User: Password:
|
|
Subscribe / Log in / New account

Ten-year timeline part 6: almost to the present

Ten-year timeline part 6: almost to the present

Posted Feb 27, 2008 21:51 UTC (Wed) by zooko (guest, #2589)
In reply to: Ten-year timeline part 6: almost to the present by nix
Parent article: Ten-year timeline part 6: almost to the present

It continues to bother me that Linus didn't give credit to Monotone in his git release
announcement.  Git at its inception was, as I understand it, a clone of a subset of monotone,
perhaps with the addition of some tweaks that I haven't understood.  That's fine -- it's a
wonderful thing to draw ideas from other people and fit them into your needs, and to extend
them to work better.  It's more wonderful when you give them credit -- that's a useful part of
the scientific process, and people should treat it as a moral obligation to do so as well as
they can.


(Log in to post comments)

Ten-year timeline part 6: almost to the present

Posted Feb 28, 2008 0:04 UTC (Thu) by ncm (subscriber, #165) [Link]

Instead Linus still trash-talks Monotone, even though its implementation is completely
different than when he raided it, and he (evidently) hasn't looked at it since.

Ten-year timeline part 6: almost to the present

Posted Feb 28, 2008 0:16 UTC (Thu) by zooko (guest, #2589) [Link]

Reference, please?

Ten-year timeline part 6: almost to the present

Posted Feb 28, 2008 0:27 UTC (Thu) by zooko (guest, #2589) [Link]

Oh by, Graydon Hoare -- author of monotone -- posted, at the time, his summary of his
discussion with Linus and reasons why he thinks Linus rejected monotone:

http://www.mail-archive.com/monotone-devel@nongnu.org/msg...

I greatly appreciate the way Graydon is precise and to the point while also being soft-spoken
and charitable towards others.  Not to put too fine a point on it, but I find myself
noticeably happier at the prospect of reading something Graydon has written than something
Linus has written.

A related story to "Linus rejects monotone" is "Linus rejects Mercurial".  There is an
interesting thread on lkml about that.  Here is a climactic point where Linus seems to be
wavering about adopting Mercurial instead of git:

http://lkml.org/lkml/2005/5/3/2

I couldn't find the next inflection point -- where Linus decided to keep git.

I think maybe the last word on the subject belongs to the long-lost ntk.net:

http://www.ntk.net/2005/04/29/

"Given the surfeit of next generation systems - including darcs, codeville, arch, monotone,
bazaar, bazaar-ng, vesta, svk, ArX, aegis, we suspect that the winner will be git, just out of
the Mighty Power Of Fanboyism."

:-)

Ten-year timeline part 6: almost to the present

Posted Feb 28, 2008 1:00 UTC (Thu) by drag (subscriber, #31333) [Link]

Well speed was a very very high priority for Linus with Git. His opinion is that it puts a
different dynamic on a feature if it's slow vs fast. That is people will take much more
advantage of features and use them in creative ways if they are fast, and if they are very
slow it makes them very much less useful in real world situations.

Seems like he felt that people were caring about features and code structure (ie being a bit
to academic) rather then concentrating on making quick and essential functionality.

I donno. Stuff your guys are talking about are probably much improved but git exists now and
it's gotten popular so I doubt there is a reason to switch now.

I don't know how this compares to other things like Monotone, BK, or any other 'third
generation' version control system else like that, but it is also important for him that each
developer can have his own private tree local for his own work. That there is no enforced
hierarchy, no secondary players in git-land. No centralized anything. Everything is
distrubted. Each personal repository is on equal footing with everybody else's and all you
essentially have is a multitude of separate git trees that can share code equally. 

There is a lovely talk here:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2199332044603874737


Also keep in mind that jives and insults matter different in different contexts. Friends often
are very insulting to each other were I am from, it's actually quite friendly because they
know that they can behave like that and trust each other not to take it personally. That is as
long as it stays 'good nature'. Reassuringly friendly sometimes. (this does not mix well with
alcohol, though. Not at all) 

I notice that often people don't understand that and they come from a place were politeness
and careful attention to social sensitivities is very important.  This is fine, it's just
different. Depending on context this can be also mis-interpreted and lack of trust/empathy and
taken sort of indicator of a person with a  self-superior attitude.

It's not really that important, but it's something to keep in mind I guess. Of course Linus
can be abrasive and he is proud of it, so lots of his BS just should be ignored completely.

Ten-year timeline part 6: almost to the present

Posted Feb 29, 2008 0:05 UTC (Fri) by graydon (guest, #5009) [Link]

You're wrong, but it doesn't matter. The only thing that really matters -- to anyone outside
those few of us mildly offended by being misrepresented -- is that the idea, and some
implementation of it, is now spreading like wildfire.

The fact that git didn't invent the idea is one of those easily-overlooked juicy details lost
in history. It has technical and political momentum to dominate, so ... run with it.

Ten-year timeline part 6: almost to the present

Posted Feb 29, 2008 12:21 UTC (Fri) by daniel (guest, #3181) [Link]

Hi Graydon,

Nice to see you here, and nice to see you getting credit for the considerable advances you
brought about in the state of this art.

I wonder if anybody will ever chronicle my part in the story?

Regards,

Daniel

Ten-year timeline part 6: almost to the present

Posted Feb 29, 2008 12:46 UTC (Fri) by zooko (guest, #2589) [Link]

Do tell.  I don't know your part of the story.  Nor your last name.

Ten-year timeline part 6: almost to the present

Posted Feb 29, 2008 17:14 UTC (Fri) by graydon (guest, #5009) [Link]

Nice to see you again too! But I must admit to not knowing all the twists and turns of your
part of the story to chronicle them correctly. I know some bits but I'd probably blurt them
out wrong. 

I didn't mean to imply that I invented the interesting ideas in monotone. Merely that it, as a
social and researchy development project, both discovered a few fresh ideas and consolidated /
refined many others, and has subsequently been a ripe source of ideas for its successors. I
did some of the work, but also made a ton of mistakes; the key theoretical work we stumbled
through during the course of monotone development was mostly the doing of others. Jerome
Fisher, Nathaniel Smith, Derek Scherger, Bram and Ross Cohen, Timothy Brownawell, Christof
Petig, Richard Levitte, Zack Weinberg, Peter Simons, Daniel Phillips, Emile Snyder, Markus
Schiltknecht, Paul Crowley ... and a long list of others who I am probably implicitly
insulting by not mentioning here (sorry, limited comment space).

We really lucked out, for whatever reason, in drawing together a group of exceptional people
to mull over the problem and push around potential solutions in code, without anyone getting
too pissy about "being right". It's been a really enjoyable and open community.

Ten-year timeline part 6: almost to the present

Posted Feb 28, 2008 1:43 UTC (Thu) by ncm (subscriber, #165) [Link]

Ten-year timeline part 6: almost to the present

Posted Feb 28, 2008 17:26 UTC (Thu) by zooko (guest, #2589) [Link]

I think part of what bothers me about this story is our Loyal Editor's assertion: "Git was not
the first free distributed revision control system, but it was the first to be employed on
such a massive scale. In a real sense, git launched a new era of free software development."

The first sentence is true, as far as I goes, but it was Linux switching to a Free Software,
decentralized revision control tool that was so important, not the invention of yet another
Free Software, decentralized revision control tool.  The combination of Linus not giving
credit where credit was due and of Linus-fans subsequently misattributing monotone's
innovations to git bothers me.

The use of a decentralized, Free, revision control tool for the kernel was a major step
forward.  The invention of git was a minor tweak to the state of the art -- an exploration of
other parts of the design space.

Don't get me wrong -- I like git, and I'm glad it exists.  I like diversity and redundancy.  I
like exploring the design space widely instead of everyone congregating on the first part of
the design space that is Good Enough.

And I'm sure that git serves the needs of linux kernel developers -- and of many other people
-- as well or better than various alternatives would.  But I don't like for the history of
scientific invention to be obscured by enthusiasm for Linus's personality.

What did our Loyal Editor mean by writing that git launched a new era of free software
development?

Ten-year timeline part 6: almost to the present

Posted Feb 28, 2008 21:15 UTC (Thu) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

You're apparently reading things into what I wrote that I didn't say.

I didn't say `Linus invented all this stuff'. I said that he got the 
representation right, not that nobody else had ever done the same. I'm not 
such a fool as to imagine that nobody else ever tried content-addressable 
storage in version control systems before. (However, I'm fairly sure 
nobody ever released a VCS in such an embryonic state before: generally 
release schedules for VCSes are quite conservative because people hate 
losing their work. It's impressive that git has managed to go so long with 
an aggressive release policy with so few incidents of significant data 
loss.)

Ten-year timeline part 6: almost to the present

Posted Feb 28, 2008 21:51 UTC (Thu) by zooko (guest, #2589) [Link]

Sorry -- I didn't really mean *you*.  Your point about releasing a version control system was
an interesting and valid point, I thought.  I didn't really mean any specific person on this
thread -- more the general folklore that I imagine exists in which people think that Linus
took a break from his kernel hacking in order to singlehandedly move forward the state of the
art of revision control.

Ten-year timeline part 6: almost to the present

Posted Feb 29, 2008 1:48 UTC (Fri) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

Ah, OK. Damn English: why can't we have visibly distinct singular and 
plural second person pronouns anyway?

Ten-year timeline part 6: almost to the present

Posted Mar 1, 2008 21:07 UTC (Sat) by xtifr (subscriber, #143) [Link]

(Totally off-topic)

There are regional dialects which make the distinction at least in part.  For example, the
American South offers us the term "y'all", which is universally used (among those who use it)
as a second-person plural.  Although I'm not from the South, I find the term useful enough
that I occasionally drop it into informal speech or writing.  Unfortunately, I don't know of
any equivalent that is unambiguously singular.

quasi-English plural and singular forms for 'you'

Posted Mar 4, 2008 6:16 UTC (Tue) by xoddam (subscriber, #2322) [Link]

Scots offers 'youse' as another effective second-person plural (this has also become common in
Australian vernacular in recent decades).

There is no modern-sounding English pronoun that is unambiguously singular, but the archaic
(some Northern English dialects preserved this usage up to the 1950s) 'thee' and accusative
'thou' will do, if you don't mind sounding vaguely biblical.

If you do use these, please please conjugate your funny old verb forms (thou dost, she doth)
correctly!

Ten-year timeline part 6: almost to the present

Posted Feb 29, 2008 4:23 UTC (Fri) by njs (guest, #40338) [Link]

>I didn't say `Linus invented all this stuff'. I said that he got the representation right,
not that nobody else had ever done the same. I'm not such a fool as to imagine that nobody
else ever tried content-addressable storage in version control systems before. (However, I'm
fairly sure nobody ever released a VCS in such an embryonic state before: generally release
schedules for VCSes are quite conservative because people hate losing their work. It's
impressive that git has managed to go so long with an aggressive release policy with so few
incidents of significant data loss.)

Point of history: Git got the representation (by which I'm assuming you mean the core
file/tree/commit blob design) right because it copied the hard parts from Monotone.  Monotone
got the representation right because it started with a good idea (i.e., "hey, let's use
content-addressing to decouple storage and history representations"), and then evolved it over
several years (including two major representation rewrites, one of which added the crucial
"commit" object), using monthly time-based releases (i.e., "oops, it's Monday, time to ship
whatever's in trunk"), and was self-hosting from ~the very beginning -- I think before Graydon
had even received a single outside patch.  It did all this with continuous field upgrades for
all storage/representation changes, minimal segfault bugs -- I'm remembering ~2-4? (mtn is
written in C++) -- and no reported data loss by any users.

None of which is to say that git is unimpressive -- I don't subscribe to the peculiar notion
whereby any achievement seen once becomes unimpressive forever after -- and git is a
well-done, well-maintained project containing other innovations and that is making a lot of
users happy.  That's always impressive :-).  ATM, in fact, it's doing a better job of it than
monotone is -- probably as a result of Linus's emphasis on building a tool that would be
immediately useful under extreme conditions, while monotone was noodling around trying to
invent about three different novel technologies.  Turns out that one suffices.  Oops.  OTOH,
it's not like this is the first time an idea had to jump projects to move from research to
mainstream; they reward different approaches.  It's entirely possible that if monotone had
started out with the attitude that made git so successful, neither would exist at this point.
So... *shrug*.

(You just *wait* 'til we get those other two nailed down, though!  Muahaha!)


Copyright © 2017, Eklektix, Inc.
Comments and public postings are copyrighted by their creators.
Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds