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Re: dispatch program

From: Aaron S. Hawley
Subject: Re: dispatch program
Date: Thu, 3 Nov 2011 09:00:03 -0400

On 11/3/11, Thien-Thi Nguyen <address@hidden> wrote:
> The next release of GNU RCS will install a dispatch program.
> This message is to air some thoughts on it with hopes that
> feedback can inform further progress.  The dispatch program is
> called from the shell; its role is to invoke the other commands.

This is great.  And eventually down the road, the reverse will be
true?:  There will be one program and the other commands will just be
symlinks -- or shell scripts or some such -- to the dispatch command
and making RCS one binary.

I say do the right thing, either 1) make the rcs dispatch command be
capable of behaving as a dispatch program AND as the original rcs
command or 2) make a release that just ships RCS with one binary, the
old programs don't work anymore.

> For example, i can imagine
> ident(1) being migrated to its own project, in the process
> unifying implementations from CVS, Subversion, etc, and then
> adding customization features.  (Any budding hackers interested?
> What are you waiting for?)

I'd say that ship has sailed.  Most people use the particular VCS
itself or build tools and such to find and manipulate these things.
There's no particular valuable way to improve ident.

> The opposing argument (that both these should also be converted)
> is supported by uniformity and simplicity.  These are gut-feel
> qualities that nonetheless weigh heavily on the aesthetically
> sensitive.  I picture users converting scripts to use "grcs rlog"
> but not "grcs ident" grumbling about the maintainer's
> arbitrariness, not having read (or perhaps not having shared in
> the imagination of) this message, for example.  What do people
> think?

Yes, this is all true.  That's why I say "get it right".

> Lastly: standalone compatability.  For compatability, standalone
> executables in $(bindir), such as /usr/bin/ci are installed.
> These are implemented as simple shell scripts that invoke the
> dispatch program.  (If you wonder why not symlinks, see the GNU
> Coding Standards, section "Standards for Interfaces Generally".)
> A new configure script option ‘--disable-standalone-compat’
> inhibits their installation, for those ready to make the jump.
> The plan is to keep the default enabled for RCS 5.x and remove it
> (and standaldone programs) in 6.x.

Ok, I see.  You buried the lead here.  I agree with this as I stated
earlier.  And I think the plan to delay the change to a major version
is a good one.  Call the command rcs and have it DTRT per 1) and 2)

Thanks for RCS,

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