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RE: How well does CVS handle other types of data?

From: Greg A. Woods
Subject: RE: How well does CVS handle other types of data?
Date: Fri, 13 Jul 2001 00:51:25 -0400 (EDT)

[ On Friday, July 13, 2001 at 13:50:34 (+1200), Chris Cameron wrote: ]
> Subject: RE: How well does CVS handle other types of data?
> We need:
> 1. Ability to recreate a particular contour of file versions
> 2. Ability to work across multiple directories

Good.  If that's all of your requirements then please go find something
else to use other than CVS.  I'm sure there are many other tools that
fill those requirements.  I've written some shell scripts for SCCS that
might even fill the bill for you.  You can find them on my FTP site in
dotfiles.tar.* (in the enclosed file .kshsccs).  I've even been planning
on fleshing them out to include more CVS-like features and will be happy
to do so under your explicit directions, for a small fee of course.

CVS does more than you need and some of what it does can be orthogonal
to your needs and may therefore cause you problems if you try to use it
for only those two purposes and without taking into account its

> Greg suggests that people write their own tool to do this, however CVS
> (which is written on top of RCS, so how can it be good for binaries on it's
> own, but not underneath CVS) can already do this.

If this isn't clear by now then you have a fundamentally flawed
understanding of how CVS works and what features it provides (and which
it _explicitly_ does not provide, not to mention those it _implicitly_
does not provide).

> CVS also allows you to merge text files.  For some binary files a merge can
> be managed (e.g. word or framemaker documents), for others (e.g. gifs) it
> does not make any sense.  Is merging of text files important?  In Greg's
> world it is, in other peoples eyes it isn't.

Anyone and everyone who uses CVS as it is intended to be used must
believe that merging of text files is critically imporant to their use
of CVS!  You don't even have to know what a branch is to still need
merging to work if you use CVS.

You're trying so hard now that you've not only bent the truth beyond
recognition, you're now torturing it to death!

> Now whenever I've been involved in product decisions, we've listed our
> requirements, prioritised them and then listed our requirements that each
> product supports.  Usually no product meets all our requirements so it is a
> matter of determining which product best meets our top requirements.  As
> merging probably doesn't fit in anyones requirement list for graphical
> files, merging and patches are 'extras' from CVS, not a 'wrong tool'
> decision.

If you want to go off and write something that meets your needs, then
please do so.

In the meantime please try to at least accept the fact that CVS might
actually be at odds with your needs (besides providing features for
fulfilling some of them).  A tool that's at odds with even one of your
(unstated) requirements, even though it might perfectly fill all the
others, is still the wrong tool.  You won't succeed by doing an
incomplete requirements analysis, and you won't succeed by throwing out
requirements to which there's no solution.

                                                        Greg A. Woods

+1 416 218-0098      VE3TCP      <address@hidden>     <address@hidden>
Planix, Inc. <address@hidden>;   Secrets of the Weird <address@hidden>

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