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Re: [Gnu-arch-users] is there demand for itla?

From: Clark McGrew
Subject: Re: [Gnu-arch-users] is there demand for itla?
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 2003 16:25:45 -0500

On Tue, 2003-11-18 at 04:57, Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
> >>>>> "Tom" == Tom Lord <address@hidden> writes:
>     Tom> The question I'm stuck on is how much "demand" there is for
>     Tom> itla.
> So I don't see a naive TTY interface as
> a big area for new demand.[1]

It depends on what you mean by a big area of new demand.  TLA is a
powerful tool that the exemplary users on this list seem to be quite
happy with.  But, for naive users the CVS interface is much cleaner.  My
assertion is that if TLA (ITLA) can "become as easy as" CVS, there is a
huge pool of potential users waiting to dump CVS.  My (abysmal)
marketing sense says that ITLA should initially be targeted toward those

Why would people want to dump CVS?  There are many technical reasons,
but there's also a clear meme that CVS isn't up to big tasks and that
there are very few (no) viable free alternatives.

TLA is a very powerful system and if Tom can capture a significant
portion of the dump CVS mind share I think he will be on easy street. 
Can TLA capture those users?  Time will tell, but one of the requisites
is that it must be "as easy as" CVS.

How is TLA harder than CVS?  Consider

1) A new user wants to get an exported package and stay up to date


cvs login -d "blahfromwebpage" 
cvs get -d "blahfromwebpage" "package"
cd "package"
cvs update

tla my-id "special format"
tla register-archive "foofromwebpage" "blahfromwebpage"
tla get -A "foofromwebpage" "package"
cd "package"
tla update -A "foofromwebpage"

The -A can be eliminated by using "my-default-archive".

2) A new user wants to import source


export CVSROOT="blah"
cvs init
cd new-source
cvs import "repository" "vendor tag" "release tag"
cd ..
cvs get "repository"


tla my-id "special format"
tla make-archive "archive" "location"
tla my-default-archive "archive"
tla archive-setup ... 
cd new-source
tla init-tree ... 
tla make-log ... 
tla import

3) A user wants to connect to an existing project using ssh


export CVSROOT="blah"
cvs get "stuff"


tla register-archive "archive" "location"
tla my-default-archive "archive"
tla get "stuff"

4) A user wants to commit

cvs commit

tla make-log
edit <log-file>
tla commit

In each case, there are good reasons for the TLA interface, but it is a
little bit harder to use and give an impression of being a rough cut.  I
may not be a process engineer, but I know the users I work with and TLA
isn't ready for them.  Tom's suggested ITLA can go a long way to
rectifying the situation.  Fortunately, CVS sets a very low bar and ITLA
can trivially handle the common use cases like the those listed above. 
One of the advantages that ITLA has is that using the idea of a
rule-set, those wrappings can be changed and updated over time.

Clark McGrew                    Univ. at Stony Brook, Physics and Astronomy
<address@hidden>        631-632-8299

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