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bart (450)

Journal of bart (450)

Tuesday June 05, 2007
03:56 PM

Linus Torvalds on version control systems

[ #33436 ]

Two days ago, I watched the video of Linus Torvalds' talk about GIT versus other version control systems at Google. It's 67 minutes long, but definitely interesting.

I think I must have checked out almost every freely available source control system last autumn, and in the end, I liked none. Linus seems to have the same sentiment: the most important aspect about a version control system, to me, is easy branching and merging. Otherwise, it's just a glorified archive, merely enhanced with a diff view on the history. There's one of these systems that doesn't even do merge. If you want it, you need a third party tool.

Now, where we differ in opinion is on his insistence that the system must be distributed. He is a huge scale developer, keeping a repository of the entire Linux kernel, with thousands of contributors, while I'm just a small time developer. What I want it for is for maintenance of some CPAN modules and at work, there's only the three of us, so in theory, a central repository would work just as well.

But even for CPAN modules, you can easily consider my personal repository, the one that eventually gets posted on CPAN, and the code from people who fix bugs and submit patches, as separate repositories, which I'd eventually like to be able merge easily. So even at this small scale, the benefit of using a system that is well suited for easy merging in other people's code, would be beneficial. Actually, it makes even more sense to use a distributed system for CPAN work, than for the code of us three at work.

What kills of GIT as a candidate for me, is the fact that it doesn't work on Windows. I can understand that Linus prefers to use just Linux, but I'm not fully converted, and I only use Unixy systems for server roles, not for desktop. And I'm not prepared to have to use an external Linux server just for
the source control system, that would blow most of a GIT's benefits out of the water, at least partly.

So I'm left in limbo. Linus' only other recommendation to look at is Mercurial. I remember trying it out, and it didn't work too well on Windows. Neither did most of the other things I tried, BTW.

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