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Re: Subversion use for Kernel work

From: Zack Brown <zbrown_at_tumblerings.org>
Date: 2003-02-27 17:34:16 CET

On Wed, Feb 26, 2003 at 03:55:24PM -0500, Leeuw van der, Tim wrote:
> Without having read the rest of this thread here yet

The permanent Kernel Traffic link is

>, I would like to say
> that this is, IMHO, a mis-representation of the discussion on the kernel
> lists.
> Several ppl on lkml have voiced their opinions on SVN, but to the best of my
> knowledge Linus has not recently said anything about it. A year ago, when he
> chose BitKeeper, he thought SVN was not good enough yet for what he wanted
> from an SCM system.
> I have not seen since then any comments from *HIM* that he is considering to
> use SVN instead of BitKeeper, or indeed that he is considering to use
> anything else at this moment.
> So I don't think that there's any opportunity at all, at the moment.

I agree. Linus might dump BitKeeper if Larry McVoy becomes enough of an
ass, but I doubt he'd even consider Subversion at this point, even as an
alternative to no version control at all. As Ben said elsewhere in this
thread, the model is just different.

The fact is, BitKeeper didn't just drop into the kernel development
process. It came only after a long period of communication between
kernel developers (mainly Linus) and Larry, to get the base set of
features exactly right.

Subversion will have to go through that ring of fire as well, to have
any hope of replacing BitKeeper. I've done a little ground work on that
myself, and apparently there are two absolute showstoppers that negate
the value of any further discussions until they are solved:

1) speed

2) cross-repository merging

These are so fundamental that it's pointless to discuss any other feature
(in this context) until they are in place. Once you have those features,
you'll be in a much better position to learn what other features might be
required for SVN to be used in Kernel Development.

Be well,

> Besides, I doubt that SVN is already ready for such a task, but who knows, I
> might be wrong on that one :-)
> With regards,
> --Tim
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Bob Gustafson [mailto:bobgus@rcnChicago.com]
> Sent: woensdag 26 februari 2003 17:20
> To: dev@subversion.tigris.org
> Subject: Subversion use for Kernel work
> There is a rather fascinating read at:
> http://kt.zork.net/kernel-traffic/latest.html
> (February 23 issue - might not be 'latest' in a few days)
> Some excerpts are given further below.
> The kernel is being kept in BitKeeper, which is a proprietary system, but
> the proprietors have given free use to kernel developers. This grates on a
> number of open source developers and from time to time (now for example), a
> flame war erupts over the issue. (But you guys know all that already)
> At the moment, there does exist an opportunity for the Subversion community
> to make a full court press on getting subversion adopted for kernel use.
> If it is ready.
> BobG
> ===== Kernel Traffic excerpts below ======
> Andrea liked the 'Binglish' comparison, but said:
> ...
> After we can reach the data we can use any version control system
> we want to manage it, I'm going to write MORE STUPID scripts to do that.
> I'm been told of several giga archives with dozen thousand revisions under
> subversion for istance (I know Al Viro blamed subversion code but if the
> design it's good it may be a good start). subversion may not have all the
> features
> of bitkeeper but we can certainly add them over time, the only thing it
> matters to me is that we get rid of being forced to use a proprietary
> protocol to fetch the data.
> The kernel CVS in more than enough for my/our needs and I thank
> Larry for seeing it was necessary to allow the kernel data to be open. Now
> there's no reason to argue anymore with Larry or Linus, they can choose
> what they can legally use and we can choose what we can legally use and
> what we find more productive in the long run. I really believe in open
> protocols and open source software being superior and a necessary thing in
> the long run, it's not that I advocate people to use open source products
> and then I change my mind and I run proprietary apps to develop the kernel
> (I don't put a smile here because clearly this isn't an obvious thought).
> ----
> And Henning P. Schmiedehausen also said to Larry:
> Linus stated in public that he was/is unhappy with CVS. Without
> Bitkeeper he might use Subversion today. But by using Bitkeeper he made it
> possible that you and your company started using him as your posterboy for
> the "SCM good enough for Linus Torvalds to use". This is IMHO not correct.
> BK is just "the first SCM which came along and was good enough for Linus
> Torvalds to use it".
> I do remember Linus saying that he wants to try out BitKeeper for
> the 2.5 development tree and if it does not work out, switch to something
> else in the 2.6, 2.7... cycle.
> The rift that the whole BitKeeper/BitMover stuff has opened in the
> kernel developer community IMHO justifies such a step forward . I'd like to
> see SVN to be used as an alternative tool. Not because it is better (it
> probably is not, but I haven't had a chance to try out BK because I don't
> qualify for the free license) than BK but because it has no strings
> attached to its usage.
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Zack Brown
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Received on Thu Feb 27 17:35:08 2003

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