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... and the others?

... and the others?

Posted Sep 17, 2005 3:30 UTC (Sat) by kevinbsmith (guest, #4778)
In reply to: ... and the others? by ncm
Parent article: Mercurial: an alternative to git

I think Rick Moen's post is a pretty fair summary of many of the other systems.

In my mind, the big distinction between the first generation and the second is simplicity. Simplicity of UI, and simplicity of the underlying model. Gnu arch (tla) was extremely large and complex. ArX and Baz forked largely to simplify it, but they are both still somewhat on the heavy side. Monotone and codeville have simpler UI's, but they require a server daemon which makes them feel non-minimal.

Git (and cogito) popularized the "lightweight" tool, helping increase interest in mercurial and bzr. Of course, darcs had a great (simple) UI long before it became cool to have one, and it remains the most mature of the lightweight options.

There is a revctrl list/wiki/irc for mostly-technical cross-system SCM discussions:
A recent thread discussed which of these apps are likely to survive, but it mostly just emphasized the uncertainty.

Personally, I'm happy to see all these projects advancing so rapidly. None of them quite have all the features I need yet, but I'm optimistic that at least one will within the next few months. I doubt we will see a single dominant distributed SCM tool emerge for at least a year or two, due to different projects having distinctly different requirements.

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... and the others?

Posted Sep 22, 2005 18:35 UTC (Thu) by bos (guest, #6154) [Link]

Kevin, if you need features, just ask :-)

Missing features

Posted Sep 23, 2005 12:54 UTC (Fri) by kevinbsmith (guest, #4778) [Link]

Actually, I have asked. I have been on the ArX, mercurial, and bazaar-ng lists for quite a while now. I was on the git/cogito list until it became clear to me that nobody was working on a user-friendly, command-line front end (such as cogito) that would be cross-platform.

One feature request for all systems is to have an eclipse plugin. As far as I know, only darcs has one, and it is still very preliminary.

I have requested that ArX get a simpler UI. The maintainer agrees that's a good idea, but it will take some serious reworking to achieve.

I have requested that mercurial support cheap branching on systems that don't have hardlinks. My three posts to the mercurial list asking about the feasibility of adding this feature have all, surprisingly, gone unanswered.

The bazaar2 folks have explained their plans to solve that cheap branching problem by adding "centralized storage". I believe they even have some prototypes working, but it looks like it's still a couple months away from being an official part of the product.

There is an experimental monotone add-on that supposedly allows you to serve a readonly repo on a cheap (http-only) web server. If that becomes mature, it might make monotone workable for me. Something similar could presumably be written for codeville.

Missing features

Posted Sep 23, 2005 16:28 UTC (Fri) by bos (guest, #6154) [Link]

We'd all love to have Eclipse plugins, I'm sure, but the unfortunate fact is that the current user communities of the various tools have not contributed any. Whether this is due to lack of interest, time, or experience I cannot say.

If you wanted to write one yourself, I am sure it would be very welcome.

... and the others?

Posted Sep 22, 2005 18:51 UTC (Thu) by Omnifarious (guest, #19508) [Link]

I've looked briefly at these other systems, and all of them seemed too complex to be worth using. The only one I don't have any experience with is Monotone.

In contrast, Mercurial was simple to set up and easy to use. I'm a Subversion user from the early days of Subversion, and it was much easier than Subversion to set up for the first time.

Then, as I started playing more with it, it became quite obvious and clear how I could solve the "I have a work machine, a home machine, and a laptop, and I work on all of them and don't always remember to sync." problem. After that, I was hooked.

None of the other systems I've used have even come close to the external elegance and simplicity of Mercurial. And as I look deeper into its design, it's clear that it's external coherency is a reflection of a set of well-thought-out design principles. So, I guess I'm a convert and can be put into the "It's the greatest thing since sliced bread!" category.

I can understand caution though. It's quite possible there is some fundamental design problem that I'll encounter after I understand it enough. I felt similarly about Java in the mid 90s, and it took me a few years to realize what was wrong with it.

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