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Re: Countering the usual diatribe against binary files, was Re: cvs diff

From: Greg A. Woods
Subject: Re: Countering the usual diatribe against binary files, was Re: cvs diff, proposal for change
Date: Mon, 8 Sep 2003 16:00:14 -0400 (EDT)

[ On Monday, September 8, 2003 at 13:48:30 (-0400), David Clunie wrote: ]
> Subject: Countering the usual diatribe against binary files, was Re: cvs 
> diff,  proposal for change
> We have several terabytes of binary files stored in a CVS repository.

big is not necessarily better, and it certainly does nothing to support
your position.

I can import gigabytes and terabytes of binaries into CVS too, but no
matter how much I try I'll never be able to use branches meaningfully in
such a repository, nor do any of the other miriade of things CVS was
designed to do and which it does very well with the types of files it
was designed to work with.

> Whether it be a "terrible hack", or a "misuse" of the tool, it seems
> to work sufficiently well to get the job done.

Yes, like I've said before, you can eventually hammer a screw in.  The
result might not be pretty, but if it holds things together long enough
to get you to where a screwdriver can be found then you're doing OK, but
just imagine how much better you could do if you could fashion even a
rudimentary screwdriver from something else on hand?

Just because you can make something "work" (for some definition of
"work") doesn't mean you should.

> We are not interested in merges, or diffs, or concurrency, we just
> want the versioning and the log of "who, what, when and why" that
> lives in the ,v files.
> We don't care that inside they are not stored as deltas, we don't
> care that each version is stored as all bytes in their entirety, we
> just keep buying more shelves of disks in the arrays.

Why, oh why, pray tell, would you ever choose a tool designed explicitly
for concurrent versioning of text files then?  There must be a dozen
other tools that would do what you want without all the potential

Heck, any decent systems programmer with even a vauge understaning of
change control management and archiving systems could have whipped up
some very basic scripts that would out-shine CVS in the way you use it
by many orders of magnitude in many dimensions, not the least of which
would be speed.  No doubt such scripts could be initially prototyped in
very little time -- a few days, if not just hours.

You've made your world far more complex than it needs to be just so that
you can use some tool that was not designed with even a hint of your
true requirements in mind.

> Until there is a good, free, binary file version control system,

Seek and I believe yee shall find.  Google is your friend, but there are
more specific FAQs on the subject that might beat a more direct path....

If not then why not help design and publish one?

                                                Greg A. Woods

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

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