The push|pull vs update distinction

Andrew Cowie andrew at
Tue Jan 15 03:08:32 GMT 2008

Chatting today in #bzr, we had a user who had not realized the
implications of `bzr push` not running update across a remote transport.

The root cause of his problem turned out to be something else, but along
the way it was pretty clear that he was puzzled by why `bzr push` was
"just working" locally and "not working" remotely.

In passing I made a suggestion to Robert that perhaps we face a slight
education issue here: although it is clearly awesome that Bazaar just
gets on with it and does the sensible thing when a `bzr push` is done
locally by implicitly invoking `bzr update`

He noted that even just a single output line like "now running update"
or whatever might help people realize that there are two steps being
done [locally], and asked me to mention it in an email.



Certainly the other VCSs, notably git, make the push vs update
distinction very explicit, something which I find somewhat an
unnecessary pain in the ass. So Bazaar's just-do-it behaviour here is
clearly superior. I would, however, note that this conflicts with two
other current behaviours: 1. lack of automatic [commit on] merge, and 2.
lack of update on push to remote repository when the protocol being used
(ie the ssh in bzr+ssh) clearly allows it.

Now, I understand the arguments against both of these, but they are both
cases where the just-do-it vibe is not taking precedence and, taken as a
whole, just getting on with some things and not others (especially where
the same command behaves differently in similar circumstances) that
would seem to be jarring in the classic usability sense.

I obviously bias towards absolute consistency in user interface over the
system as a whole rather than individual commands being refined at the
expense of such overall uniformity. Almost all of my (admittedly short)
list of concerns with Bazaar fall into this category, so I figured I
would mention my observation of this discrepancy. 


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