Month: August 2005

Arch versus SVN for the debian developer

Posted by – 30/08/2005

I’ve been using arch for some time. I am used to CVS as well (since a lot of projects just use that), but I converted my local cvs (that used to hold my debian packages and a couple of other personal projects) into arch during the first appearance of tla-buildpackage (I already used cvs-buildpackage by the time).

Some days ago, Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth were in Porto Alegre for a meeting. He went on talking about Ubuntu’s baz and bzr, and all the joys of decentralized version control. I share a lot of his joy for the thing, but I don’t know if Arch is the tool for it. For almost a year, Otavio Salvador has been bugging me about Subversion, and just a week before Mark’s coming I decided to give it a try…

For a person used to CVS, Subversion is great! The same familiar concepts everybody were forced to learn many years ago. When I was about to convert my arch repository to Subversion, two things have crossed my mind: first, decentralization; second, this post.

Decentralization is a key feature I was neglecting while using Arch. It’s powerful, and it was providing me with (little) help from some friends (that would be much more difficult without it). I doubt I would miss Arch’s decentralization at all, but I began to be unconfortable with the feeling I was going backwards history… Then I decided to give svk a try. I hate perl, which were preventing me to try it, but svk is really a good piece of software (despite perl), and it adds the most important feature Arch have (IMHO): star-merge! With star-merge, decentralization can be accomplished, and all the virtues of a good Subversion system are kept.

Madduck’s post, ITOH, is much a harder challenge to my ongoing will to fully adopt Subversion/SVK. I do think baz is great, and I’ve tried it some time ago with my own arch repository and I think it feels confortable to the average CVS user, and it keeps off almost all of the Arch’s idiosyncrasies. While I think a lot of good work is being done in bzr (baz’s next version), the fact that it doesn’t retain backwards compatibility with Arch repositories is making me kind of afraid. Just a year ago I would agree blindly with madduck: Arch would be the dominant standard for SCM (and all SCM should be decentralized). Baz could, very much likely, be pushing Arch ahead. But now that we have a good Subversion repository implementation (fsfs – relying on the filesystem), and svk providing star-merge, I cannot accept those points anymore. Add to that feeling that bzr will not support Arch standard, and you have my decision: I am moving to Subversion.

In the post-modern world, everything changes quickly…. Maybe my points would be proved wrong tomorrow, and I will just have to move back to Arch (or to bzr)… Even worse! I may have to move to some other thing completely different! While this doesn’t happen, I’ll take te opportunity to learn more. Version Control and Source Code Management surely can be challenging topics WRT collaboration development… Git and Linux are here to prove it ­čÖé

Memes and event criticism

Posted by – 26/08/2005

First of all, I did it again!

Synthetic Person Engineered for Ceaseless Troubleshooting and Rational Assassination

This meme thing is addictive!

Today, at noon, I was at the hospital and I had 15 minutes to have lunch. I got a sandwich at the cafeteria and went to the computer room to “read my email”. Before doing that I usually give a quick parse on the computer-related brazilian news websites… I stopped at this BR-Linux post and just had to answer. There’s an ongoing debate on the future of brazilian Free Software events and it seems to me that a lot of people think it’s easy to manage such a thing. Well, to manage an event is not that easy… big surprise. Maybe it’s time for some people to start thinking about what does it takes to manage a truly community-driven free software event such as fisl, and maybe turn their own criticism into something more useful, like giving us a hand.

Maybe handling free software events is just like judging design on Paul Graham opinion: “there is no correlation, except possibly a negative one, between people’s ability to [make a good event] and their confidence that they can.”

I trust meritocracy. Eventually these I-don-t-help-at-all-but-I-love-to-criticize kind of people will, eventually, just be wiped out of community. But I do believe meritocracy takes some time to work…

Congratulations Debian!

Posted by – 16/08/2005

Twelve years old today. I doubt, back in 1993, that Ian had the least idea that Debian would turn into the great distro it is. Thanks to all the fellow developers that make it possible every day.

Last weekend, Debian Brasil promoted the Second Debian Day, a gathering of debian enthusiasts to celebrate Debian’s birthday. This year we had 8 states that hold the event simultaneously. Ranging from simple gatherings to full lecture-schedules + install fests, people in every state did whatever they think was possible to “join the crowd”.

In RS we held it in 5 different cities. I went to Cruz Alta two weeks ago to help setting things up there, but on 13th I was helping in Porto Alegre. The other cities that joined us in RS were Novo Hamburgo, Santa Cruz and Cachoeira do Sul. I took some pictures (not many though), and we went live broadcasting it over the Internet. Here is a picture of the encoding laptop that was sending the stream over to TV Software Livre Icecast server:

For those curious, the laptop is running a home-made knoppix customization with GStreamer 0.8 and fluxbox. It is part of the experiences I am conducting with GStreamer, as I already told you.