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Re: Subversion's branching as compared to other VCS tools

From: Tor Ringstad <tor.ringstad_at_tandberg.net>
Date: 2005-07-05 12:33:05 CEST

> Here are some references that discourage the use of Subversion:
> http://www.bitkeeper.com/Comparisons.Subversion.html
> http://www.maynidea.com/topics/subversionstinks.html

I wouldn't pay too much attention to any of those. The Maynidea
article's just got to be a troll. The Bitkeeper article is purely FUD,
and full of half truths and right out lies. If you haven't read it
already, you should take a look at this:

  Debunking BitMover's Subversion Comparison

The CVS/SVN comparison is maybe the most balanced text of the three,
but still contains imprecise and highly controversial "facts" about
Subversion. Among other things, I find it somewhat strange to argue
that "CVS is supported everywhere where you might need it", when it's
CVSNT they're comparing.

> I found out that many people complain about Subversion's
> branching/tagging mechanism.

Subversion is only marginally better than CVS, and still lagging in
functionality compared to a lot of other version control systems (in
particular the commercial ones). A couple of features that I
personally miss a lot are:

- Support for repeated merge
- Support for merge of directory changes (move/rename)

The Subversion web page currently lists these as "medium term goals".

> Anyone there with a good opinion on how to successfully use
> branching in a team with some 15 developers on the same code base?

That depends a lot on how you're working, the structure of your
project(s) etc, but I'm sure it's doable. My department has 50-80
developers and has survived with CVS for almost a decade.

My advice for both CVS and SVN would be that you shouldn't plan on
using branching extensively. Or to be more precise; the problem isn't
really the branching, it's the _merging_ that's the painful part. With
"extensively" I mean that I wouldn't recommend practices like "branch
per user per activity".

- Tor Ringstad -

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Received on Tue Jul 5 12:35:16 2005

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