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Re: Port Subversion to Java

From: Max Bowsher <maxb_at_ukf.net>
Date: 2004-11-26 23:14:35 CET

Gili wrote:
> Hi,
> This is a continuation of a discussion started here:
> http://subversion.tigris.org/issues/show_bug.cgi?id=2141
> I will quote it for the benefit of everyone (read it from bottom up). My
> response follows (before I quote the original post):
> Ok, ouch, that was harsh :) Max, I am sorry for posting in the wrong place
> but I am new to all of this and
> there is such a thing as newbie mistakes. Sorry again.
> On the talking of BDB Java, I got my information from here:
> http://www.sleepycat.com/products/je.shtml
> If it isn't a 1-to-1 port of the C version please excuse my mistake but
> then
> I would advise you to use
> Hibernate and drop BDB altogether.
> On the topic of porting Subversion, I did not mean to imply that the
> amount
> of work accomplished by the
> subversion project is trivial. I was simply stating that C++ and Java
> being
> close relatives in syntax makes it relatively easy to move between one
> language and the next. You really didn't have to get so defensive. There
> was
> no malicious intent in my post.

If syntax was all there was to it, then a computer could do it. You are
conveniently neglecting all the library interfaces used, which do not have
identical equivalents in Java, and thus require the surrounding code to be

> On the topic of C being more portable than Java ("I think you will find C
> compilers are more widely available
> than JVMs"), that might be true but it is far easier to make Subversion
> work
> under different platforms when it is written in Java than under C. All the
> major and not so major platforms have a full-fledged JVM and making
> Subversion work across all of them is far more trivial than porting that
> same
> code using C. I don't think this argument is disputed by anyone.

A rather sweeping generalization. We already have APR, and it is working
quite nicely for us. I believe that you are advocating fixing a problem
which does not exist.

> On the topic of ease of development, I wasn't trying to imply that it is
> easier to develop under Java as a language than under C as a language.
> Clearly this depends upon the personal experiences and preferences of your
> development team. What I was trying to imply is that in the field of
> networking, XML and DBs there are awsome mature open-source Java libraries
> out there that would do this for you and ease your development. Stuff like
> Hibernate simply does not exist under C/C++ (as far as I know), there are
> many other such examples.

XML, networking, and BDB are all well covered by C libraries.

Recreating an SQL database abstraction layer is a task of considerably less
complexity than porting a large codebase between languages. 60 seconds
googling found that there is already at least some preexisting code in this
area: libdbi.sf.net

> My point is: there is a lot of value added in porting Subversion to Java.
> Yes
> it would require work, but
> there are also advantages there. Please consider them with an open mind
> and
> feel free to discuss them with me on this mailing list.

I have described above why I believe that these "advantages" are of dubious
real value.
However, now I will proceed to the crux of the matter:

In another email:
> Fewster, Robert wrote:
>> Newbie'ness aside, to suggest to a development team that they
>> should move their development efforts to different platform is
>> just plain rude IMHO.
> I suggested a *port* of Subversion to Java. I never suggested you should
> stop developing Subversion in C if you so wish. I simply pointed out that
> there would be benefits to such a version. Why are you guys being so
> touchy?
> This is supposed to be an open-source project right? It's not like I've
> criticized you or anything. I was simply proposing an idea!

To suggest is not necessarily plain rude, but if not, it is woefully
misguided - as is your response to Robert. The point is - who do you expect
to *do* all this porting? (which I believe you are dramatically
underestimating the required man-hours for). There is precious little
motivtion for the existing contributor community to embark on a large and
tedious project, merely to get back to the level of development we are
already at, but in another language.

I suspect that what comes across as "touchy", is in fact a reluctance to
spend much effort responding to an idea which is perceived as clearly a
non-starter by the vast majority.


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Received on Fri Nov 26 23:17:06 2004

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