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Re: version numbers

The best argument I've seen so far for version numbers, is that they allow
you to detect easily when a file has changed (the version number is different)
and to find out *what* has changed. I tend to agree with Dan R., that the little
numbers on the end of the filenames are not the right way to do this; they
distract too much when browsing or looking for something. The argument that
version numbers provide automagic backup common to all utilities (i.e. not
just for editors), doesn't cut it. There are other ways of accomplishing
that (e.g., we use a backup daemon that scavenges for recently modified files,
and copies them to another filesystem -- hidden, as Dan wants). If a version
number scheme is used instead of an RCS, you are paying an awful lot of
storage overhead without getting the big advantage of an RCS (enforced log
entries associated with incremental changes). The namespace editor issue is
related. The backup daemon uses lots of space too, but it does collect 'old'
files in one place, which makes it much less of an administrative problem
than having new and old files intermixed and not knowing what is important
(plus it limits wastage to whatever space is allocated for incremental backup).

As I've expressed in private mail to a couple of posters, the debate largely
disappears if the parameter defaulting and inheritance mechanisms are
appropriate. If each user can set global default params for all directories/
files they create, and this interacts 'properly' (whatever that means) with
system defaults and other people's preferences, each user can get the view
they prefer without constant work.

Keeping multiple versions around wastes *a lot* of space when they aren't
needed, and the people whose fingers do slip once in a while, and may need
file versions, are typically those that don't make proper use of the
facilities (thus wasting space).

Hmmm, I wonder if the ease of copying files has something to do with this
cultural difference? If it takes more than 5 seconds to 'copy file file.backup'
I can imagine version numbers being wished for in that environment. Terseness
does have something going for it at times.

> I suppose that people who are used to having an incinerator, instead of a
> waste basket, think that it's too costly to have their janitor take out the
> trash, and unsightly to have waste paper in view until he comes by.

Cute analogy. Consider that if you're used to having an incinerator, you
don't make mistakes. Therefore paying for a service you won't use (the janitor
& basket) will indeed be too costly since your incinerator is still around.
Keeping waste paper in view is no problem, flaunting it tends to hurt people's
sense of esthetics.

Anyway, there are lots more nuances to this, in both camps.
It's been interesting.