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Re: CVS Update Behaviour

From: Paul Sander
Subject: Re: CVS Update Behaviour
Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2002 01:29:49 -0800

>--- Forwarded mail from address@hidden

>[ On Monday, February 25, 2002 at 10:46:14 (-0800), Paul Sander wrote: ]
>> Subject: Re: CVS Update Behaviour
>> >--- Forwarded mail from address@hidden
>> >
>> >Free software development depends critically on patch. Just about anyone
>> >involved in it must know how to produce and apply patches.
>> Most of the people I work with don't produce free software, or at least
>> they don't collaborate in producing it.

>That's totally irrelevant.  If they're doing any kind of development
>these days then they really _MUST_ keep themselves aware of free
>software, and especially of free software development tools.  That goes
>double if they're using a free software tool in a central part of their
>development process!

No, they must keep themselves up with the tools they use, regardless of
whether or not they are free ones.

>>  I do produce free software, and
>> I still use patch only once in 2-3 years.

>You do use 'patch' every time you do a merge with CVS, and indeed almost
>every time you do a "cvs update" from a remote server!  Sure it's built
>into the CVS client now, but it still tells you with the 'P' it shows.

Really?  I thought that CVS fell back to something else if "patch" was
unavailable....  In any case, *I* use "cvs update" and I don't care
what goes on beneath the covers as long as the result is what I expect.

>More importantly you also use free software, obviously, and if you are
>avoiding using 'patch' by manually applying all the disributed diffs you
>hopefully use with that free software then you really should learn to
>use 'patch' -- it makes such tedious work far less error-prone.

I just download the new distribution and check it in.  For me, that's
much faster, easier, and reliable than exporting, patching, and importing.
As an obvious side-effect of this practice, I don't have to use "patch".
That applies to most of my coworkers as well.

>BTW, 'patch' is a _standard_ Unix tool.  It's documented in The Single
>UNIX Specification, and it will be in IEEE Std. 1003.2b.

Fine.  So are "cut" and "paste".  You don't use them (preferring to
use something else that better fits your need, see quote below), so
why should my colleagues use "patch" if they prefer using something
else that better fits their need?

>>  The free software community
>> remains a surprisingly small one, compared to the total size of the
>> industry, and it's my job to support people who are not part of that
>> small community.

>So many people in the software industry would like to think.  However if
>you're using CVS (and maybe other core tools like GCC and such), then
>you're either hiding from reality, or purposefully subverting it, or both.

>I.e. if you're using CVS then you are part of that community, like it or not.

There's the "free software community" in the sense of people who use
free software, and there's the "free software community" in the sense of
people who publish free software.  It was clear in the context of the
two quotes to which you refer that I meant the latter of the two.  In
that small community, I don't dispute (in writing) that "patch" is a
critical tool.  I do claim that in the larger community of users, "patch"
is not a requirement.  And don't split hairs claiming that one is a
proper subset of the other and how can it be critical on the one hand and
not on the other; you know what I mean.

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