[Numpy-discussion] DVCS at PyCon

Christopher Barker Chris.Barker@noaa....
Fri Apr 10 11:43:28 CDT 2009

David Cournapeau wrote:
>> we're really better off with a system with
>> good tool support on all platforms.
> Why ? We are not python, where many core developers work on windows.

As I understand it there is a dearth of Python developers on Windows, 
too... But anyway, we probably want MORE Windows folks contributing, not 

Another key is the "core developers" concept -- I'm not a core developer 
on any major OS project, but I do contribute bits and pieces here and 
there to quite a few ( numpy, scipy, MPL, wxPython, MacPython, ... ). I 
think we want to encourage folks to be able to do that - learning a new 
VCS to test and contribute a small patch is large barrier to entry.

> The git command line works well on windows (same as on other systems),
> I used it while testing things for numpy 1.3.0 (locally, though
> because of the git-svn issue).

Somehow, command-line anything is kind of painful on Windows, and lots 
of folks don't like using it. I'm kind of a command-line guy, but do 
most of my work on Linux or OS-X, and only use Windows when I have to, 
and then I tend to use GUI tools there -- TortoiseSVN, for instance, 
even though I use command line SVN on *nix systems.

> There will always be arguments for svn being more supported, but
> doesn't this sounds like matlab vs numpy/scipy ? There will always be
> people who will find the  scipy stack not good, not integrated - 

right -- and there are a LOT more Matlab users, even though it costs a 
lot, and is a very limited language.

> still, we use numpy/scipy. git is not better than svn in every way,
> but at least to me, the question is more "is git better than svn
> overall"

To carry the analogy above further, I use python/numpy/scipy rather than 
Matlab for a few major reasons:

* cost/licensing -- we're only considering open source VCS here anyway.

* numpy is more powerful/flexible -- That's why we're considering moving 
to a DVCS from SVN at all -- I think it's almost a foregone conclusion 
that we'll make that move -- the question is not if, but when and which one?

* I use Python for a bunch of other stuff Matlab is not suitable for -- 
This is my argument about usability and tool support. A few years back, 
CVS was a standard, now SVN is. I like that I can use the same tool to 
contribute to a whole bunch of OS projects, and I use it to manage all 
my projects as work. It seems many in the OS world are moving to a DVCS 
-- but there are three major ones in play: git, Hg and bzr -- I don't 
know enough about any of them to say what I prefer, but I really don't 
want to have to learn all three! And if I do, it would be nice if there 
were semi-similar interfaces for them all: tortoise, for instance.

Anyway, it's not a deal-breaker, but tool support across platforms is 
important, and should be considered. And I do think that Windows is just 
as important to numpy/scipy as it is to Python.


Christopher Barker, Ph.D.

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