[Aptitude-devel] Tools 2: VCS
dburrows at debian.org
Fri May 14 03:26:10 UTC 2010
Continuing the theme of examining aptitude's toolset, I'd like to take
a look at the VCS that we use. Since several additional people will
start working on the project soon, it's going to become a lot harder
to switch VCSes. At the moment I'm virtually the only committer , so
now is probably as good a time to switch as we'll have for a while.
 I checked with "churn"; no-one else has committed a changeset
since December 2009.
This is sort of the opposite of the build tools question: I'm not sure
whether to switch away from mercurial, but I know exactly what I would
switch to if I did. If I was starting aptitude today, I would pick git,
based on my experience using it on and off over the last few years.
A few pros and cons off the top of my head -- if you've used both
systems, please add any that I missed:
- git feels cleaner and more solid to me. This is a subjective
judgment, of course.
- Where features exist in both git and mercurial, the git
implementation seems to be more robust and/or featureful (e.g.,
"hg shelve" vs "git stash", merging, handling of internal branches,
"hg record" vs "git add -p", etc).
- git seems to be more popular these days, so new contributors will
be more likely to be familiar with it.
- After getting used to it, I like the two-stage commit process. It
gives you an extra chance to review and fix the patch you're about
- "git gui" is one of the only VCS GUIs I've seen that is regularly
more useful than performing operations directly at the command-line.
(I just wish it had the hunk-splitting powers of "git add -p")
- Many features that are built into git require you to activate
extensions in Mercurial.
(these last three are fairly unimportant, but nice to have if you
- git provides more support for fiddling with history.
- git delays actually deleting data from its repository, so it's
possible to "undelete" patches if you screw up.
- git is faster than mercurial (as far as I know). aptitude is so
small that this doesn't matter.
- git has a clunkier UI; bad for people trying to learn it. For
instance, the command called "revert" in every other VCS I've
used is called "checkout" in git. There's a certain sense to this
once you understand what "checkout" does, but it is rather puzzling
at first. To make matters worse, git *has* a "revert" command, but
it does something totally different.
- aptitude is already using mercurial, and people following the source
repository would have to switch over to git.
As far as the practicalities go, I found a script to convert an hg
repository to a git repository in a few minutes; it only took a few more
minutes to run it over the hg repository and get a git repository that
seems correct. Much easier than when I switched from darcs to hg.
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