[darcs-users] Some progress on hashed-storage.

Eric Kow kowey at darcs.net
Sun Feb 1 18:45:09 UTC 2009

On Sun, Feb 01, 2009 at 00:13:20 +0100, Petr Rockai wrote:
> I'm starting to think it might be worth getting at least partial support for
> this into darcs 2.3. (I'm wondering if Kowey will require a sunset procedure
> for SlurpDirectory though, if we really take this route...)

Yep! If I may clarify my position, to avoid future doubt:

The two forces I'm trying to balance are that

 (A) Real people depend on darcs.  People including us as users
     keep their crown jewels in darcs and therefore, are rightfully
     sensitive about darcs breaking.  What a scary position!  The surest
     way to avoid one kind of breakage is not to change anything.

 (B) Darcs *has* to change.  Like any piece of software, darcs has
     its bugs, and there's no fixing bugs without changing darcs.
     But in the big picture, we want to change lots of things
     beyond fixing bugs: we want to make darcs fast fast fast; we
     want better conflict marking; we want darcs 3 with hopefully
     a smoother transition.  In the bigger picture still, we want to
     change darcs to make it more sustainable, shaping our code
     and our community in such a way to ensure that we can still
     hack on darcs and keep our day jobs.  This is why I consider
     work like what you're doing with hashed-storage to very
     important.  We need to keep spinning off things that aren't
     really part of what makes darcs darcs, one for great modularity
     and two so that we the darcs team can focus our energy on
     hacking darcs.

Hopefully my insistence on sunset procedures makes a little more sense
in context of both (A) and (B).  This is not obstructionism in the name
of cautious conservatism (that's where A comes in).  Rather, it is a
means of giving ourselves /permission/ to change darcs, permission in
our own eyes as responsible software engineers and in our users' eyes as
owners of crown jewels.

I don't know if this sunset procedure thing is the best mechanism for
this, or if it's appropriate to all contexts (i.e. if there is little
risk of breaking darcs, then let's go for it!).  I'm definitely going to
get this wrong a lot of the times, and I'm not tide to the sunset
procedure per se, so don't hesitate to say outright that I am wrong
about it, or that there are better alternatives.  Teach me.  As long as
we find a good way to manage both (A) and (B), I'm happy.

Eric Kow <http://www.nltg.brighton.ac.uk/home/Eric.Kow>
PGP Key ID: 08AC04F9
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