Bookmarks in core?

Martin Geisler mg at
Wed Dec 1 16:45:50 CST 2010

Matt Mackall <mpm at> writes:

> On Wed, 2010-12-01 at 09:13 +0100, Martin Geisler wrote:
>> If one could mark a bookmark as fixed, then it would behave like a
>> tag,
> Ugh, no, not this again.
> Look, here are the basic properties of any sensible implementation of
> tags:
> a) in history (auditable, signable, etc.)

There is nothing that prevents you from including a committer name and a
signature in a bookmark.

> b) mutable
> c) can be applied after the commit they refer to
> You -really- want ALL these properties for tags on a real project, but
> most critically, you want (a). If you decide to use bookmarks instead
> of tags, and someone accidentally nukes one (or even just moves it),
> you'll have no record of that happening and no way to get it back.

I think you're being too pessimistic here. You seem to assume the bad
deletion will spread automatically and uncontrolled. That assumes a
stupid Mercurial, and we all know that our tool is not stupid :-)
Instead, I am imagining a Mercurial that will warn me if a fixed
bookmark is being deleted, or that will keep a local list of such
deleted fixed bookmarks. That way a rouge deletion wont spread far.

We all have clones on our machines, so if someone deletes or moves a
fixed bookmark, then there will be many clones where it is still intact.
When I pull the bad deletion, then I will be warned or the pull will
abort and I can go fix the problem with the tool we've always used to
fix such problems: communication.

> If you don't think tags need to be in history, then frankly I'm not
> sure why you're even bothering with version control, because you've
> missed the point.

I think you're exaggerating this. One can have version control of data
without having version control over meta data.

You must acknowledge that a lot of people are unhappy with the current
design of tags in Mercurial. They want bookmarks to live outside of the
project history marking a bookmark as fixed seems like a very simple way
of giving them that feature.

It cannot be worse than the problems people face today with bookmarks
that are updated differently by different people, in fact, I believe the
problems will be much fewer since it is a rare occurrence to move a
fixed bookmark, i.e., a tag.

Martin Geisler

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