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Microsoft and GitHub team up to take Git virtual file system to macOS, Linux

Postby MrFredPFL » Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:44 pm

Story : https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2017/11/microsoft-and-github-team-up-to-take-git





One of the more surprising stories of the past year was Microsoft's announcement that it was going to use the Git version control system for Windows development. Microsoft had to modify Git to handle the demands of Windows development but said that it wanted to get these modifications accepted upstream and integrated into the standard Git client.

That plan appears to be going well. Yesterday, the company announced that GitHub was adopting its modifications and that the two would be working together to bring suitable clients to macOS and Linux.

Microsoft wanted to move to Git because of Git's features, like its easy branching and its popularity among developers. But the transition faced three problems. Git wasn't designed for such vast numbers of developers—more than 20,000 actively working on the codebase. Also, Git wasn't designed for a codebase that was so large, either in terms of the number of files and version history for each file, or in terms of sheer size, coming in at more than 300GB. When using standard Git, working with the source repository was unacceptably slow. Common operations (such as checking which files have been modified) would take multiple minutes.

The company's solution was to develop Git Virtual File System (GVFS). With GVFS, a local replica of a Git repository is virtualized such that it contains metadata and only the source code files that have been explicitly retrieved. By eliminating the need to replicate every file (and, hence, check every file for modifications), both the disk footprint of the repository and the speed of working with it were greatly improved. Microsoft modified Git to handle this virtual file system. The client was altered so that it didn't needlessly try to access files that weren't available locally and a new transfer protocol was added for selectively retrieving individual files from a remote repository.







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