[Numpy-discussion] Moving away from svn ?

Fernando Perez fperez.net@gmail....
Sat Jan 5 17:47:38 CST 2008


I'd like to briefly provide a different perspective on this question,
which is not a technical one but a more social/process one.

It seems to me (but I could be wrong; this is opinion, not research!)
that a DVCS encourages a more open participation model for newcomers.
Since anyone with a checkout has the same tree, there is no more 'us
vs. them' in the sense of 'developers vs users'.  Yes, with SVN anyone
can track trunk or branches and submit a patch, but there's a distinct
asymmetry in the process that DVCS remove (bviously even with a DVCS
model there always be a canonical repository that is considered
official, and to which only a group with commit rights can push
changes).

In addition, DVCS allow more easily the creation of subgroups of
parallel developers who share their branches and explore ideas,
subprojects, optimizations, etc.  With a DVCS, anyone can join such a
subgroup, contribute, and if that idea bears fruit, it's easy to fold
it back into the official trunk.  SVN doesn't really lend itself well
at all to this type of approach, and I think it therefore tends to
lower the amount of intellectual exploration a project is likely to do
during its lifetime.

So I'd venture that a DVCS can benefit a project in the long run by
lowering the tunneling energy required to make the user->developer
transition.  Given how users who make this transition are the life and
blood of any open source project, I'd argue that anything that helps
this is worth considering.

Obviously the above is not an argument for doing anything *now*, as
for many reasons now may not be the right time.  But it is to me a
compelling argument for taking the step, leaving only the when and
which specific tool as decisions to be appropriately determined.

Of course, I could be fully wrong, since the above is little more than
common-sense-sounding speculation.

Cheers,

f


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