Distributed RVS, Darcs, tech love

Discussion in 'Perl Misc' started by Xah Lee, Oct 20, 2007.

  1. Xah Lee

    Xah Lee Guest

    When i first heard about distributed revision control system about 2
    years ago, i heard of Darcs, which is written in Haskell. I was hugely
    excited, thinking about the functional programing i love, and the no-
    side effect pure system i idolize, and the technology of human animal
    i rapture in daily.

    I have no serious actual need to use a revision system (RVS) in recent
    years, so i never really tried Darcs (nor using any RVS). I just
    thought the new-fangled distributed tech in combination of Haskell was
    great.

    About few months ago, i was updating a 6-year old page i wrote on unix
    tools: ( http://xahlee.org/UnixResource_dir/usoft.html ) and i was
    trying to update myself on the current state of art of revision
    systems. I read Wikipedia this passage:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darcs

    « Darcs currently has a number of significant bugs (see e.g. [1]). The
    most severe of them is "the Conflict bug" - an exponential blowup in
    time needed to perform conflict resolution during merges, reaching
    into the hours and days for "large" repositories. A redesign of the
    repository format and wide-ranging changes in the codebase are planned
    in order to fix this bug, and work on this is planned to start in
    Spring 2007 [2]. »

    This somewhat bursted my bubble, as there always was some doubt in the
    back of my mind about just how Darcs is not just a fantasy-ware
    trumpeted by a bunch of functional tech geekers. (i heard of Darcs in
    irc emacs and haskell channels, who are often student and hobbiests
    programers)

    Also, in my light research, it was to my surprise, that Darcs is not
    the only distributed systems, and perhaps not the first one neither,
    contrary to my impressions. In fact, today there are quite a LOT
    distributed revision systems, actually as a norm. When one looks into
    these, such as Git ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Git_(software) ) one
    finds that some of them are already in practical industrial use for
    large projects, as opposed to Darcs's academic/hobbist kind of
    community.

    In addition to these findings, one additional that greatly pissed me
    off entirely about Darcs, is the intro of the author (David Roundy)'s
    essay about his (questionable-sounding) “theory of patchesâ€used in
    Darcs. ( http://darcs.net/manual/node8.html#Patch )

    Here's the 2 passages:

    «I think a little background on the author is in order. I am a
    physicist, and think like a physicist. The proofs and theorems given
    here are what I would call ``physicist'' proofs and theorems, which is
    to say that while the proofs may not be rigorous, they are practical,
    and the theorems are intended to give physical insight. It would be
    great to have a mathematician work on this, but I am not a
    mathematician, and don't care for math.»

    «From the beginning of this theory, which originated as the result of
    a series of email discussions with Tom Lord, I have looked at patches
    as being analogous to the operators of quantum mechanics. I include in
    this appendix footnotes explaining the theory of patches in terms of
    the theory of quantum mechanics. I know that for most people this
    won't help at all, but many of my friends (and as I write this all
    three of darcs' users) are physicists, and this will be helpful to
    them. To non-physicists, perhaps it will provide some insight into how
    at least this physicist thinks.»

    I love math. I respect Math. I'm nothing but a menial servant to
    Mathematics. Who the **** is this David guy, who proclaims that he's
    no mathematician, then proceed to tell us he dosen't fucking care
    about math? Then, he went on about HIS personal fucking zeal for
    physics, in particular injecting the highly quacky “quantum mechanicsâ€
    with impunity.

    Xah

    ∑ http://xahlee.org/
    Xah Lee, Oct 20, 2007
    #1
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  2. Xah Lee

    j.oke Guest

    On 20 Ott, 05:28, Xah Lee <> wrote:
    >


    yes-and-no.
    j.oke, Oct 20, 2007
    #2
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  3. Xah Lee

    llothar Guest


    > I love math. I respect Math. I'm nothing but a menial servant to
    > Mathematics.


    Programming and use cases are not maths. Many mathematics are
    the worst programmers i've seen because they want to solve things and
    much more often you just need heuristics. Once they are into exact
    world they loose there capability to see the factor of relevance in
    algorithms.

    And they almost never match the mental model that the average
    user has about a problem.
    llothar, Oct 20, 2007
    #3
  4. Xah Lee

    Daniel Pitts Guest

    On Oct 20, 2:04 pm, llothar <> wrote:
    > > I love math. I respect Math. I'm nothing but a menial servant to
    > > Mathematics.

    >
    > Programming and use cases are not maths. Many mathematics are
    > the worst programmers i've seen because they want to solve things and
    > much more often you just need heuristics. Once they are into exact
    > world they loose there capability to see the factor of relevance in
    > algorithms.
    >
    > And they almost never match the mental model that the average
    > user has about a problem.


    I read somewhere that for large primes, using Fermat's Little Theorem
    test is *good enough* for engineers because the chances of it being
    wrong are less likely than a cosmic particle hitting your CPU at the
    exact instant to cause a failure of the same sort. This is the
    primary difference between engineers and mathematicians.
    Daniel Pitts, Oct 21, 2007
    #4
  5. On Sat, 20 Oct 2007 14:04:06 -0700, llothar <> tried to confuse
    everyone with this message:

    >
    >> I love math. I respect Math. I'm nothing but a menial servant to
    >> Mathematics.

    >
    >Programming and use cases are not maths. Many mathematics are
    >the worst programmers i've seen because they want to solve things and
    >much more often you just need heuristics. Once they are into exact
    >world they loose there capability to see the factor of relevance in
    >algorithms.
    >
    >And they almost never match the mental model that the average
    >user has about a problem.


    I'm, not sure that I'm getting your point, but are you trying to argue that
    _not_ knowing mathemathics makes you a better programmer? Or maybe that learning
    math is useless to a programmer? This must be the most ignorant post I've seen
    this week. The *best* programmers I've seen actually had mathematic education.
    The programmers who don't know math are the ones who end up on DailyWTF.

    --
    |Don't believe this - you're not worthless ,gr---------.ru
    |It's us against millions and we can't take them all... | ue il |
    |But we can take them on! | @ma |
    | (A Wilhelm Scream - The Rip) |______________|
    Timofei Shatrov, Oct 21, 2007
    #5
  6. Xah Lee

    llothar Guest

    > I'm, not sure that I'm getting your point, but are you trying to argue that
    > _not_ knowing mathemathics makes you a better programmer?


    No but it doesn't help you very much either. They are just different
    skills.

    > Or maybe that learning math is useless to a programmer?


    No and at least the mathematical idea of building a universe on a
    basic set
    of axioms is pretty exciting for a programmer. But it's the idea not
    the real
    wisdom (I never had to use any serious maths in my 25 years of
    programming)
    that you need as a programmer

    > This must be the most ignorant post I've seen
    > this week. The *best* programmers I've seen actually had mathematic education.


    Depends. I would call Knuth as one of the worst programmers. Look at
    his total
    failures on literature programming. Software Engineering is something
    very
    different. Having a dead - i mean end of development line software
    like TeX - and
    then trying to base a theory about software engineering (which is
    based on changes)
    is so absolutely stupid ...
    llothar, Oct 21, 2007
    #6
  7. Lew wrote:
    >> very
    >> different. Having a dead - i mean end of development line software
    >> like TeX - and

    >
    > Based on what do you call it "dead end". It's used, it's outlasted many
    > other flashes in the pan, it does what its users require. You will need
    > evidence for such a claim.


    According to wikipedia the last version is from december 2002.

    That level of activity could be considered dead.

    It would for almost any other software. Tex has some
    "absolute" over it, so I am not sure normal software
    practices apply.

    But you could argue based on that.

    Arne
    Arne Vajhøj, Oct 21, 2007
    #7
  8. Xah Lee

    Arne Vajhøj Guest

    llothar wrote:
    >> I'm, not sure that I'm getting your point, but are you trying to argue that
    >> _not_ knowing mathemathics makes you a better programmer?

    >
    > No but it doesn't help you very much either. They are just different
    > skills.


    Many things within programming have a foundation in mathematics
    and mathematical logic.

    >> Or maybe that learning math is useless to a programmer?

    >
    > No and at least the mathematical idea of building a universe on a
    > basic set
    > of axioms is pretty exciting for a programmer. But it's the idea not
    > the real
    > wisdom (I never had to use any serious maths in my 25 years of
    > programming)
    > that you need as a programmer


    Depends obvious a bot on what you consider serious math.

    Expression evaluation, floating point characteristics, relational
    database theory, simulation, optimum location, encryption etc.
    are all based on mathematics of different levels.

    >> This must be the most ignorant post I've seen
    >> this week. The *best* programmers I've seen actually had mathematic education.

    >
    > Depends. I would call Knuth as one of the worst programmers. Look at
    > his total
    > failures on literature programming. Software Engineering is something
    > very
    > different.


    I think you will find it very difficult to write a piece of code
    that are not heavily influenced by Knuth.

    Arne
    Arne Vajhøj, Oct 21, 2007
    #8
  9. Xah Lee

    OMouse Guest

    For the love of the Perl, Python, Lisp, Java and functional
    programmers, please just give an abstract of what you've written and
    link to it?

    -Rudolf
    OMouse, Oct 21, 2007
    #9
  10. Xah Lee

    llothar Guest

    On 21 Okt., 21:39, Arne Vajhøj <> wrote:

    > That level of activity could be considered dead.


    For me at least 2% of the total line count should be changed
    to call it non dead.

    I don't say it it not used anymore for users it might be
    not dead but this is not the point under discussion here.
    llothar, Oct 21, 2007
    #10
  11. Xah Lee

    llothar Guest

    >
    > Depends obvious a bot on what you consider serious math.
    >
    > Expression evaluation, floating point characteristics, relational
    > database theory, simulation, optimum location, encryption etc.
    > are all based on mathematics of different levels.


    Thats not i call serious maths. You just need a very little
    understanding
    here for all this concepts. A "extended high school degress" should be
    well
    enough (based on our education system in Germany - don't know how much
    math
    you do in a US high schoool). A little bit set theory and of course
    boolean
    algebra (on a very low level but unfortunately not teached in school).

    But where do you need the way to prove mathematical theorems and this
    is what
    i call as serious math. You don't need to prove anything you just need
    to
    use it. (In 95% of all programming, except some embedded programming
    with
    DSP's or numeric.)

    > > Depends. I would call Knuth as one of the worst programmers. Look at
    > > his total
    > > failures on literature programming. Software Engineering is something
    > > very
    > > different.

    >
    > I think you will find it very difficult to write a piece of code
    > that are not heavily influenced by Knuth.


    Well programming in the small like sort algorithms for sure. But not
    for his great discoveries but for one of the first man who was paid
    for this by this university employee.

    But in the field of software enginering as i said before he
    completely
    failed. And for me programming is just another word for software
    engineering these days.
    llothar, Oct 21, 2007
    #11
  12. Lew schrieb:
    > I am afraid that your conclusion is quite mistaken. Knuth is, if
    > anything, a huge success in the field of software engineering, whether
    > you rate it as making a contribution to the art, or as being paid to
    > perform the art.


    Well, sort of.
    Some of the code given is unreadable. (He obviously didn't take the
    "structured programming" thing to heart.)
    Worse, some of the code given is inscrutable, and remains unexplained
    (e.g. the code for the spectral test algorithm).
    Whole classes of algorithms were omitted. This is probably no fault of
    Knuth as a programmer, but simply a field that's moving faster than a
    single person can keep up with.

    These are small detractions from a large overall contribution.
    In particular, I find llothars characterization of TeX wrong: it is one
    of the least buggy typesetting programs ever written (not a small feat),
    and it *still* produces output that is as least as good as what other
    programs do, and in fact better than the vast majority.
    It also has downsides, most notably the markup language is pure horror.

    TeX's markup language is a dead end.
    TeX's algorithm isn't. Actually it has been extracted from the software
    and is available as a functional program, waiting to be embedded into a
    typesetting system with more modern qualities.

    Regards,
    Jo
    Joachim Durchholz, Oct 21, 2007
    #12
  13. On Oct 20, 6:20 pm, Daniel Pitts <> wrote:
    > On Oct 20, 2:04 pm, llothar <> wrote:
    >
    > > > I love math. I respect Math. I'm nothing but a menial servant to
    > > > Mathematics.

    >
    > > Programming and use cases are not maths. Many mathematics are
    > > the worst programmers i've seen because they want to solve things and
    > > much more often you just need heuristics. Once they are into exact
    > > world they loose there capability to see the factor of relevance in
    > > algorithms.

    >
    > > And they almost never match the mental model that the average
    > > user has about a problem.

    >
    > I read somewhere that for large primes, using Fermat's Little Theorem
    > test is *good enough* for engineers because the chances of it being
    > wrong are less likely than a cosmic particle hitting your CPU at the
    > exact instant to cause a failure of the same sort. This is the
    > primary difference between engineers and mathematicians.


    Carmichael number are the ones who are making the problem , but they
    are very rare.
    There are 1,401,644 Carmichael numbers between 1 and 1018
    (approximately one in 700 billion numbers.)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carmichael_number If you want to be sure
    use Miller-Rabin test.

    Slobodan Blazeski
    Slobodan Blazeski, Oct 21, 2007
    #13
  14. Xah Lee

    llothar Guest

    On 21 Okt., 22:45, Lew <> wrote:

    > Evidence is that TeX development is dead.


    Exactly and Knuths only contribution to software development was the
    theory of
    "literate" programming. As i said for me algorithms are not software
    development,
    this is programming in the small (something left for coding apes), not
    programming
    in the large. There are no problems anymore with programming the
    small, sure you
    can try to develop Judy Arrays or another more optimized sorting
    algorithm, but
    this has no real world effect. It is theoretical computer science -
    well a few
    people seem to like this.

    And as an evidence that this theory works ("literate" programming) -
    there is no
    easy prove about efficient workflow - was his TeX program where only
    some parts
    are handled like this. But drawing an conclusion from a "developement
    dead"
    project to other "in development" projects is just sorry: fucking
    stupid.

    Everythink in the real world says that "literate" programming is not
    useable.
    Sure if you are an academic guy you can do endless post-mortem
    analysis you might
    find this amazing but it is just as worthless for the real world as a
    guy building
    a copy of the Eiffel tower from burned matches - a pure hobby.
    llothar, Oct 21, 2007
    #14
  15. On Oct 21, 3:11 pm, Lew <> wrote:

    > Try using reason, logic and evidence for your points instead of merely
    > shouting obscenities, hm?


    You're expecting logic from someone who asserts that

    > llothar wrote:
    > > only contribution to software development was the theory of
    > > "literate" programming.


    Good luck, mate.

    -o
    Owen Jacobson, Oct 21, 2007
    #15
  16. Xah Lee

    Kay Schluehr Guest

    On 21 Okt., 19:34, Joachim Durchholz <> wrote:

    > These are small detractions from a large overall contribution.
    > In particular, I find llothars characterization of TeX wrong: it is one
    > of the least buggy typesetting programs ever written (not a small feat),
    > and it *still* produces output that is as least as good as what other
    > programs do, and in fact better than the vast majority.


    Acording to the Legend Of The Great Knuth ( derived from personal
    confessions ) Knuth used a "Clean Room" approach. He specified and
    verified the entire program before he started hacking it into the
    machine. The result is accordingly. What has changed since then is
    computer power and easeness of tool usage. One would rather use an
    incremental approach today and specify + hack + test the program in
    tiny pieces without struggling too much with the programming
    equipment. So it also just incrementally improves.
    Kay Schluehr, Oct 22, 2007
    #16
  17. Xah Lee

    Xah Lee Guest

    TeX pestilence (was Distributed RVS, Darcs, tech love)

    TeX, in my opinion, has done massive damage to the computing world.

    i have written on this variously in emails. No coherent argument, but
    the basic thoughts are here:
    http://xahlee.org/cmaci/notation/TeX_pestilence.html

    it's slightly repeatitous there. But i think i might summarize in gist
    the few fundanmental issues, all sterm from just the first one:

    1. A typesetting system per se, not a mathematical expressions
    representation system.

    2. The free nature, like cigeratte given to children, contaminated the
    entire field of math knowledge representation into 2 decades of
    stagnation.

    3. Being a typesetting system, brainwashed entire generation of
    mathematicians into micro-spacing doodling.

    4. Inargurated a massive collection of documents that are invalid
    HTML. (due to the programing moron's ingorance and need to idolize a
    leader, and TeX's inherent problem of being a typesetting system that
    is unsuitable of representing any structure or semantics)

    5. This is arguable and trivial, but i think TeX judged as a computer
    language in particular its syntax, on esthetical grounds, sucks in
    major ways.

    Btw, a example of item 4 above, is Python's documentation. Fucking
    asses and holes.

    Xah

    http://xahlee.org/
    Xah Lee, Oct 22, 2007
    #17
  18. Re: TeX pestilence (was Distributed RVS, Darcs, tech love)

    George Neuner schrieb:
    >> 5. This is arguable and trivial, but i think TeX judged as a computer
    >> language in particular its syntax, on esthetical grounds, sucks in
    >> major ways.

    >
    > No one except you thinks TeX is a "computer language".


    But it is.
    It's Turing-complete.
    And yes, it sucks in major ways.
    But no, I don't hold that against Knuth. It was designed in days when
    domain-specific languages didn't have a roughly standardized syntax.

    (Truth remains truth, regardless of who's upholding it.)

    Regards,
    Jo
    Joachim Durchholz, Oct 22, 2007
    #18
  19. Xah Lee

    J. Gleixner Guest

    Lew wrote:
    > George Neuner wrote:
    >> An attractive person of the opposite sex stands on the other side of
    >> the room. You are told that your approach must be made in a series of
    >> discrete steps during which you may close half the remaining distance
    >> between yourself and the other person.
    >>
    >> Mathematician: "But I'll never get there!"
    >>
    >> Engineer: "I'll get close enough."

    >
    > Mechanician (to the researcher): Hey, you look pretty good. What's your
    > sign?


    To which he/she replies, "Negative". :)
    J. Gleixner, Oct 22, 2007
    #19
  20. Re: TeX pestilence (was Distributed RVS, Darcs, tech love)

    On Mon, 22 Oct 2007 09:07:37 -0400, Lew <> wrote:

    >Xah Lee wrote:
    >> i have written ... No coherent argument,


    I've long killfiled XL to the effect that all of his threads are
    ignored altogether, since the guy is "nice" enough to only take part
    to his own rants, but occasionally some posts slip out and now from
    the Subject I infer that the new target for his hate is TeX, which
    makes me wonder, given his views on Perl (and "unixisms in general"
    iirc) what our "friend" would think about such a wonderful tool as
    PerlTeX - from his POV certainly a synergy between two of the worst
    devil's devices. :)


    Michele
    --
    {$_=pack'B8'x25,unpack'A8'x32,$a^=sub{pop^pop}->(map substr
    (($a||=join'',map--$|x$_,(unpack'w',unpack'u','G^<R<Y]*YB='
    ..'KYU;*EVH[.FHF2W+#"\Z*5TI/ER<Z`S(G.DZZ9OX0Z')=~/./g)x2,$_,
    256),7,249);s/[^\w,]/ /g;$ \=/^J/?$/:"\r";print,redo}#JAPH,
    Michele Dondi, Oct 24, 2007
    #20
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