Version control systems

Ian Lynagh igloo at
Tue Aug 12 07:31:12 EDT 2008

On Sun, Aug 10, 2008 at 08:17:50PM -0400, Norman Ramsey wrote:
>  > On Sat, Aug 09, 2008 at 06:56:23PM -0400, Norman Ramsey wrote:
>  > > 
>  > personally I would much prefer to see money spent on making darcs
>  > better, for reasons I won't repeat again.
> I missed them and wouldn't mind receiving a private note.

OK, I'll send to the list so that I have somewhere convenient to point
people if this comes up in the future:

* A lot of darcs's functionality could be refactored into generally
  usable Haskell libraries, e.g. LCS-finding, downloading-with-libcurl.

* darcs was once a flagship Haskell application, supporting the idea
  that Haskell can be used in the real world. That image has mostly
  faded away now due to the problems it has, but I think we can get it
  back if we can get a high quality darcs out there. That would be good
  for the community's image.

* darcs has (in my opinion, at least) a much simpler, more intuitive
  interface than the other version control systems. I don't think I'm
  alone here, as I think this is where a lot of the resistance against
  moving to git is coming from.

* I think darcs is the Obvious, Right way to do version control.
  Phil Wadler (at least, I think it was him; and probably many others
  too) has said that the lambda calculus is universal, in the sense that
  if we were to meet a sufficiently advanced alien culture, it is almost
  inconceivable that they would not have also discovered the lambda
  calculus. Darcs-style patch theory, before conflicting patches are
  introduced, falls into the same category in my opinion. (I'm not yet
  sure if it can be extended to include some definition of conflictors
  too). By contrast, the heuristics and multiple merge algorithms of
  other systems feels very ad-hoc.


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