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Subversion vs. CVS (was Re: Congratulations!)

From: Mike Mason <mgm_at_thoughtworks.net>
Date: 2004-01-07 08:43:36 CET

kfogel@collab.net wrote:

>
>>Since 1.0 is now just around the corner, I wonder if someone on the
>>SVN team would be interested in writing a brief article on the "event"
>>to post on the cmcrossroads.com announcements list? If someone would
>>even be willing to write a limited series of small articles on SVN
>>concepts and operation and how it improves CVS, I can ask the editor
>>if room could be made to accommodate such a "series" because I feel
>>this is a huge event that an extremely large community (all CVS users
>>at a bare minimum) will be interested in.
>>
>>
>
>That would be great... I've cross-posted this to the dev list, since
>there are potential authors there too.
>
>

I'd be happy to help write (or contribute to) anything that helps
evangelise Subversion. I've been mentioning Subversion on my blog every
now and then, even incurring the displeasure of a certain source control
vendor, so putting together something like this sounds fun.

Can we brainstorm a list of things that we'd like to mention when
talking about Subversion for CVS users?

- designed from scratch, by people who know what they're talking about
(anyone want to pipe up with credentials? Several people here "wrote the
book" on CVS, I know this as it's sitting on my desk...)
- high-performance database backend, not a collection of individual RCS
files
- branching and tagging as cheap operations
- atomic commit (include discussion about *why* this is useful!)
- optionally leverages Apache for networking (why this is good, plus
talk about svn/svn+ssh)
- excellent internals, leading to good APIs for add-on tools (give
examples of tools that exist, and maybe some that don't exist for CVS
which would be feasible for Subversion)

What have I missed? What CVS misfeatures does Subversion fix that really
help sell it?

A lot of times I hear, "Subversion, 3 years in development, and it's
nothing new" -- I happen to disagree, I think Perforce is the only thing
that comes close (that I've used) to having this set of useful features.
No, it doesn't do distributed this that and the other -- but do you
*need* that? I need decent, simple, everyday operation from source
control, which lets me control what I do, not trip up other developers,
and helps me figure out what's happened to the code through decent
history tracking. This probably isn't something to mention directly when
talking about how great we think Subversion is, I just wanted to get it
off my chest!

Is there also a need for a comparison between Subversion and various
other source control systems? I've read a few, including some which had
done plenty of research and included feature-list tickboxes, but that
read a little bit like the author hadn't used much of the systems they
were comparing to. For example, I'd feel qualified to compare Subversion
to CVS, Perforce, and StarTeam (and, to be honest, I still think
Perforce is better, although not in every situation). The Perforce
website includes a page with interesting performance benchmarks on it,
and I think it would be good for Subversion to have that kind of
reference too.

Cheers,
Mike.

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Received on Wed Jan 7 08:44:47 2004

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