Skip to main content

How To Win By Not Mattering

This is all about the strange and confusing state of win we see repeatedly today, where a brand or concept gains such control and mindshare that no one even recognizes them as a thing anymore. Few people think of Q-tips as a brand versus just being the name of a thing. Pepsi Co executives probably grind their teeth thinking about movie goers ordering "just a coke" when Pepsi products are prominently and solely for sale. Most Internet Explorer users go beyond not understanding what IE is, they don't even understand what a browser is!

Today, I want to talk about something newer and more specific, and less sure. The direction is visible that Mercurial is being given steps (it is important to phrase it this way, as I'll explain) to not matter, and that is precisely why they will win.

CVS still matters, which is precisely why it has lost so utterly in the imaginary battle for geek mindshare. If you are using CVS, it is important to remember that along the way, because it affects how you work and what you can do. Subversion still matters, but less so, as it stays largely out of your way.

None of the layers in the DVCS arena matter very much, because none of them are very different from the others. Git and Mercurial and Darcs? They all behave similar enough that none of them offer anything different, beyond community and how to deal with failures. Now, Google announces upcoming Mercurial support for Google Code, but the real thing that stood out to me is that they built their own implementation over Bigtable. They are not supporting Mercurial, they are supporting the mercurial format.

It wouldn't be difficult to do the same thing and implement any one of them in any one of the others. I think by next year you'll see git and mercurial doing push/pull between one another.

Note: This was a crappy post and I try to stay away from posting just to post, but I'm getting back into the swing of things. Give me a break, yeah?

Next Post: How To Give Up to Succeed (Maybe public commitments will force me to write, lest I be publically humilated!)

Comments

Paddy3118 said…
You've made me think now about how they have done it. I had thought they had took Hg's interface to the filesystem and then mapped it to Bigtable - like the duck-typing substitution of StringIO for a file object in Python.

If they don't have a clean, maintainable, interface to the originam HG codebase, then the two could diverge!

- Paddy.
Paul said…
I don't know how similar Mercurial and git are, but darcs is certainly not very much like git. Darcs operates on patches and does not really care about their ordering -- you can selectively push and pull patches so long as there is no conflict. This is very difficult to do with git.

Popular posts from this blog

Respect and Code Reviews

Code Reviews in a development team only function best, or possible at all, when everyone approaches them with respect. That’s something I’ve usually taken for granted because I’ve had the opportunity to work with amazing developers who shine not just in their technical skills but in their interpersonal skills on a team. That isn’t always the case, so I’m going to put into words something that often exists just in assumptions.
You have to respect your code. This is first only because the nature and intent of code reviews are to safeguard the quality of your code, so even having code reviews demonstrates a baseline of respect for that code. But, maybe not everyone on the team has the same level of respect or entered a team with existing review traditions that they aren’t acquainted with.
There can be culture shock when you enter a team that’s really heavy on code reviews, but also if you enter a team or interact with a colleague who doesn’t share that level of respect for the process or…

CARDIAC: The Cardboard Computer

I am just so excited about this.


CARDIAC. The Cardboard Computer. How cool is that? This piece of history is amazing and better than that: it is extremely accessible. This fantastic design was built in 1969 by David Hagelbarger at Bell Labs to explain what computers were to those who would otherwise have no exposure to them. Miraculously, the CARDIAC (CARDboard Interactive Aid to Computation) was able to actually function as a slow and rudimentary computer. 
One of the most fascinating aspects of this gem is that at the time of its publication the scope it was able to demonstrate was actually useful in explaining what a computer was. Could you imagine trying to explain computers today with anything close to the CARDIAC?

It had 100 memory locations and only ten instructions. The memory held signed 3-digit numbers (-999 through 999) and instructions could be encoded such that the first digit was the instruction and the second two digits were the address of memory to operate on. The only re…

How To Care If BSD, MIT, or GPL Licenses Are Used

The two recent posts about some individuals' choice of GPL versus others' preference for BSD and MIT style licensing has caused a lot of debate and response. I've seen everything as an interesting combination of very important topics being taken far too seriously and far too personally. All involved need to take a few steps back.

For the uninitiated and as a clarifier for the initiated, we're dealing with (basically) three categories of licensing when someone releases software (and/or its code):
Closed Source. Easiest to explain, because you just get nothing.GPL. If you get the software, you get the source code, you get to change it, and anything you combine it with must be under the same terms.MIT and BSD. If you get the software, you might get the source code, you get to change it, and you have no obligations about anything else you combine it with.The situation gets stickier when we look at those combinations and the transitions between them.

Use GPL code with Closed S…