Monotone using SQLite is a boon for programmers. SQL is easier to wrestle than complex on-disk and in-memory data structures, specially if you are changing the layout. But git design learned from many sources (including Monotone) and had a pretty set data structure from the beginning.
With that clearly-defined data structure, Linus and other kernel hackers cranked out very efficient code. IIRC, Monotone used to take hours to import _one_ snapshot of a kernel, where git could do it in <10s.
See the very very early emails in the git list, by Linus, on his design research and early tests with monotone.
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