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I was pleased to see darcs mentioned in an article. I've been looking forward to trying it. The appealing aspect is that it's got a solid foundation in mathematics. Which means to me that it's going to have the most power when it comes to re-merging branches or portions thereof, as is often needed when cherry picking changes to be merged back into the main line branch.
I would be interested to hear you elaborate on your qualms about personal branches from a management standpoint, particularly vis-a-vie darcs. It seems to me that if you want the developer to frequently check-in, and you also want to keep some branches in an "always working" state, that you're just going to have to put up with having gobs of branches. I see no alternative.
Karl O. Pinc <firstname.lastname@example.org>