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Re: Evaluating subversion for an enterprise installation

From: William Nagel <bill_at_stagelogic.com>
Date: 2005-12-02 05:25:56 CET


> Greetings,
> I am part of a technical assessment team at my company that is looking
> at replacing our current version control software. After much arm
> twisting, I was able to get subversion on the assessment list.
> Good news: subversion is now one of the final contenders.


> Bad news: it is still an up hill battle. I'm up against an entrenched
> mentality of "if it's free it can't be any good" and a committee
> that is
> 75% management/25% users. So far, it appears that the top
> management is
> pushing an expensive glitzy piece that is technically sound and has a
> lot of potential.

At least you're not facing a management team that wants to go with an
expensive glitzy piece that isn't technically sound and lacks any

> The questions I will need to answer (so far) are:
> 1. Licensing - Subversion's license is clear, and I have identified
> and
> located the licenses for apr/, expat-lite/, and neon/. Are there any
> other licenses that I need to be aware of?

You might want to look at the Apache license if you're considering
using it for your server.

> 2. Customer service - it is a novel idea to some folks that there
> can be
> superior customer service without a company to back the product.
> Instead of getting a help desk operator with canned scripts that don't
> ever quite work, you get knowledgable users and even the application
> programmers.
> 2a. What is the average turnaround time between submitting a
> problem to
> the mailing list and the first response?

As long as the ML question is detailed with a reasonably descriptive
subject line, the average is probably less than a couple of hours,
and often as quick as just a few minutes.

> 2b. Is the mailing list monitored by the active developers?


> 2c. On average, how often are maintenance releases issued?

You will find a list of previous release dates here: http://
Of course with any open source project there are no guarantees about
future releases, but I think it's a pretty safe bet that frequent
steady releases will continue.

> 3. Security -
> 3a. There is a mindset issue I need to address. Specifically, I
> need to
> demonstrate that having open source code does not make the product
> less
> secure. Has anyone addressed this before? Are there some good
> references and/or case studies?

I don't know of any studies off the top of my head (although I'm sure
there are some good ones). You might use Apache to help your
argument, though. Not only does it run 80% of web sites, but it's
also the main server to user for serving Subversion repositories so
security studies on Apache should be doubly useful for your cause.

> 3b. Are there specific security issues that are known (other than
> those
> addressed in the book) that we need to be aware of?

None that I'm aware of. I believe there are some issues mentioned in
the book that have already been fixed, too.

> 4. Operating systems ... are the server side pieces Windows 2003 SP1
> compliant, and are the client side pieces Windows XP SP2 compliant?

I'm not really a Windows guy, but as far as I know the answer is yes.

Hope that helps.


P.S. You may also want to take a look at my book "Subversion Version
Control: Using the Subversion Version Control System in Development
Projects". I've had several people tell me that it helped them with
formulating their arguments to management in favor of Subversion. It
was published under an open publishing license (much like the
O'Reilly book) and can be downloaded from http://www.phptr.com/
content/images/0131855182/downloads/Nagel_book.pdf or purchased in
hard copy from Amazon.

> Thanks in advance,
> David Johnson
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Received on Fri Dec 2 05:28:27 2005

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