Re: Git hosting

On Wed, Mar 5, 2008 at 7:37 AM, Olav Vitters <olav bkor dhs org> wrote:
>  Yeah, I read that, but it wasn't clear *at all*. I now understand you
>  want multiple branches within one directory.. or something. However, I
>  understood it as using sha1 everywhere.. which e.g. bzr has now too (so
>  I considered it as the same). Same for hg.

I don't see how cryptographic checksums and branches within a directory relate.

>  SVN not being nice is well understood. :-)


>  > I crave the wonderful usability of bzr.  In my mind, it's a notch
>  > above the rest.  svn and hg aren't too far off, but bzr has some extra
>  > polish.  However, it has parallels to svn here in that the format is
>  > going to limit its utility to many people.  I was talking to Ian
>  > Clatworthy (bzr dev) about all kinds of bzr and DVCS issues; cool
>  > things in bzr, stuff to put in his writeups, etc.  He did his best to
>  > answer questions and sell bzr, but when I pointed out the most obvious
>  > and painful missing feature in bzr that I'd miss the most from using
>  > git -- being a branch container -- there was simply no response.  The
>  You mean multiple branches with one directory right? Why is that so
>  useful?

For something like release scripts or bugzilla, I don't think it would
be.  But metacity, for example, is a completely different beast.  I've
often felt forced to keep many different checkouts gnome-2-20,
gnome-2-18, etc, plus a few other feature checkouts.  I also often
tend to have dozens of patches sitting around in each that I have to
constantly apply and unapply.  It's a pain.  This is something that
having easy branching and merging would help out a lot with, but in
particular that many branches within a directory help with.

Also, from another point of view...bzr, hg, and svn make branching
more common by virtue of making it easier to handle them, in
particular having good merge functionality.  svn inhibits it greatly,
but we still see a fair number of branches.  That number is going to
get a _lot_ bigger.  Just take a look at how often DVCS fans talk
about branching.  That means to get all the metacity data I need, I'd
have to do half a dozen separate clones.  Ouch.  It means that to get
people's work, if we use bzr, I'd have to potentially do dozens of
clones.  Painful.  To manage my own work, I'd have dozens of
directories.  That's a no go to me.  (It was one of the reasons I
harped on this issue at;
I was hoping other VCSes would see the light and try to gain this

>  > this missing functionality.  Also, if you read through the bzr layout
>  > model and read over their documentation, you find that their
>  > assumption of branch==directory goes all the way to their very core,
>  IMO that is what makes bzr so good in usability. Easy to understand what
>  it does. I sort of get Git a bit more now, and I understand you can link
>  one repos/checkout/whatever to multiple upstream thingies.

I disagree.  It's *one* thing that I agree lends to bzr's usability,
yes, but it isn't the reason for bzr's superb usability.

But, it's also fundamentally limiting.  Severely so, for many of my
use cases.  One thing bzr could do would be to split off documentation
about multiple branches per directory in a more advanced section, or
even potentailly have plugins to provide the additional capabilities
if their plugin system was good enough.  That is, they could do it if
their structure supported it.

>  It more than doubles the cost of development if not all projects use the
>  same thing. Now I have to learn Git as well as Bzr (or whatever). Oh,
>  but I'm a sysadmin. So that means I can't assume most of anything
>  anymore. A project could be hosted in Git; maybe Bzr. To get useful info
>  I have to write scripts that assume Git first then Bzr, maybe something
>  else.
>  Of course, script being scripts is that something will always fail
>  unexpectedly (happens with SVN). So I fix bzr. Next day I'll learn about
>  some sudden failure of some Git command.

Good points.

>  > I think you'd even find people starting to want it with bzr or hg,
>  > really.  Sure, not everyone would want it, but the modules with many
>  > developers will at some point realize these capabilities and start
>  > clamoring for this kind of support...or else roll their own solution.
>  > Even among modules with only a few maintainers you'll see some
>  > adoptions of this functionality.  I've already seen these kinds of
>  > things spring up all over the place, and not just for git.
>  I don't think such a thing is usable. What is the benefit if you have to
>  be an insider to know about such things? E.g. if someone
>  branches/clones/whatever from gtk+, then I want a page about Gtk+ to
>  list the branches/clones.
>  Yes, you could have that in some personal space.. that is just an
>  implementation detail. If I'm some interested person in Gtk+, I wouldn't
>  want to find out 6months later  that e.g. behdad did a lot of nice work
>  in his personal space located *somewhere*.

The point, at least at first, is really more about enabling better
workflow than pushing patches to bugzilla or over email, i.e. it's a
review mechanism.  Thus, discovery of such repos is only really needed
by code reviewers and it quite naturally happens.

Those who prefer centralized development workflows and putting patches
in email or bugzilla are perfectly welcome to do so, but making it
easy for developers who know about newer workflows to directly pull
changes from each other makes code review and even development much
nicer in certain cases.

Notice that some of the same arguments you make could be made about
open source development in general with public repositories...any one
can get their own little svn (or whatever) checkout and do their own
little development.  Why are there thousands of people checking out
the code with their own little working copies?  How does anyone know
that the work is being done on their personal computer located

Yes, there are communication issues if you want your code used.  In
both your scenario and the modified more general open source one.  But
it happens naturally...if you want your code changes used, you have to

>  > git-submodule?  It's a joke IMO.  Nearly no useful functionality yet
>  > and already it has some nasty UI issues and a couple gotchas to boot.
>  >
>  > (Great idea which would be superior to svn:externals, IMO, but the
>  > implementation is extremely lacking at best.)
>  Can you confirm the rest doesn't have this (Hg/Bzr)?

No, I can't.  All I can say is that I've seen very little on this
issue, and what I have seen made it sound like people were considering
developing such capabilities.  But I wasn't that interested in this
issue so I never went looking for it.  I suspect no one has such
abilities, though the KDE->git conversions being talked about heavily
on the kde-scm-interest mailing list (which is interestingly heavily
biased towards git, despite calls to try to get proponents of other
systems involved) seems to suggest they're going to make git-submodule
work one way or another.

*shrug*  Sorry, that's all I know.

>  Nah, it wouldn't be. When you have git on the server, it is easy though
>  right? (git 'easy')

'git easy', yes.

>  > Luckily, bzr, hg, and git all have tools for svn migrations.
>  You know the quality?

Haven't played with them for several months, and hgsvn didn't exist at
the time.  Been meaning to get a more updated look at them.

bzr-svn was slick, but had a list of published drawbacks whose lenght
surprised me a bit; I haven't seen any noise on those being fixed.
However, if you didn't mind manually recompiling subversion to use
some patch out there (will be in some future subversion release
itself) and manually killing bzr-svn and restarting it when it makes
your machine swap like mad (my machine only has 2GB ram; not nearly
enough for bzr-svn except with small modules), the imports it made
seemed to work fine.  There are apparently people out there with
scripts to monitor bzr-svn for when it gets too large, which will kill
it and restart it where it left off.  Sounds scary, I know, but it
actually does work well.

git-svn was clunky and difficult to figure out (surprised?) but worked
like a charm and imported great.  Additionally, Chris Lee and Thiago
Maciera (sp?), IIRC, have built some kind of separate svn fastimport
script and been able to do many conversions of the kde repository with
all kinds of detailed mucking and rearranging with some nice clean
driving input files.  Looked really slick, but I didn't look much
further since I was more interested in incremental svn importing

>  There has to be a *known working proven* solution for translators or
>  we'll have a big problem. Transiflex is one idea. However, it has to be
>  accepted and *working*.


>  I'll try that tutorial again. However, Git is severely lacking into
>  explaining the multiple branches thing, the 'index' and linking other
>  repositories. Further, there is a lot of usage of things you might
>  understand if you're used to Git, but I don't understand at all.
>  'master' ?!? Lots of those btw. Never sure if something is local or not.
>  How it all interacts. Plus you can't ignore it.

Yeah, I feel your pain, and I'm not going to discount it.  It's still
very much an issue.

>  > their built in help is abysmal and worse than telling users "just try
>  > something -- good luck!" (even despite the nasty gotchas lurking with
>  > git).
>  I meant s/things/people/. I talked about l10n, but I didn't want to skip
>  shaunm etc.


>  > I haven't looked at the bindings side myself, but from what I've read
>  > bzr would be the winner here, then hg, and git doesn't have much of
>  > anything at all.  (git is really nice from a shell scripting
>  > fact, it seems like it was designed for someone else to write a
>  > wrapper around it...oh, wait, it was.  Too bad no one has made a good
>  > one yet and published it)
>  I hope the existing user base of Git still allows them to reimplement
>  all commands.

We'll find out soon enough.

>  > >  > - All DVCS can do something like svn export
>  > >  >   $vcs://$$FILE right?
>  >
>  > Yes, they all have it, though they don't idiotically require a URL
>  > like svn (another example of stupid UI that needs a script): svn
>  > export, bzr export, hg archive, git archive.
>  So you can only export a file right? No need for the whole history? Plus
>  it is *fast* even when done externally?

Oops, I missed the $FILE bit.  No idea whether they have it or not.


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