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Re: Subversion, decentralized version control, and the future.

From: Mark Reibert <svn_at_reibert.com>
Date: 2007-07-10 08:02:14 CEST

On Mon, 2007-07-09 at 09:23 +0200, Folker Schamel wrote:
> Mark Reibert wrote:
> > This approach works only if all the users behave well; that is, place
> > their tags in /tags. In my experience this is not always the case. The
> > less experienced users will start copying files all over in /trunk
> > because they do not understand the convention, whereas the experienced
> > users may be inclined to start tagging in /trunk just to side-step the
> > attempted controls.
> >
> > Thanks,
> > Mark
> Well, no tagging mechanism on earth can prevent this.
> The only way to prevent this would be using a version control system
> which does not support directory copying.
> And even then, a user always can emulate private tags
> by just making a local disk copy of his working copy.
> I think you have a social problem, no technical problem.

Of course ... there is certainly a social aspect---and possibly even a
large one---to this problem. As I wrote, there are no problems if all
users behave well!

But I don't want to get too far off track. My point is simply the
technical solution is more complicated because tagging is based purely
on convention. The corollary is it becomes easier for users to avoid the
SCM process one is trying to implement, often times simply because they
do not remember the convention.

The tagging-by-convention model in SVN is manageable in a code-centric
environment where large chunks of the repository (often the entire
trunk) are tagged as a unit, by someone who understands what he is
doing. My frustration stems from attempting to use SVN/TSVN as a
revision tool for general-purpose documentation. Try to explain to your
PHB who is working on a contract nested 8 directories deep in the
repository that he should create the same directory structure in this
other, magical "tags" place and copy his file in there. He will look at
you like you are drunk and just copy "foo.doc" to "foo 7/9/07a.doc".
(Using the stupid U.S. non-sorting m/d/yy date format - and I am an
American so I can write that! ;-). My belief is I would have much better
luck if instead I gave the same PHB a simple command that works "in
place" so he does not have to abstract himself outside of his single,
8-level-deep directory.

Maybe you are right ... I guess it is a social problem!


Mark S. Reibert, Ph.D.
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Received on Tue Jul 10 08:02:48 2007

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