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01 Nov

And if I do it, I’m going to do it properly, which means And at the risk of sounding absolutely trite, at the end of the day isn’t the important thing that we actually use some form of version/change/source control at all, implementation be damned?After all, isn’t that what separates us from the monkeys? From 1990 to 2000, I used SCCS, a version-control system written in 1972 that was so amazingly primitive that it still thought digital watches were a pretty neat idea.w=200&h=300" width="200" height="300" srcset=" w=200&h=300 200w, w=400&h=597 400w, w=100&h=150 100w" sizes="(max-width: 200px) 100vw, 200px" / Of course, in the merge-conflict scenario above, you may sometimes see that your friend’s changes are correct and leave yours irrelevant, so that you just want to throw your own changes away and use the version you pulled. Well, according to the top-voted answer to this question on Stack Overflow, the correct thing to do is: is no use in this situation, because it works on text: I needed to get hold of the earlier revision so I could pull it into Open Office, which knows how to compare documents.) The command that does this is that someone — probably several someones — are going to reply to this article saying: “you are mistaken; git is correct.” These people, most of them kindly and gently, will talk me through my misconceptions about what a version is, what a commit is, how it affects the index, what a merge means, why it has to be this way and why I am sadly mistaken in thinking it should be otherwise. It’s great that it handles multiple local and remote branches and merges and all the other stuff, but you can’t Just Not Know about that stuff.If we were discussing this in a pub rather than over the Internet, they would probably find a scrap of paper and draw a nice state-transition diagram for me, showing how the various change-sets propagate between the various checkouts, branches, indexes and repositories. You start out believing what you’re told, that you can just use , and ignore the other 139 git commands(*). You have to keep learning more of them, and learning new and baroque ways of invoking them; and, more importantly, learning more of the concepts.

As is often the case, they two camps seem to be split about 50-50, which makes me happy.

The bottom line for me with git is that I am sick of being pushed around. Or indeed, it’s a Harrier and I’m trying to use it as a bicycle. The problem is that to try out a version control system, you have to trust a bunch of your code into it, and use the system to share that code across multiple computers.

Which I suspect is the case, and why I think the move back to CVS/Subversion might be the way to go. This should not need pointing out, but typing 40-character nonsense identifiers is only one of their many drawbacks. In the DVCS world, git seems to be the most popular by a long way; Mercurial has a biggish following so might be workable, perhaps as a staging post on the way to learning to love git, but I just don’t have the time or energy to spend in learning half a dozen different systems. “git seems to be the most popular by a long way” — is that any criterion to use in choosing something?

I’ll admit that yesterday’s post was more a howl of anguish than a reasoned argument (although I still like the Harrier analogy). Not only can I not commit the file that had the conflict: I can’t commit ! At least 12,000 salmon have been confirmed dead so far.

Having now calmed down a little, I thought it might be worth explaining myself a bit more, and addressing some of the comments, both here and at Hacker News. The causes are a matter of dispute, but salmon experts could not recall such a vast fish kill in the Northwest in at least two decades.