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Re: Commercial Users of Subversion: LET ME KNOW

From: Ron Bieber <ron_at_bieberlabs.com>
Date: 2004-07-23 13:56:38 CEST


I currently manage a group of about 20 developers for a Fortune 500
company. We used CVS from January of 2001 until May of 2004 when we
converted all of our repositories over to Subversion.

The advantages we received from Subversion are immense. Before our
conversion to CVS from VSS, we had two full time employees managing our
production builds. Upon conversion to CVS we cut that resource count
down to one. This resource handled all branching and merging
activities, reporting activities, and manipulation of the CVS repository
to move files while retaining history. The CVS branching and merging
was just too cryptic (and took too long) for anyone to want to learn
it. We had two CVS "experts" in house which included me and one of my
direct reports. We were constantly called in to resolve issues. I
myself spent a ton of time managing the support of the CVS repositories.

After running across Subversion by chance in May of 2003, I started
piloting it at home. As I used it more, I became convinced that this
was a tool that my team needed in order to increase our productivity.
After using it for a while, I was able to come up with some specific
areas that justified our conversion to Subversion in order to maximize
our productivity and code quality:

1. Atomic commits - The lack of atomicity in commits was a huge problem
for us with CVS. Subversion gives us the confidence that when we
commit, everything went into the repository.
2. The ability to back out changes before going to production - using an
activity branching model, we can allow developers to branch per activity
and only merge to the main source base after code reviews have been
performed. If there are problems, we have one revision we can back out
that includes the full changeset for that change. While the repository
level revisioning was a shift for my developers to make that didn't
happen immediately, it begins to make sense when an activity had to be
removed from the build. In CVS we had to go through each file looking
for revisions that were effected by a change. Subversion now manages
this for us.
3. Decreased build time. We run CruiseControl, and the checkout times
we were experiencing with CVS, along with our requirement to tag of our
source base after each build caused our automated build cycle to take an
inordinate amount of time. With the restriction that all production
changes MUST go through the build, this made emergency situations very
stressful. The cheap copy functionality of Subversion decreased the
time it took to get a change into source control, through the build
system, and into deployment packages by 80%, greatly increasing our
response time.
4. Directory Versioning - this was a big deal that caused us to
actually evaluate Clearcase at one point. The CVS Attic was killing us
in checkout time and build time with the velocity of change we were
making to the source base. When checkout times got too slow, we would
have to wipe out the attic, effectively wiping out the history of our
source base. With Subversion, we can remove something from the
repository and not suffer performance penalties later (and still be able
to get the deleted contents back).
5. Simpler (and faster) branching - we no longer have a full time FTE
managing branches. We are now cycling this activity through the
group. Each developer can perform this activity, because it is now
part of his daily work.

As a manager, converting to Subversion was one of the best decisions I
have made thus far that had a such a direct and highly visible impact on
the productivity of my team.

I hope this helps you make your case for Subversion. My personal
opinion is that no one should even consider CVS at this point in time.
Subversion is a great product and the support you get just on the
mailing lists alone (from the development team no less!) is second to

-- Ron

On Wed, 2004-07-21 at 09:48, Darren_Enns@cwb.ca wrote:

> Hello, I am new to this list. I have been participating in a 'proof
> of concept' project to implement Subversion into our company's
> computer environment.
> Everything is going fine, and everyone involved is very impressed with
> Subversion, except that we have hit a 'snag' in our plans -- the
> 'conservative' nature of our company will probably refuse the move to
> Subversion -- and pick 'CVS' instead -- since we don't want to be the
> 'first guys on the block' that use Subversion for mission-critical
> non-open-source project development.
> I have till this Friday to look for evidence that there are
> 'commercial' users of Subversion that are using it for
> 'mission-critical' development and are happy with it. The
> 'testimonials' page on the Subversion website contains lots of good
> 'open source' users, but I need testimonials from 'commercial' users.
> If you think you can help me, please let me know ASAP! I am
> desperate! :)
> Thanks!
> Dare
Received on Fri Jul 23 13:57:21 2004

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