is a perfectly sensible
> choice to make.  

Well, I do not need most of the additional features of CVSNT. Anyway,
there is one feature that is very important for me: I want to be able to
convert my repositories to other formats if it is necessary. With plain
CVS, I can be almost sure that this will be possible for some time. For
CVSNT, this is not possible even now in many cases.

If it is the fault of CVSNT or of the writers of the 3rd party tools: I
do not know. In fact, I do not care. I just want to be able to do it.
That's my main reason I am not using CVSNT - and I am pretty sure you
already know this.


Spiro R. Trikaliotis                               

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