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"Better CVS" Initiative - Second Revision

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  • Shlomi Fish
    Here is my new version based on input from you and others: Before I start, I must apologize to Larry McVoy for attacking him personally. This was a hasty deed
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 19, 2002
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      Here is my new version based on input from you and others:

      Before I start, I must apologize to Larry McVoy for attacking him personally.
      This was a hasty deed from which we should all abstain.

      RFC: Funds for the "Better CVS"

      Ayn Rand said in "Atlas Shrugged" that any man must make a choice
      between upholding freedom, life and not defaulting on logic or reason,
      or between succumbing to irrationality. Similarly in the free software
      world one must make a choice of holding on to their free software ideals.

      I used to think of myself as an "in for free beer" kind of guy. Use it,
      whether it is free or not. Code. Distribute. Be happy. I still feel no
      guilt feelings or remorse for using proprietary software. Prominent
      examples include: Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, WinZip,
      CoolEdit, PaintShop Pro, xv, Matlab, Borland C++, Delphi, Eudora, and the
      list goes on. I would not hesitate before using them again. But I also
      know there should be a choice between free software and proprietary
      software, and that the free alternative should eventually be up to par
      if not better than the proprietary one.

      We all agree that CVS and Perforce are OK as far as source control
      management systems are concerned. We all agree that ClearCase is very
      powerful but has become bloated, and practically Consultingware.

      We need a better source control system. And we need it as free software.
      Using a proprietary source control system for open-source projects is
      unthinkable. It is ridiculus as claiming that gcc can be proprietary or
      that the Linux and BSDs kernels should be closed-source, or that Perl
      , Python or Ruby should be proprietary languages. The reason is that
      source control is a meta-hack: something developers depend on to write good
      code. As such, it should essentially be free software.

      Luckily for us there are at least three alternatives out there that are
      better than CVS (albeit doubtedly not as good as the commercial state
      of the art):

      1. Aegis - Aegis was created by Peter Miller, a superb UNIX hacker and
      computer scientist, and intended to be the ultimate SCM tool out there.
      Aegis is already mature and usable. Peter Miller has been very quiet
      about getting contributions to Aegis, which IMO, is a good thing.

      2. Subversion - a SCM tool that aimed to be primarily a "better CVS" and
      nottoo much more. Under very active development, and in beta stage now.

      3. Arch - an SCM package by Tom Lord that is already usable. Lord has
      recently requested donations so he can keep working on Arch on his free time.
      My suggestion to him is to not be so desperate: work on Arch for fun.


      There isn't something inherently wrong with Source-control management
      systems that would make them impossible to be developed as open source. But we
      need money to hire competent companies and hackers to do the work for us, if
      we wish to make the situation quicker. This money would be dedicated to
      continuing development of those products, hopefully bringing them more up
      to par with the state of the art.

      What hosting services can do to help, is not to pre-assume developers
      want CVS or only CVS hosting. By all means a public Arch, Aegis or
      Subverion repository will go a long way in accepting them.

      A final note: there is no such thing as "1.0" of SCMs. The ultimate Version
      Control System is somewhere in infinity. There will always be the 2.0 of SCMs,
      as well as the 3.0 etc. Knuth is not God because God has already released TeX
      4.0 and is hard at work on version 5. As I noted once, the number of items
      on a project's to-do list always grows or remains constant. (and some of
      the good Hackers-IL people could find ways to prove it from the second law of
      thermodynamics.)

      Best regards,

      Shlomi Fish



      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
      Home Page: http://t2.technion.ac.il/~shlomif/
      Home E-mail: shlomif@...

      "Let's suppose you have a table with 2^n cups..."
      "Wait a second - is n a natural number?"
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