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Subversion vs. Perforce

From: Guido van Rossum <guido_at_python.org>
Date: 2003-09-10 01:38:52 CEST

In our young startup I've installed Subversion because I could, and
we've been using it for about a month now successfully (admittedly
I've done 95% of all checkins, we've not started using Apache, and
I've failed miserably at building from source for Red Hat 9 -- a
mystery which I don't have time to research further alas). We now
have a real VP of engineering, and he wants to switch to Perforce.
This is not a fight I want to spend a lot of time on, but if there's
an obvious rebuttal to his arguments for switching I'd like to hear

His reasoning is that we're going to have *one* company-wide source
control system for all documents that need to be under source control,
not just code, but also specs, docs, marketing collateral, etc. I
agree with this. Then he argues that non-engineers such as marketing
are going to use the source control software, and that they won't be
able to use Subversion since there's only a command line interface,
while Perforce has a nice GUI for such people. I agree that a GUI is

So now my question: what does Subversion has that compares to
Perforce's GUI? I've used Perforce in the past, but only the command
line interface so I don't know what its GUI does, but I imagine it's a
nice piece of work, especially if you're on Windows (the only platform
we care about for non-engineers). I liked the Perforce command line
interface fine, but I'd prefer to continue to work with Subversion if
only to support open source, and to save the $750/seat that Perforce
will cost, and perhaps because I like Subversion's model for
per-repository revisions and its approach to branching better. But
for that money I can't put up much of a fight -- I want to save energy
for real work and for defending Python's role in the project if it
becomes under threat.

Should I give up, or is there a good GUI for Subversion?

--Guido van Rossum (home page: http://www.python.org/~guido/)

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Received on Wed Sep 10 01:40:00 2003

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