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Re: Format 3.0 (git)

* Tollef Fog Heen <tfheen@err.no> [110924 16:16]:
> I find reviewing what's changed between two arbitrary versions in git
> much easier than doing the same with debian source packages, so I think
> it's pretty clear this is a matter of preference.

But if it is some other version control system, which is easier then?

> Yes, and to continue that thread: The way we do that is to distribute
> the source of our work.  The most useful definition of source I've come
> across is the GPL's: The preferred form for modification.
> Given I maintain my packages in git, it's quite clear that the preferred
> form for modification of my packages is through git and not debian
> source packages.  That we don't have a good way of distributing the
> source of packages is a fault I think we should address.

"Preferred form" explicitly does not say which one's preferred form.

I might prefer some code with German comments stating those details
that are significant to me, and not some English comments also
describing things that are clear to me because I use such constructs
all of the time. I also do not prefer at all to work on something
without my default editor settings, still I do not consider them
part of the source.

> I don't put much weight on the «it should be simple to hack on packages
> and VCSes make it hard» argument.

Usefully hacking on Debian packages is only a part of my complaint,
and I am sad that it is reduced to that.

First of all it is not only about only even Debian users, giving
back is about the whole software community.

I remember adopting some program and looking around for patches
floating around in the net some years ago by looking what the other
Linux distributions and BSDs did. Having to install and learn another
VCS, and another one, and another one, and then another one. Most of
the time people only caring about history but not about visibilty
of changes. Having to grok one source format after the other and
trying to find programs being able to look into them. Comparing that
to those source formats Debian has, which are even no problem to
look into from a years old Solaris university lab made me very proud
of Debian.

Then looking at the Debian ecosystem, it is not only about developers.
Or users with enough skills to become developers if they wanted to be.
It is also about users with very little skills yet, that have some
problems and want to do something. Like understanding why some piece
of software on their Debian system behaves differently than on some
other Linux system they have. Or doing some crude hack (crude hacks
is what you usually can do before you can do anything else) to
make something work on their system. If we enable those that
administrate their computer or the other systems they care about
(how many DDs started by administrating some computers in university?
I'd guess that might be >= 10%), they can gain skill after skill,
until they are able to proper things with Debian packages and
also do this using using VCSes.

> git used to be hard to use back in the olden days, but it isn't
> particularly hard nowadays.

Learning git is not that hard anymore, I guess (, though I am not
really able to assess that from having looked at it for a long
time). But trying to use to access some stuff must still be quite
hard: it has some model of things and some private nomenclature
(think: index, tree, commitish) that will not make it that easy
to come from zero to be able to locate some commit and do the
right diff in some not too long time, even if knowing some other

	Bernhard R. Link

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