[darcs-users] unique features + exponential time issue

Stephen J. Turnbull stephen at xemacs.org
Sun Oct 21 08:48:35 UTC 2007

Alexander Staubo writes:
 > On 10/18/07, Stephen J. Turnbull <stephen at xemacs.org> wrote:

 > > > [1] All the fancy talk about patch theory comes to nought when you get
 > > > bogus conflicts, like when *nothing was changed*. Or when you inserted
 > > > code into the same spot as someone else. It happens all the time here.
 > >
 > > This is a FAQ, answered in the manual.
 > Yep, but you missed my point. There are technical reasons for all
 > these glaring flaws, in the same way there are technical reasons for
 > the existence of bugs. But they're *flaws*.

My point is precisely that this particular one is not a *flaw*, it's a
conservative solution to a genuine problem.  You're welcome to want to
take more risks, but most people consider absolute reliability to be a
sine qua non for a revision control system.  If you have decent merge
support, then occasional duplicate hunks in the merge output is just
not a big deal once you understand why they are there.

 > (1) I consider Darcs to suffer from several showstopper bugs, some of
 > which I have enumerated.

 > (2) I think there's little interest and/or impetus in solving any of
 > them.

 > (3) I consider Darcs to be nearly dead in terms of major feature
 > development right now.

 > These are factors to consider when adopting a new version control
 > system. I would warn any newcomer to these issues in the interest of
 > full disclosure.

Sure, they should be warned.  I agree there are some technical
showstoppers for certain classes of potential users, generally a
smallish fraction of users.  Evidently your use cases suffer from
several of them.

IMO, lack of interest in fixing bugs and generally moribund project
are not problems with Darcs, though.  It's just that your particular
bugaboos are very expensive for the Darcs developers to fix, so they
concentrate on tasks that give them more bang-for-buck.  Specifically
they *are* working on the exponential merge misery, and several
developers have spent fruitless effort on the ssh issue.

The only way to change that tradeoff is for you, or someone like you,
to get involved in fixing the bugs that bug you.  If you don't, then
yes, Darcs should warn Mac users that there are some inefficiencies
due to the in ability to use SSH control master features, and things
like that.  But I think it's over the top to say that a project is
"nearly dead in terms of major feature development" just because
they're not working on your favorite bugs and you think you don't want
the features that they are working on.

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