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JISC-REPOSITORIES  March 2009

JISC-REPOSITORIES March 2009

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Subject:

Re: Repositories vs Source code repositories

From:

Joss Winn <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Joss Winn <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 17 Mar 2009 13:49:09 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (74 lines)

On 12/03/2009 21:11, "Paul Walk" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Les has drawn the distinction between the essentially 'live' nature of
> content in source-code repositories and the generally rather static
> aspect of content in our average IR. Of course there are plenty of
> examples of source-code repositories which are no longer being used to
> support 'live' code (swathes of sourceforge.net resemble a graveyard
> of abandoned software projects), but this distinction is nonetheless
> true and important.
> 
> I would like to point up another distinction: the source code
> repository is, pretty much by definition, designed to support a *team*
> (or at least a pair) working on the same project. Version control is
> fundamental, but equally important are a set of tools and practices
> supported by the repository to aid collaborative development. A
> typical interaction with the average IR is, I venture, a more solitary
> affair.
> 
> Having said this, it has occurred to me that there may well be an
> overlap, in terms of architecture at least, between LOCKKS and a
> relatively new source-code version control system called 'Git'.
> 
> Paul
> 


A few days have passed and no-one's picked up and ran with Paul's reference
to Git and LOCKKS. I am not a hard-core user of Git's *distributed* version
control, but even to me it seems there is something significant going on
here with a shift occurring in software development from a central
repository of full text (which is what source code is, after all), to a
distributed model where each user maintains their own full version of the
'master' repository.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Git_(software)

Git is not the only distributed version control system, but it is the one
with the most satisfying name to mutter under your breath and has had a
significant rate of adoption because of its heritage in being developed for
the revision control of the Linux kernel.

There's also a couple of user-friendly web-based 'social' git systems:

http://github.com/ & http://gitorious.com/

Note how git has made 'forking' (creating your own copy) a repository, a
perfectly acceptable and desirable thing to do, which is why, I imagine,
Paul made the link between Git and LOCKKS.

A few weeks ago, I woke very early with an unusually strong hunch that Git
could be understood as a 'kernel' for collaboration by providing a core tool
set for many kinds of collaboration service layers. Github is a good example
of how it's been used to build upon. This bloke seems to think it's suitable
for a distributed filesystem:
http://www.advogato.org/person/apenwarr/diary/371.html

I'm quietly excited by Git and distributed revision control and wonder
whether other members of this list have given it much thought and want to
discuss it further in terms of how it might be built upon, for academic
collaboration and archiving.

Joss

-- 
Technology Officer
Centre for Educational Research and Development
University of Lincoln
Brayford Pool
Lincoln
LN67TS
UK

T: +44-1522-886759
http://joss.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk

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