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Re: deleting rcs keywords from emacs sources

From: Andre Spiegel
Subject: Re: deleting rcs keywords from emacs sources
Date: Thu, 25 Mar 2004 08:45:08 +0100

On Tue, 2004-03-23 at 22:47, Miles Bader wrote:

> > I often send files back and forth, and frequently I need to decide what
> > version I'm looking at, with the file being isolated from its version
> > control history.
> Er, if you're making changes outside of CVS than the keyword info isn't
> going to be very useful, is it?

This has nothing to do with changes outside CVS.  The scenario usually
goes like this: Somebody reports a bug, I fix it.  The user doesn't have
CVS access, my fix is not readily backported into the version of the
file he has, so I send him the entire current source file.  Later, that
person has another problem, and reports it along with the version number
of the file I sent him.  Without version numbers in the files, this is 
very difficult, if not impossible to keep track of.

Now, *if* changes outside of CVS happen, then the version numbers in the
file at least give you a clear indication what CVS version this file was
based on, and then it's trivial to find out what these changes were,
relative to the corresponding CVS version.  This is very difficult to
find out if you have no idea what CVS version the file was based on.

I could go on and on with scenarios that are not Emacs-related, but
where version numbers also play an important role.  For example, people
sometimes print files on paper to carry into a review meeting.  Files
get deployed to machines with no access to the version control system
etc. etc.

> > I find it completely natural, even essential that a file is stamped with 
> > the 
> > version it contains, the stamp being a part of the actual contents of the 
> > file.
> I've seen others say this too, and I suspect that's a major reason people use
> rcs keywords -- it gives them warm fuzzies.

I think the scenarios above show the contrary.

> These keywords are the sort of thing that may seem like a great idea at
> first, but which come back to haunt you later (as we now see :-)

I used to think that the keywords, being a huge benefit for myself, did
not cause any trouble elsewhere.  But if they really do, then the cost
vs. the benefit needs to be weighed of course.  As it appears that
several people are suffering trouble, I won't insist on my objections.

In the general case (i.e. outside Emacs development), I firmly believe
that this needs to be handled properly, because surely, many projects
and shops will insist on having such a feature.  If it takes effort to
reconcile this with merging etc., so be it.  A feature is not bad just
because it is non-trivial to implement.

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