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From: Ralph Mack
Date: Sun, 17 Jun 2001 20:26:34 -0400

>> you can't reorganize your sources (e.g. rename a file).

> Yes, you CAN.  All rename operations, in all facets of computing, is
> simply a deletion and an addition in whatever order is appropriate (and
> sometimes it's an atomic operation from the point of view of the user,
> and sometimes, as currently in CVS, it's not).

Well, that depends upon what you mean by "an addition", doesn't it,
Greg? If you mean the deletion of the old object with all of its baggage
and the creation of a new object _with all of the old object's baggage_,
I would tend to agree that the sequence implements the concepts of
renaming or moving an object.

In a Unix file system, that baggage consists of a set of permissions,
owner and group assignments, and perhaps a couple of things that I
forget, but is nonetheless a relatively light bundle.

A file under revision control has a history of revisions (and - one hopes -
ancestors and migrations) that describe all the important events of its
colorful life. Does moving or renaming a file by deletion and addition
retain the file's family history? It sounds to me as if it reduces it to a
Unix file with none of these attributes and then recreates it as if it were
newborn. All connection to the past is lost.

Do you regard this loss as a frivolous concern? To me the power of source
control lies not just in its ability to store all the versions of software
but to accurately reflect the historic relationships of those versions.
After corporate restructurings, when there is nobody to ask, sometimes only
the source control system can give any clue as to what really happened -
and sometimes we can even infer why.

Ralph A. Mack

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