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Re: Prefer Mercurial instead of git

From: Alan Mackenzie
Subject: Re: Prefer Mercurial instead of git
Date: Sat, 4 Jan 2014 18:34:58 +0000
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.21 (2010-09-15)

On Sat, Jan 04, 2014 at 12:40:10PM -0500, Jordi Gutiérrez Hermoso wrote:
> On Sat, 2014-01-04 at 18:31 +0100, David Engster wrote:
> > Jordi Gutiérrez Hermoso writes:
> > > bzr has its merits, and I applaud the efforts to give it a nice UI
> > > efforts and its documentation is quite good, but it's obviously not
> > > fit for Emacs. If it were, we wouldn't be having this discussion in
> > > the first place.

> > You keep repeating this, and it is still wrong. We do the switch
> > because Bazaar is dead.

> bzr dying is a consequence of its technical demerits. If it were good
> code, it would survive even in the face of git's popularity, just as
> hg has survived and is doing quite well.

I think bzr was somewhat lacking in good documentation and simplicity.  I
found it quirky to use, and never got to like it, though clearly some
people do like it a lot.

git has prospered, I think, because it is used by Linux (just like C did
because it was used by Unix).

> bzr didn't die merely because of Canonical's involvement. If people
> liked it enough, they would have forked it, maintained it themselves.
> It's free software. It can't be "effectively privatised", like someone
> else said.

There seems to have been something peculiar about bzr that it died so
suddenly.  Maybe maintaining the code had become drudgery.  Normally, I'd
expect a project like that to peter out over many years rather than be
abandoned abruptly like bzr was.

> Darcs has failed to be popular because it was slow and buggy (and
> perhaps because Haskell is much more niche and can't attract enough
> developers, but I'm not so sure about this).

Darcs is still alive though, isn't it?  It would be good if Haskell
became less niche, I think.

> But hg has great architecture, is built by a kernel hacker just like
> git is, it's just as fast and somtimes faster than git, and it has a
> common enough programming language that it has no trouble attracting
> contributors. Like I said, mpm's devotion to keeping hg free and
> GNU-friendly is also a very good point in favour.

I agree with you about Mercurial.  It is vastly superior to git in terms
of documentation and simplicity; it has a single man page written in a
lively compelling style and must surely approach closely the elusive goal
of "as simple as possible but not simpler".  I selected hg for CC Mode a
couple of years ago, and don't regret the decision.

The impression I have of git (though I haven't used it) is that it is the
C++ of DVCSs - loaded up with feature after feature, many of marginal
utility.  I'd love to be mistaken on this point.  I do wonder if new
contributers to projects are ever discouraged by the difficulty of
learning git - it must be an order of magnitude more difficult to learn
to use effectively than CVS or Mercurial.

I would support changing to Mercurial (which I believe has a long life
ahead of it), but accept the sheer weight of numbers of those who like or
already use git makes this most unlikely.

> - Jordi G. H.

Alan Mackenzie (Nuremberg, Germany).

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