[Reportbug-maint] Merits of VCS tools and workflows (was: VCS metadata noise)

Ben Finney ben+debian at benfinney.id.au
Thu Jul 3 00:31:36 UTC 2008

"Sandro Tosi" <matrixhasu at gmail.com> writes:

> is [using Subversion in a single line of development] really that
> harder than the "workflow" you're using?

Your example ignores the main benefit for which I use Bazaar (and for
which others use Mercurial, git, etc.) which is: easy branching and
sensible merging.

I do all my work on features or bug fixes in "feature branches": a
branch from trunk taken immediately on recognising that there is a
discrete feature to be worked on. I have over a dozen of these in the
short time I've been working on reportbug; on other projects I have
scores of branches over time.

Any time work in a particular branch reaches a point where I feel it
would benefit trunk (or another branch), I can easily merge the work
from that branch using Bazaar.

Not so with Subversion: its branching is error-prone, and its merging
is error-prone *and* primitive. Most users of Subversion that I speak
with consider branching a sin, because merging is so awfully painful.

> Ben, really, use svn, there's no fighting

The lack of simple branching and merging is one of the main things I
refer to by "fighting the VCS tool". I would welcome our project
switching to any VCS that has that feature: Bazaar, Mercurial, git.

Please note, though, that I am *not* making the case to switch our VCS
any time soon. I'm discussing this now only because you directly
discussed the merits of one VCS over another, and I want you to
understand why Subversion *is* painful to use compared to a modern

I don't expect you to convert any time soon, but I do expect you to
see that there are real benefits I get from Bazaar that I do not get
from Subversion. (And, presumably, that Chris gets from git that he
does not get from Subversion.)

 \       “Firmness in decision is often merely a form of stupidity. It |
  `\        indicates an inability to think the same thing out twice.” |
_o__)                                                —Henry L. Mencken |
Ben Finney

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