Re: Distributed SCM in Gnome (Was: Git vs SVN (was: Can we improve things?))

On Mon, 2007-09-10 at 19:18 -0700, Kevin Kubasik wrote:
>  * A major concern is allowing our current translation and documentation
> teams to continue to work without serious interruption. Many of those
> contributers are less technical, or simply have less interest in playing
> around with software to figure it out ;).

With my GDP leader hat on, hacker hat off:

Distributed version control could potentially help the
documentation team in two ways:

1) Maintainers branch when it's convenient for them.  This
is often not when it's convenient for the documentation
team.  So, for instance, let's say that features X and Y
were added to FooApp 2.20.  But our writers only had time
to document feature X.  They continue writing documentation
for feature Y after the 2.20.0 release, so that it can be
included in 2.20.1.

Unfortunately, the maintainers of FooApp branch right after
the 2.20.0 release to implement feature Z.  Now our writers
need to commit feature Y documentation to two branches.  Not
fun.  What would be preferable is if the documentation team
could continue working on a single document, and branch the
document when it's convenient for them.

I'm not an SCM geek.  I don't know the logistics of how we'd
handle this exactly.  But an SCM that's smarter about merges
would surely help.

2) There are downstream modifications to our documentation.
We would like to be able to manage these sanely.  So when
Ubuntu makes a User Guide update that's useful for all of
Gnome, we want it.  But when Ubuntu makes a change that
reflects some change they made in the software, we don't
want it.  But we do want the Ubuntu folks to have an easy
time of managing those changes for themselves.

On the other hand, learning how to do all these things can
be a major obstacle to potential writers.  (We have other
major obstacles as well, like the fact that building the
latest Gnome is no cake walk.)  So while it would be nice
to be able to manage branches independently of developer
branches, our writers shouldn't have to do all sorts of
crap to make it happen.


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