[OS X TeX] Version controls for LaTeX book production

George Gratzer gratzer at ms.umanitoba.ca
Mon Nov 12 09:15:53 CET 2007

I realize that this is a matter of personal taste. I have been using  
Retrospect which makes me a few backups a day; anytime I pause, in fact.

My point was simple; this works for me. I have never lost anything and  
if I needed an older version, it was always there.

I hope it is the same with Time Machine. Nevertheless, I did not stop  
using Retrospect.

My concern with any tool: efficacy. I am not interested playing with  
my computer, trying out new things just because they are there. I try  
anything, however, that promises to make me more efficient.

A Retrospect backup of my current work is one click. Storage capacity:  
maybe a hundred years. But no project of mine acceded 5 years.


On Nov 12, 2007, at 12:24 AM, Mark Eli Kalderon wrote:

> On Nov 12 2007, at 01:03, David Oliver wrote:
>> I'd welcome comments from book authors on this list with experience  
>> with version controls, such as CVS,  for LaTeX produced books. Do  
>> you find them useful? Do you find them useful even if you are the  
>> only user or author accessing the material?  Recommendation for a  
>> particular system?
>> Thanks,
>> David Oliver
> Version control is the kind of thing that you don't realize you need  
> until you start to using it. I find it helpful both in the  
> collaborative and single user case.
> There are various methods of backing up your work (such as the one  
> George described) but they tend to be ad hoc and not fine grained  
> enough. Version control provides you with a non ad hoc framework to  
> preserve the history of the document. This can be useful, for  
> example, if you wish you hadn't deleted that paragraph, or that  
> digression that was excised later proves useful in another context.  
> If the document is under version control, this material is  
> recoverable. (If it was added and then deleted while in control of  
> one of George's team, then it is lost forever.)
> You shouldn't use CVS. Subversion was designed to fix many of its  
> flaws. So for example, with Subversion and not CVS you can make  
> atomic commits.
> Which version control system you pick depends on your use case.  
> There are two different models. In the centralized model the  
> repository is kept on a server and people check out working copies  
> where they modify files and commit back the changes. CVS and  
> Subversion conform to the centralized model. In the distributed  
> model, there is no central repository but changes can be passed from  
> one repository to the next. Git and Mercurial conform to the  
> decentralized model. The advantage of distributed models is that you  
> don't have to be online to commit. Commits are faster and this  
> encourages more fine grained commits.
> I have been happy using Subversion. Although for my next large  
> project I might try Mercurial.
> Setting up a Subversion repository needn't be a pain. Depends on if  
> you want web access. But even if you do, many companies provide  
> subversion hosting where they have done the heavy lifting. Assembla <http://www.assembla.com/ 
> > offers subversion hosting for free.
> The last issue of PracTeX <http://www.tug.org/pracjourn/> has a  
> number of articles about using LaTeX with Subversion. You might  
> consult these to get an idea of the workflow.
> Good luck.
> All the best, Mark
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