[darcs-users] darcs repository format naming cleanup

Zooko Wilcox-O'Hearn zookog at gmail.com
Sat May 8 18:12:23 UTC 2010

To be perfectly honest I haven't really understood all the proposals  
on this thread. But I thought it would be worthwhile anyway to ask:  
what are the goals?

What is important for darcs-2.5 (due 2010-07)?

Eric touched on the most important issues in his message on this thread:

 >  * users switching from darcs (cf. laconi.ca, now known as  
 >  * users refusing to upgrade their client
 >  * users resisting format upgrades
 >  * users upgrading unnecessarily (painfully, alienating *their*  

Specifically, I suggest the following goals, in descending order of  

1. Make sure that no users mistakenly think that they need to keep  
using darcs-1 executables for backward compatibility.
2. Make sure that no users mistakenly think that they need to keep  
using --old-fashioned format repositories for backward compatibility  
3. Make sure that no users mistakenly think that they need to upgrade  
from --hashed format repositories to --darcs-2 format repositories.
4. Make it easy for them.
5. ? Are there any other goals that go here?

Most or perhaps even all of these goals can be satisfied with adding  
or changing docs rather than actual behavior or option names.

Here is my suggestion for goal 4:
  a. Usually the user doesn't think about the existence of  
alternative formats and just uses the default settings for either  
"darcs get" or "darcs init" and it works.
  b. If for some special reason they need to choose, they find  
instructions such as in --help output or on the darcs.net web site  
telling them a very simple recipe of the form "If you need this  
choose option A, else if you need that choose option B, else choose  
option C.".

In addition, I think it is well worth considering forward- 
compatibility. Assume for the sake of argument that the time comes  
for darcs-3.0 to be released and all users in the world are using  
darcs-2.5. Assume for now that none of them are using darcs < 2.5.0.

Now, what behavior do you want from darcs-2.5.0 to make it as easy as  
possible for users to start using the new features of darcs-3.0?



[*] Unless they actually have darcs-1-executable-using users.  
However, I think there will be few darcs-v1 users left by 2010-07,  
especially if we do a good job of goal #1. Especially note that  
Ubuntu 10.04 LTS has been released and users of Ubuntu LTS are  
rapidly upgrading from the old Ubuntu 8.04 LTS, which had darcs-v1:


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