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RE: why subversion?

From: Reedick, Andrew <Andrew.Reedick_at_BellSouth.com>
Date: 2006-10-05 16:19:48 CEST

On Oct 4, 2006, at 20:13, Steve Martin wrote:

> The last contract I was on, we needed an SCM system. I chose CVS,
> but the developers decided they wanted to try Subversion.
> So.. we went with subversion. We went with it, *I* dealt with the
> head aches, the fact that you can't make a simple commit without
> changing the version # of the entire repo,
> and so many of the other complaints / issues I've seen on this list.
> My new job also required an SCM system, and I set CVS up in half
> the time, without having to explain why the rev # of the entire
> repo and every file checked out changes during a commit, no
> "malformed this or that" errors,
> no issues with apache authentication, no issues with svn -d, nothing.
> It worked perfectly like CVS always has, which subversion never has
> for me or a lot of the others on this list.
> So... all I'm asking is, what is so great about subversion that
> would make people want to give up the tried and tested SCM system,
> for something that seemingly has so many problems?
> And the previous SVN setup was on RHEL 4, and the current CVS setup
> is on RHEL 4. I'm certainly not a noob to this kind of thing, and
> did RTFM before setting subversion up, but it never worked for us
> like advertised, while CVS worked exactly like CVS always does...
> import a file, only IT'S rev changes, not everything in that dir or
> the entire repo...

As a CM (Configuration Management) weenie, I loathe CVS because of how
slow the branching and labeling is. At my last company, it took close
to an hour to branch/label the code, which made effective CM
impractical. With subversion I can branch and label in under a second
for a tree containing thousands of files.

Subversion also has directory versioning, which means you can now record
and *undo* file renames or moves. Atomic commits are very nice. It can
also handle empty directories. Subversion treats every file as binary,
so none of that -kb nonsense. There are no standard procedures that
involve hacking the back end repository. CVS is becoming more and more
out-dated and needs to go away.

The biggest difficulty with Subversion is the paradigm shift. Coming
from 7 years of ClearCase, the One Revision Number thing took a lot of
getting used to. That and the lack of a "proper" version tree.
Generally speaking, as a CM weenie, and after a bit of time, I find
Subversion's tree based paradigm to be a great improvement over the
file-centric paradigm started with RCS. It just takes a bit of getting
used to.

The biggest flaw with Subversion right now is the lack of proper merge


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Received on Thu Oct 5 16:21:10 2006

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