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Re: bzr

From: Reuben Thomas
Subject: Re: bzr
Date: Thu, 28 Apr 2011 00:50:52 +0100

On 28 April 2011 00:24, Karl Berry <address@hidden> wrote:
>    as an example of the GNU system, and as a template for how
>    GNU packages are written. Does that sound like a fair summary?

As an example of the GNU system, one wants to use only parts of the
GNU system to build it. As a template for how GNU packages are built,
one wants to use the best, most widely-used tools.

> In the case at hand, the added
> complications of dVC are not worth the benefits for all projects.

The more I use dVCSs, the more I'm convinced they're better in all
ways, because they add basic tools useful for both version control
(which is as useful to the individual as to the group) and for
collaboration that the file system and coreutils simply don't provide
conveniently. The increased power for the individual is the best
thing: you can't as an individual really use a centralized VCS, at
least, only in the smallest, lowest-contention projects, and you can't
use them offline at all. The anarchic feel of instant forking
encouraged and enabled by github in particular epitomizes the way in
which the user is liberated and empowered by dVCSs; several years
after first using them and a few after finally being converted, I'm
still just starting to get my head round that.

I am however convinced that a dVCS (whichever it is) is much more
appropriate for GNU: centralized VCSs give power to the administrator,
and as such should if anything be discouraged.

I think the apparent extra complexity is just that: what's really
happened is that rather than having a crude tool for accessing files
with history on a single server, we now have a rich tool for sharing
file histories. Along the way we have added lots of amazing
functionality (git bisect!) that non-dVCSs simply didn't have; that
doesn't count as part of the extra complexity of distribution. Much
complexity has actually vanished, because complicated (and tedious)
manual operations have been automated. But it's only once
functionality has been crystallised into commands that it tends to be
counted as complexity...

None of this helps me choose between bzr & git, though; I'll have a
poke about in GNU and elsewhere and a think and see if anything
reverses my current leaning towards git.


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