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Re: removing old snapshot CVS tags? (was: gcc_latest_snapshot CVStag)

On Sun, 13 Jul 2003, Gerald Pfeifer wrote:

> Frankly, I don't think that's worth it.  We are talking about snapshot
> tags only, not even pre-releases or some-such, and I completely fail to
> see the benefit of keeping this bit of history.

You don't think that, when someone does a study on "The Cultural and
Technical Development of the EGCS Project, 1997-1999" (perhaps as part of
a more general historical study of free software development), they might
want to look at the changing perspectives on the uses of snapshots versus
CVS and the influences particular brokennesses in the tree - as once
reflected in complaints that a snapshot being broken made the tree
effectively broken for a week for many users, and later reflected in
complaints when CVS is broken for a few hours - have had on the
development process?  (If you think such studies are implausible, or the
title a parody, you've never read long lists of titles of dissertations
across many areas; all sorts of areas of free software development are
natural for possible future studies by historians of computing.)

Predicting which particular documents might be of use to future historians
is always difficult.  But when doing amateur historical research I've
spent enough time in the past seeking hard-to-find publications
(government orders that weren't thought worth printing in the collected
end-of-year volumes because they had ceased to be in effect by the end of
the year, and weren't thought worth keeping by libraries in their
individually printed form because that was meant to be superseded by the
annual volumes) that I'm loth to consider that the publications in
question here - snapshot tags - should be considered now to be of only
ephemeral use.

Joseph S. Myers

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