Bazaar, the version control system, has been my source control management tool of choice for the past several months. Not only has if been really useful in my Drupal core development and testing, I’ve been able to watch it get faster and better in that time. But, there is a big difference between me using it on personal projects and using it on a team project with people of varying skill sets. This is where the Bazaar epic failure became evident. There is no good (or even decent) Mac GUI for Bazaar.
Why This Failure Is EpicBazaar was started by Canonical (the company behind Ubuntu) so you'd expect Bazaar to be a solid tool on Linux. But, the initial charter for Bazaar was to "build a distributed version-control system that open-source hackers will love to use." The problem is that a lot of a lot of open-source hackers don't work on Linux and don't want to use the command line.
The Bazaar homepage even says, “Bazaar directly supports many workflows with ease.” Not if you’re on a Mac and don’t want to use the terminal.
This failure is epic for two reasons. First, Bazaar is trying to be a version control system for the open-source masses and yet it doesn’t have the supporting tools around it to be that way. When I started looking for a Mac GUI I was amazed at the lack of desire to see one. I was directed to use Bazaar Explorer as if it were a good solution, which it isn’t.
The second reason is that Bazaar was started back in February of 2005 and had it’s 1.0 release back in 2007. In software terms that’s a long time to not see a Mac GUI.
Why A GUI MattersSome people, like myself, really enjoy using the command line. Others only touch it when they have no other way to get something done and they are following specific instructions. Then there are gobs of people in between these.
Working on a project with web designers and even programmers who don’t like the command line means you need to use a GUI. And, I do know quite a number of college graduates with computer science degrees who like to use a GUI for this.
Explorer Doesn't Cut The MustardIf you go to the Bazaar homepage there you'll see Explorer shown off right at the top. The problem is, this doesn't cut the Mac mustard. To get Explorer up and running on a Mac means you need to install QT (132 Megs), QBzr, a few other programs from the command line, and then Explorer from the command line. Then, to fire it up you need to use the command line.
It doesn’t stop there. Explorer uses QBzr to do much of what it does. So, many of the features open up in new windows which are actually a new program running each time.
This isn’t a real mac program or even something I can direct others to use.
Hope For The FutureThe lack of a good Mac GUI means that for my next group project I'll have to decide between Git and Mercurial, two of the popular alternatives. But, there is hope for the future. BazaarX has been started to fill this void. Hopefully it just needs time to be built out into a full featured program to fill this hole.
I look forward to the day I can add an update to this post saying this is no longer an issue.