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Re: cvswrappers - any better suggestions ?

From: Greg A. Woods
Subject: Re: cvswrappers - any better suggestions ?
Date: Mon, 2 Apr 2001 18:21:06 -0400 (EDT)

[ On Monday, April 2, 2001 at 09:56:28 (-0500), David H. Thornley wrote: ]
> Subject: Re: cvswrappers - any better suggestions ?
> Philosophically, this seems to be a Platonist approach to
> software tools, and you're in a community of Aristotelians.

No, you Aristotelians are invading a community where you don't belong.

> What this means is that I believe we don't have archetypes of
> programming tools, in which CVS is judged on its similarity
> to the archetype of program source control systems, but a whole
> lot of existing tools, which are judged on certain criteria
> (philosophically more accidental than essential) such as usefulness.

Hmm....  Indeed that's about the current state of software engineering,
and in particular software configuration management.  Unfortunately the
entire industry has a lot to learn about SCM, and even the academic
community just barely have academic ideas about how all of this stuff is
supposed to work.

CVS is, BTW, just one tiny part of the toolset necessary to help
automate SCM, and it's not particularly good as such tools go either.
However it fits the basic mold of Unix software development very well
and as such it has helped the Unix world achieve a higher level of SCM
and to become more productive as a result.  Other tools might have been
even more successful at meeting these goals, but either they weren't in
the right place at the right time, or they are not yet invented.

> I apply this sort of philosophy for other tools, also.  I don't
> wonder about how screwdrivery a screwdriver is, but rather how
> easily it turns screws and how durable it's likely to be.  Given
> a paint can, I don't go to the hardware store and buy a tool
> to open paint cans, I pry off the lid with a screwdriver.  It
> isn't designed to open paint cans, is not intended to, and is not
> sold for the purpose.  I would assume it's harder to remove a
> lid without bending it with a screwdriver than with a specially
> designed tool (with a screwdriver, you have to pry gently around
> the lid).  However, I have screwdrivers and a place to put them.
> I don't want to buy and store a special paint can lid opening
> tool.

Funny, but around here the paint cans come with their own opening tool
(which co-incidentally is a multi-purpose tool that also opens the beer
bottles you'll be handing around to all the friends you've invited over
to help you paint!  :-)  Most stores hand out two for every can!  :-)

Indeed the reason there are people prying versions of binary files out
of their CVS repositories is because people generally do just choose to
use the first thing that drops into the palms of their hands instead of
taking the time to find the right tool for the job.  Unfortunately in
the more virtual world of software engineering people are incredibly bad
at making even roughly correct estimates in how much time they might
save, or how much more productive they might be, by choosing the first
tool that appears in front of them instead of doing a proper analysis
and searching for the right tool.

                                                        Greg A. Woods

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

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