Back from Istanbul

 I’m back home. Istanbul was my 2nd guadec and it was really great. I meet lots of interesting people and we had a chance to discuss a bit about the future of Empathy with guys from the People and Soylent project

VCS was a big topic this year. Basicly it seems was can resume it to “svn VS git VS bzr”. I heard nobody speaking about any other VCS. My opinion as maintainer of Empathy on GNOME server:

  • CVS is almost equal to SVN, I’ve  seen no big change of my workflow. In both cases I assume branch is not possible. I know there is lots of scripts and stuff to make branch work a bit… but really, svn DON’T support branches AT ALL compared to git.
  • I’m using git-svn to keep git://git.collabora.co.uk/git/empathy.git in sync with SVN, that’s a pain.
  • All Empathy contributers are using git, only translators still use svn. Keeping svn only for translators (~3 commits per month in Empathy) is stupid. It will lead to some GNOME maintainers to just stop using SVN and move to their favourite system and we won’t have a central place to get GNOME code anymore. That will happen for sure if we don’t do something asap.
  • I have nothing against other DVCS like bzr, I’ve just never tryed them… I’m sure I can be happy with them just like I am with git. So I won’t complain if GNOME moves from svn to any other system, IMO svn is the worst of them all so it can only be an improvement.
  • Please stop speaking of “learning curve”, that makes no sence at all. A new contributor does “svn co <url> && edit files && svn diff > stuff.patch && attach to bugzilla”, using git that translates to “git clone <url> && edit files && git diff  > stuff.patch && attach to bugzilla”. You see, no change! Git is able to make more complex jobs but new contributors don’t need to know them.
  • Whatever to new system will be lots of developers won’t agree, so I think web admins should do just like the release team at guadec: “Here is the plan, and there is no question”. Sometimes there is no otherway to make things going forward. Btw, if the plan is to keep svn I would be really sad, but please announce “We are keeping svn at least until GNOME 3.0 OR $x years OR forever” so we can stop flames.

So far the only good argue I’ve heard against git is portability on Windows and difficulties to port the svn archive to git. I would like to know if that’s still true that git is impossible to run on windows (if it’s just difficult it doesn’t matter, windows is hard itself)? Does bzr make a better job on windows? Is it really difficult to translate an svn repository like gnome to git/bzr?

I really hope that issue will be fixed soon!

8 Responses to “Back from Istanbul”

  1. John Carr says:

    Thank you for not taking a “Git or else” position.

  2. Hello Xavier!

    If it is using git-svn that seems painful, why not fixing this little piece of code instead of bringing major changes to everyone ?

    And won’t you consider me an Empathy contributor, just because I do not use Git ? :)

    (Btw we are at the middle of the month and there are already seven translator commit You should check your numbers.)

  3. Merging changes to SVN throws away useful information. It is a lossy process.

    Any DRCS for me, just as long as it is soon (and I mean no later than 09!)

  4. xclaesse says:

    Fred:
    – I could be wrong, but as Alexander said, it is a lossy process, I don’t think it can be fixed.
    – Sorry I forgot, you are the only one to contribute to empathy using svn.

    Alexander: +1.

  5. ovitters says:

    The intention of a DVCS is to provide better tools to new contributors. So a DVCS should have a lower learning curve (or actually IMO a higher, easy to learn == high learning curve IMO, as you learn a lot in a short time).

    There are no web admins btw. I would’ve announced a switch to Bzr if not for 1) I considered it ready (not yet.. it is a few months away), 2) vocal git users.
    I also talked to some Hg supporters (opensolaris people).

    Thanks to GUADEC I at least partly understand why people like Git. Seems it is because most like knowing what is done with the graph and stuff (which I never want to know about).

  6. BC says:

    “VCS was a big topic this year. Basicly it seems was can resume it to “svn VS git VS bzr”. I heard nobody speaking about any other VCS.”

    You obviously weren’t listening :) A lot of people use mercurial, too.

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