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

From: Hernán Martínez Foffani <hernan.martinez_at_ecc.es>
Date: 2005-07-05 13:41:22 CEST

> I found out that many people complain about Subversion's
> branching/tagging mechanism. For one thing, this seems to become the
> most dominant issue about Subversion. I compared it with other tools
> (BitKeeper, Perforce, ClearCase, Surround SCM) and they claim to do a
> better job.
> Here are some references that discourage the use of Subversion:
> http://www.bitkeeper.com/Comparisons.Subversion.html
> http://www.maynidea.com/topics/subversionstinks.html
> c30fa49

Thanks for posting those links. If that's what they have to
say about SVN then I rest assure I made a good decision by choosing

To me, BK's report is disgusting to say the least. There were a thread
here in this list about Linus opinions about Subversion. The dev-team
replied to those messages with repect to both Linus and BK.
After browsing BK's web I'm asking myself if they deserve it.

> They all complain about missing features that are already fixed, but
> branching remains an issue. I also received a confidential note from
> Seapine (Surround SCM) in which branching in Subversion is said to be
> a disaster.

The dev-team decided that to open the gate you have to slide it.
Others may say:
"What???? No push-pull doors????. Shame on them!!!
That's not the way you are supposed to come in. Disaster!!!"

It just takes a minute to learn to slide the door.
It's not a big deal. Really. :)

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

IMHO it doesn't depend on qty of developers but on the organization
internals procedures. In our site the branch/merge cases explained
in the Subversion book are enough to cover all our demandings. YMMV.

Branching is not a problem. Given a suitable client you might even
branch with a drag-n-drop operation.
Merging back is not as easy as branching, though. But it is *not*
rocket science. Before you branch you may have to browse older
commit messages looking for specific revision numbers and then
issue the merge relative to those. That's it.

While I do share the opinion that merge tracking is a place where
Subversion can improve by calling it unusable or a disaster
the competitors disqualify themselves.

Finally, even if BitKeeper, Perforce, ClearCase, Surround
can branch/merge by reading my mind they all share a big "bug"
that makes them unusable for me: the price.


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Received on Tue Jul 5 14:35:59 2005

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