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Re: [PROPOSAL] Merging Improved

From: Tom Lord <lord_at_emf.net>
Date: 2003-04-14 07:59:37 CEST

> From: Greg Hudson <ghudson@MIT.EDU>

> On Sun, 2003-04-13 at 20:23, Tom Lord wrote:

>> Yet, under Sander's proposal (making reasonable assumptions about how
>> he fleshes out tree-deltas), there is _no_ directory in a project tree
>> that reliably records the merge history of that project tree.

> Wouldn't the root of the project tree qualify, since changes to
> files bubble up through parent directories to the root? (This
> of course depends on how tree deltas are fleshed out.)

Well, help me out here. If merge records "bubble up" that way, then
the merge records for the shallow-depth subdirectories of / in the fs
namespace will grow to be huge. And if they don't bubble up that way,
then indeed, there is _no_ directory in a project tree that reliably
records the merge history of that project tree.

>> Second, are you saying that "CollabNet's commercial interests"
>> do not have a significant impact on those core developers who
>> are employed by svn or that they do not, in turn, have
>> significant impact on the plans for and design of svn?

> Given how many times CollabNet has made it clear that it does
> not want to determine the design of Subversion or even determine
> who has commit access to the project, I don't think you'll
> have much success going over the developers' heads to them.

Wow. What paranoid, f'd up language, "going over ... heads".

From what I've heard:

(a) core developers employed by svn have a lot of clout in the svn
    community; they have a lot of influence over design decisions
    and project planning.

(b) the degrees of freedom of those core developers is strongly
    influenced by the business plans of their employer regarding
    svn. After all, a substantial % of their time on svn is
    in service of their employer.

In such circumstances, in all walks of life, civil society makes the
judgement that "There is a conflict of interset there." We _never_
burden people embraced in such a conflict with the responsibility to
separate out concerns (a) and (b). We _always_ assume that even the
most reasonable, well intentioned persons can not separate out such
interests when they collide in a single mind.

In other words: _of course_ CollabNet has strong influence over the
design of Subversion. That is the only reasonable civil assumption.

Is that A Bad Thing? Am I accusing people of Moral Failings for
allowing that influence to persist?

No, of course not. Just the opposite. (Again, deliberately putting
aside the cynical interpretation in favor of the optimistic one.)

What does CollabNet "bring to the table?"

Well, for one thing, they bring labor. The corporation volunteers
programmer hours ot the project.

For another, they bring market feedback. The "commercial interests of
CollabNet" are, if CollabNet is competently run, indirectly, the
interests of potential commercial consumers for svn.

Awesome, then. In theory, at least, CollabNet is simultaneously a
coherent source of resources for svn development, and an "intelligence
agency" that studies how svn fits into the world beyond the itches of
individual contributors.

So, please, let me try to signal them about what _I_ know about their
markets and the domain of their technology. It's (in theory) not
"going over anyone's head" -- it's addressing the party in the best
position to act with the greatest interest in acting.

Please note that, in contrast, I'm _not_ appealing to Sander to stop
or alter his course. Just the opposite (e.g., I want to make sure
he gets transitive merges right and, even if he _had_ got them
completely wrong in the first place, it's a minor tweak on his
algorithms to fix that). No, Sander, as far as I know, is doing his
thing because it's interesting to work on -- and, even though I've
pointed out that there are larger issues than he's considering that
recommend also taking up alternative approaches, I've also made my
humble effort to make sure his work turns out correctly with the least
amount of wasted effort.

And, maybe, "in contrast" in that previous paragraph isn't quite right
-- I'm also considering CollabNet's goals as far as I know them when I
speak directly or indirectly to them.

It's the win-win scenarios that make the world go. Or something like


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Received on Mon Apr 14 07:49:27 2003

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