[Oberon] Version control & etc.

Skulski, Wojciech skulski at pas.rochester.edu
Thu Jan 3 20:39:03 CET 2019

peter at easthope.ca wrote

> Being almost ignorant of the subject I wonder: is Linux style version
> management really the best way for Oberon?  

Being ignorant as well, I can make a couple observations. Linux is divided into Linux kernel which is tightly managed by Linus Torvalds, and Linux user programs which are subdivided into distributions, software projects, and such, each one under its own management. It is important to always mention what "Linux" means in every case, because the management structure is not homogeneous. It has more than one center, and each one can be different from the others.

Linux kernel management is organized around a tightly managed group of collaborators, either volunteers or employed. We may call it an Inner Party. Linus Torvalds is at the top. He makes decisions, with help of a tight group of coworkers. They worked out the tools like git, as well as the kernel build system, which they adjust to their own needs as they see fit for themselves. They freely move around anything they want, any way they want, and they express little regret. The Outer Party then follows whatever the Inner Party is throwing at them. I am not saying that the Inner Party is dictatorial, because there are interactions between the Inner and the Outer, but the Inner Party clearly see themselves as leaders, while the rest of the world must follow. 

The version control tools are a part of this culture. I doubt if we, or anyone else, can absorb these tools without absorbing the culture. For example, there is a question of central management which predates the tools. Lacking such a management, the tools would create little else than a distributed disk where anyone can change anything. The tools themselves will not prevent the chaos. They will only make the chaos slightly easier to navigate. The chaos can only be addressed by a manager, or managers, equipped with an authority to either accept or reject the changes. Do we have such managers around in this community? Are we willing to have them around? 

> With Oberon being so
> compact, what is wrong with John Doe releasing a system _holus bolus_.
> Over time there are more and more of these archives, each several MB
> but << 1 GB.  

I manage all my electronic design files this way. It works pretty well within a small team.

> So a Web server can show an evolution graph with each
> node being a link to an archive.  Also some annotation with
> recommendations such as "Good for an embedded system!", "Best personal
> workstation capabilities", "Designed for data acquisition" and etc.

This could be useful. Even such a low key effort will need a manager. A somewhat related example is the Component Pascal Collection which has been very useful over the years. It is very well managed. 

Just my 3 cents,

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