List of things I don't like about using Monotone

Richard Laager rlaager at
Mon Apr 30 09:37:19 EDT 2007

On Mon, 2007-04-30 at 03:25 -0500, Mark Doliner wrote:
> As promised, here's my list of reasons why I don't like using Monotone.  Some
> of these might be fixable, some of them are just my opinion, and some of them
> are barely even rational.  Basically I just think the added complexity of a
> distributed version control system is annoying and unnecessary.

I've attached my responses to these. I'm a fan of this Monotone magic,
if you can't tell. ;) I really like the idea of a distributed VCS and I
think it's going to get even more useful once we get some best practices
written up for patch writers.

> * Not being able to run "meld ." in the root directory of my source to view a
> beautiful tree of all my changes.

Meld seems to be trying, but failing. This is probably a bug in Meld's
Monotone support. It's supposed to support Monotone, I believe. You
should file a bug with the Meld developers.

> * There's no way to view the revision history for a given file in the web
> interface in trac.

This is a problem with Monotone integration in Trac. We do need to get
this fixed.

> * Commit emails don't always include a diff, the subject line is useless and
> the emails don't always arrive chronologically from when they were committed.

Yes, we desperately need to fix that, but it's not a Monotone problem
per se.

> * Having to run 'mtn commit', 'mtn pull', 'mtn merge' then 'mtn push' to check
> stuff in.
> * Having to run 'mtn pull' then 'mtn update' to check stuff out.

Make an alias or a shell script if these bother you. That said, I think
you're missing the point on how useful it is to have these operations
separated. It makes it much easier to Commit Early, Commit Often without
breaking the tree from others' point of view (since they only see what
you push).

> * 'mtn pull' and 'mtn push' take a long time compared to 'svn update'

They do take a little bit longer, but 10 seconds (at most) compared to 1
(at best) doesn't kill me. Yes, it is an order of magnitude longer, but
at the same, it's only 9 seconds. I think it's a small price to pay for
distributed features.

> * 'mtn annotate' is really slow.

I've not seen any slowness here. Perhaps I have a faster computer, I
don't know. I don't run annotate very often.

> * Given a revision number, I can't just subtract 1 to get the previous revision.

I figured Monotone would have a selector to do this. I haven't been able
to find one. It really should. I filed a bug on this. I hope you don't
mind, I put you on the CC list.

> * I have to freaking compile my own deb for Ubuntu in order to use a version
> that isn't ancient.

This is something where Ubuntu will eventually catch up. Until then, you
can use the .deb from the Monotone website.

> * Having to read large amounts of documentation to figure out how to use it.

I don't see how this is different from any other VCS. I've not read any
more documentation on Monotone than I did for SVN, probably less.

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