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Re: dVCS vs. CVS

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: dVCS vs. CVS
Date: Mon, 07 Jan 2008 23:19:20 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.0.50 (gnu/linux)

"Stephen J. Turnbull" <address@hidden> writes:

> David Kastrup writes:
>  > Sure.  The question is whether they are more effective in that manner.
>  > 
>  > Linus Torvalds averages something in the order of hundreds of daily
>  > patch sets for reviewing, applying, handling in the Linux kernel.
>  > He would not be doing that using CVS.
> No, but he did approximate it without any VCS at all.

Reality check.  He switched to using Bitkeeper exactly because he was
not able to keep up with development, getting stressed out, dropping
patches and so on.  And Linux development screeched to a crawl for a
number of months when the Bitkeeper license got revoked and Linus and
others coded git to usability in a frenzy.

So it is disingenuous to claim that Linus is not more effective while
using appropriate version control than when not doing so.

> And, AIUI, that is where Richard is coming from.

But Linus has long long ago left already.

> Admittedly, without a dVCS, to do what Richard does or what Linus used
> to do requires extreme talent as well as discipline.  However, with
> discipline it is possible for any developer to achieve fairly high
> productivity (explicit estimates in this list have been running about
> 20-25% less than with the tool, very small compared to the 10:1
> differences commonly reported for differentials across developers in
> both LOC and defect rate).

It is not that Linus is keeping secret his productivity gains from using
first Bitkeeper, then git.

The reason he was pressured to start using such a system was titled
"Linus does not scale well".  And in contrast to Richard, Linus is not
distracted by as many different tasks as speaker, lobbyist and president
of the FSF.

> Now, I see no reason to believe that Emacs is lacking such discipline.
> The behavior of Richard, Eli, and Alan leads me to believe, on the
> contrary, that there is a powerful discipline here.  If so, such a
> discipline is a more or less fixed investment, that shows up in a
> reluctance to change workflow.  That reluctance is well-justified!

Richard is only intermittently with net access and/or time.  With
distributed version control, managing more than one construction site at
once between checkins and working with experimental code would become
quite easier.  Of course, in the long run we will be better off with a
project manager with better availability, but dVCS would at least soften
the impact of not being continuously available and online.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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