Mercurial, Subversion, and Wesley Snipes
People keep asking me why I don't talk more about Mercurial in this series of blog entries. There's a simple answer to that question:
Mercurial isn't very interesting.
Wait, that didn't come out quite right. Let me try again:
Git is Wesley Snipes.
Mercurial is Denzel Washington
Hmm, that probably needs further explanation. First let me give a little background.
I am the founder of a version control software company. I've done lots of writing about the topic here on my blog. Currently I am in the process of revising and expanding all those writings to turn them into a book.
As part of that effort, I have undertaken an exploration of the DVCS world. Several weeks ago I started writing one blog entry every week, mostly focused on DVCS topics. In chronological order, here they are:
- The one where I gripe about Git's index
- The one where I whine about the way Git allows developers to rearrange the DAG
- The one where it looks like I am against DAG-based version control but I'm really not
- The one where I fuss about DVCSes that try to act like centralized tools
- The one where I complain that DVCSes have a lousy story when it comes to bug-tracking
- The one where I lament that I want to like Darcs but I can't
- The one where I speculate cluelessly about why Git is so fast
Along the way, I've been spending some time getting hands-on experience with these tools. I've been using Bazaar for several months. I don't like it very much. I am currently in the process of switching to Git, but I don't expect to like it very much either.
Why am I using these tools if I don't like them? Because I want the experience. I don't want to write hearsay. I want to live with these tools and see what I learn.
So why don't I write about Mercurial? Because I'm pretty sure I would like it.
I chose Bazaar and Git for the experience. But if I were choosing a DVCS as a regular user, I would choose Mercurial. I've used it some, and found it to be incredibly pleasant. It seems like the DVCS that got everything just about right. That's great if you're a user, but for a writer, what's interesting about that?
Denzel Washington is a great actor. Other than that, he lives a pretty normal life. What's interesting about that?
In contrast, Wesley Snipes gives the world lots of things to write about. Tax evasion. Conviction for reckless driving. Martial arts.
People admire Denzel Washington. But Wesley Snipes is simply more interesting.
I admire Mercurial. But Git is more interesting. Like Snipes, Git is an odd juxtaposition of great power with some quirky flaws and failings.
One more thing:
People also ask me why I don't write more about Subversion. That's easy too:
Subversion is Morgan Freeman.