version control and LIP

Graham Klyne GK at
Mon Mar 15 10:39:08 EST 2004

The computing world is sooo full of new tools and techniques to be 
mastered;  each new tool, even if quite modest in its demands on a user, 
can become a drag on getting a project off the ground.  (I recall an 
argument from the old look-and-feel copyright wars:  the users have *much* 
more investment in a particular user interface than the software developers.)

So, speaking for myself:  I use CVS locally, and I'm slowly getting the 
hang of using it remotely, via SSH.  I also like the fact that it has a GUI 
front-end on Windows systems in the form of WinCVS.  I'm not enthusiastic 
about learning any other version control system, unless the added benefits 
are truly compelling.

Reading ahead this thread, I feel I should try and indicate what I think 
would be improvements:
- more obvious functionality, especially for simple operations like adding 
new projects/directories/files and retrieving them to new workspaces, and 
fetching updates to existing workspace (CVS seems a little quirky in this 
- secure remote operations "out of the box" (or "out of the installation 
kit").  (I have found that getting WinCVS to work with SSH has been a 
somewhat muddled process.)
- widespread tool availability, including repository hosting on Linux and 
Windows platforms, preferably with a simple and obvious GUI-style front-end 
(also multi-platform).
- repository compatibility/cross-accessibility (what do I do with all my 
old CVS repository data?)

It's difficult for me to see any of these as truly compelling for 
change.  Maybe:  "easier to use, especially for common functions and secure 
remote operations" might just win the day for me.

I've never really had to deal with large-scale multi-user projects, so 
there are probably possible improvements in that area that don't appear on 
my radar


At 14:32 12/03/04 -0500, Isaac Jones wrote:
>I've been using the arch (tla) version control system for the Library
>Infrastructure Project.  Since its designed to be distributed, arch
>has many advantages over a system like CVS.  You can read about them
>So I'm thinking about how to proceed with the VC of LIP.  Someone
>asked me to move it to the central CVS repository, and someone else
>asked if I would move it to darcs.
>I'm using arch at work, and since I'm interested in such system, I'm
>using darcs at home for my Debian packages (darcs is in Debian
>unstable now, by the way).  Darcs is written in Haskell.
>I know I've harassed several of you to read about arch, so my question
>is, will anyone throw tomatoes at me if I switch to CVS or darcs?  Is
>anyone else using my arch repository?
>By the way, the Library Infrastructure Project is still moving
>forward; I've been sending patches for stuff we'll need to the
>upstream author of HMake (CC'd).
>Libraries mailing list
>Libraries at

Graham Klyne
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