version control software

Nelson H. F. Beebe
Tue, 23 Nov 1999 17:35:55 -0700 (MST)

Art writes:

>> I figure that if we were to use Perforce and it was later deemed
>> inappropriate, we would be able to switch over to some other system without
>> excessive pain, and that the burden would be on those using it (therefore,
>> they would be exercised to chose wisely).

That might be very difficult: look at Microsoft Word and RealAudio:
both are secret proprietary data formats, for which reverse
engineering is very difficult.  DVD disks have also had secrecy
surrounding their formats (though it has recently been cracked), so
GNU/Linux doesn't have DVD drivers.  Even an open format, Adobe PDF,
is problematic when the specification (the gray book) and its
implementation (Acrobat) don't agree.  Poor L. Peter Deutsch has been
tearing his hair out for months try to make ghostscript's ps2pdf do
what Acrobat Reader expects.

My recommendation: avoid proprietary systems like the plague and pox
they are, and stick with open systems (wasn't that a major reason that
we adopted TeX 20 years ago?).

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