Distributed Mindset

I peruse the Git developers mailing list when I have random bits of time.

Recently, there was a discussion regarding the git-scm.com website, its content and “feel,” and ownership.

One of the Git developers had an interesting observation about the cognitive aspects of using decentralized/distributed version control, especially as they’re used in the open source community.

That is one case where the “central repository” approach has at least
some psychological advantage over the “one personal repository is what
is considered canonical” approach used by the Linux kernel, Git, the
Git-scm site and possibly by most of the GitHub hosted projects: with a
central repository, there is somewhat less of a feeling that one person
“owns” the project (even admin rights come into play only for
exceptional circumstances rather than everyday work). Possibly that
makes it a bit harder to say “not my field of responsibility”.

Such a distinction may be considered to be unimportant semantics, but to that point, I’ll quote one of my favorite John Allspaw tweets:

This distinction may also be why projects that don’t center around a particular person’s repository as the “repository of record” end up basically having a more centralized workflow again, a fact readily observed when GitHub goes down and Twitter blows up with people who claim they can no longer get any work done.