What Was Elon Musk Trying to Say With His Cryptic Tweet about Git and Subversion?

(Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)

Elon Musk, with the Twitter acquisition, is now the subject of much attention by the general public. Elon is not shy about saying whatever he wants — and being a computer-nerd genius with more money than King Charles III and his late mom, he is sometimes a little obscure.


Like today:

This one was puzzling enough that the editors asked me for a translation. “Version control” is the way software developers keep track of changes in order to make sure you know what’s changed in case you f—— something up. Your version control is what lets you backtrack so that you have a chance to cover up fix the problem. The joke is that the top tool, git, is pretty much the current state of the art. Subversion is the most common previous version control tool. The bottom picture is a bunch of files with ad hoc file names and no other version control at all. So the “real” version control there is the least powerful, oldest method of all.  (Well, if we count duplicate card desks as the same thing.)


Some of you may remember when Mudge, famous hacker and security consultant, testified to Congress. He said Twitter’s security practices were “ten years out of date.”  Well, git is the industry standard version control. Subversion was 20 years ago, and some other tools date back to the late ’70s.

Making copies of files is even older. Is Elon saying that’s the state of Twitter’s code? If so, he may have bigger problems than dealing with a bunch of abusive snowflakes.


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