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Re: File date/time stamps seems unworkable

From: Robert Roessler <robertr_at_rftp.com>
Date: 2007-03-01 12:59:16 CET

webinfo@getsoft.com wrote:
> ...
> Andy, Thanks for the prompt reply. I figured that this was probably
> how it works, but it just seems completely brain dead to me. I fully
> appreciate that there can be tricky issues handling time stamps across
> PC's and time zones, but at least give me the option to try and use
> the files last-modified time stamps.
> My previous Version Control System handled this as I would expect, so
> this has come as quite a nasty shock. I really don't want the exact same
> files on different PC's to have different time stamps, and I can't see
> that I'm being unreasonable.
> Backup programs preserve time stamps for a good reason and its like
> saying they might as well not bother.

This used to really trouble me too... I still am sort of bugged
because it *feels* like information (the "starting" datetime stamps)
has been [arbitrarily] discarded.

BUT, a couple of notions for you:

Conceptually, when working with a content management system, it is not
useful to use language (and I mean in writing or in your head) like
"the exact same files on different PC's to have different time stamps"
  - because they are NOT the same file. There is a single canonical
[versioned] copy of the file, and it exists as an abstraction in the
repository... however it may actually be represented or stored.
Anything outside the repo is in a working copy, and comparing one
working copy to another directly is using dubious semantics - or at
least probably not the semantics you think. ;)

As a practical matter (and as already alluded to), *relying* on a
datetime stamp to control delicate build relationships (let alone a
human-readable representation of one) is problematic at best. I
remember the hilarity that ensued when PCs started getting fast enough
that source and object files could have the "same" mod times in the
ol' DOS 2-second resolution time format. The point being that
whatever your time format resolution is, it will eventually become too

The above are my informal viewpoints as a user that help me get
through the day without being overly disturbed by the heinous crime of
discarding perfectly good datetime stamps... ;)

Robert Roessler

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Received on Thu Mar 1 12:59:54 2007

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