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Re: ClearCase vs. Subversion

From: John Rousseau <JRousseau_at_novell.com>
Date: 2004-08-12 20:09:26 CEST

I've used ClearCase extensively for about 8 years, and I like it very much. I've only been using subversion for about 3 months. Here are my personal opinions, your mileage may vary. :-)

Really! My opinion only. No flames please.

ClearCase Pros:
- Industrial strength
- Excellent merge tools
- Good GUI on Windows
- Proven reliability
- Scales up well

ClearCase Cons:
- Heavyweight server and client
- Very steep learning curve for users
- All merges are server based
   - Means you can't merge or diff without having connectivity to the servers
   - Merges over high latency links are SLOW
- Very expensive
- Weak GUI on *nix platforms
- Server communication is RPC based (think lots of little packets) so anything
   over a high latency link is SLOW
- You need to do many things the ClearCase way, not your way
- Scales down terribly
- High administration burden

Subversion Pros:
- Open Source (lots of interest and integrations)
- Very lightweight server and client
- Quick learning curve for users (until you get to merging)
- Fast and efficient on the network
- Flexible architechture
- Scales down well (I don't yet know how well it scales up)
- Lots of IDE, editor and tool integrations
- Low administration burden

Subversion Cons:
- Open Source (developers work on what they want to)
- Immature technology
- Merge tracking is currently completely manual
- Weak support for checking out part of a repository

We've been using ClearCase for large-team development for years, but we now have a lot of remote developers and ClearCase sucks for remote users. It also requires a lot of administration. We evaluated Perforce, CVS, subversion and BitKeeper earlier this year to see if we could find something that was better than ClearCase with the option of staying with ClearCase if need be. We chose subversion. Ask me in a year when our first big project using subversion ships if I'm still happy with it.

Devs: more than SQL support, merge tracking (which IS desperately needed) or any bell or whistle, you need to absolutely guarantee that people don't lose bits. With all the reports of repository corruption on this list (be it user error, act of God or bug), I don't sleep very well at night. "Restore from backup" is not an acceptable answer.

Having said that, I'm quite happy with subversion so far.


On Thu, 12 Aug 2004 17:20:47 +1000, Barnett, Chris <Chris.Barnett@Yum.com> wrote:

> Hi list,
> I'm after a feature comparison between ClearCase and Subversion - can
> anyone help? I've googled and googled, but all I find is 1 line mentions
> of ClearCase in flame wars on SVN vs arch.
> TIA,
> Chris
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John Rousseau                               JRousseau@novell.com
Novell, Inc.                              Phone: +1 781 464 8377
404 Wyman Street                            Fax: +1 781 464 8100
Waltham, MA 02451                          http://www.novell.com
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Received on Thu Aug 12 20:09:58 2004

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