cvs, svn, and git -- a tangential revisit


A long-ish article about a talk that Michael Meeks gave about Libre Office, in which you find this gem (the emphasis is mine, not in the original):

OpenOffice.org has a somewhat checkered history when it comes to revision control. CVS was used for some years, resulting in a fair amount of pain; simply tagging a release would take about two hours to run. Still, they lived with CVS for some time until OpenOffice.org launched into a study to determine which alternative revision control system would be best to move to. The study came back recommending Git, but that wasn't what the managers wanted to hear, so they moved to Subversion instead - losing most of the project's history in the process. Later, a move to Mercurial was done, losing history again. The result is a code base littered with commented-out code; nobody ever felt confident actually deleting anything because they never knew if they would be able to get it back. Many code changes are essentially changelogged within the code itself as well. Now LibreOffice is using Git and a determined effort is being made to clean that stuff up.

This brings me back to my major beef with most "corporate" IT (even if the end product is open source): the people who have the knowledge don't have the power, and the people who have the power don't have the knowledge and won't listen.

1 comment:

Shahla said...

The people who have the knowledge don't have the power, and the people who have the power don't have the knowledge and won't listen.

I completely agree with you on this. Your knowledge and ideas go down the drain because of people who don’t understand/ make an attempt to understand your point of view. And this is not a problem only with people who have power; I think most ideas get rejected even before they reach upper management.

This is how a good idea gets CRUSHED in “Corporate IT”:

Level 1: Team members / colleagues

In most cases you have to involve your team members to bring a change but they try their best to discourage you from presenting/pursuing an idea because of following reasons:

1. Unwillingness to put an effort: You get to hear “It is not our work” or “It will increase our workload” or “Why should we do it”.

2. Ego / Competition: This is self explanatory ;).

3. Lack of Self belief: I hate this lot of people most. First they don’t believe in themselves and then they try to discourage you too from giving an idea. This what they will utter often - ” How can we do this” , “How can we do that”, “ Others wont agree” , “ We cannot make decisions” , “ Someone should teach us, we cannot do it on our own” , “ We shouldn’t give ideas/suggestions “, “what will they think “, “they know better” , “ What if they feel this is stupid” , “How can we talk with him/her they are too big” etc etc. Phew!!!

4. Resistance to change: They are scared to try out something new.

5. Lack of enthusiasm: You come up with an idea and explain to them what your plan is; they will keep nodding their head with a smile. When you are done, they will leave to have a coffee without much discussion or input from their side.

6. Cynicism: God save me from such people!!! No matter what idea you give, they will always try to find a fault, criticize it and will conclude IT WONT WORK!!! These are the kind of people who avoid taking risk.

Level 2: Anyone in between you and upper management

They can be anyone who has slightly more power than you. And you need their approval for important decisions. These are the people whom you approach to discuss your ideas but these are the problems you face at times:

Time: “I have a meeting today; will have discussion with you later”. “I saw your mail, didn’t get time to read it, will discuss this tomorrow”. “Will will need XYZ’s opinion on this, he is not picking up his phone, will drop him a mail, we will discuss once he replies”. A famous Hindi dialogue fits here, “Tareekh pe Tareekh”. They are a busy lot, discussions do happen but most of the time things don’t work out the way they should because they don’t have enough time (and hence, patience) to completely understand your point of view.

...what next: They will listen to you, raise some questions and at the end will say, “We will think about it”. After some days, you start wondering whether he said “think” or “forget”.

There is more to say,maybe will continue some other day