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Subversion saved the day

From: Eric S. Raymond <esr_at_snark.thyrsus.com>
Date: 2005-07-28 19:53:57 CEST

For anybody on the GPSD mailing list who missed it, the last hour of
traffic is among other things a demonstration that moving gpsd to a
Subversion repository was a Good Thing.

When Rob's report of total breakage came in, we were at rev 3027.
The way I zeroed in on the bug was to svn -r up 2900, build, test
on a live GPS, and verify that it worked. Thereafter I binary-searched
the revision sequence looking for the commit that broke communication
with the GPS.

Because of Subversion's unitary commits on the whole tree, there was
only one revision sequence for the whole tree. Under RCS or CVS I
could only have searched this way if I'd had the foresight to tag
every single group of commits. But with Subversion I found the bad
commit in less than ten minutes and had it backed out in another
thirty seconds.

OK, it helps that the bad commit was late last night rather than three
weeks ago. But the search cost would only have risen as the log2 of
time. This is a very efficient way to pin down breakage.

Thank you, Subversion maintainers. Take a bow; you've earned it.

		Eric S. Raymond
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Received on Thu Jul 28 19:55:07 2005

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