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RE: Subversion vs Clearcase

From: Erik Hemdal <erik_at_comprehensivepower.com>
Date: 2007-04-27 16:14:23 CEST

HI Steve:

 
After spending considerable effort getting SVN established at our
organization, and hosting very successful multi-site developments, it
appears that a dictat has come down from on high stating that "Thou shalt
use Clearcase".
 
I've been subscribed to this mailing list for about 5 months, and have noted
that a number of organizations are migrating in the opposite direction i.e
ClearCase to Subversion.
 
I have a strong feeling that we'll be making a huge mistake by opting for
Clearcase, but am looking for some stats to back this feeling up. Has anyone
done any studies in this area? I'd love to hear from any organizations that
have ditched Clearcase...
 
I've used ClearCase in the past, and in some situations, I think it's one of
the best SCM solutions around.
 
When I used it, I was responsible for CM for 7 teams on three continents who
needed to do concurrent development on the same product. On one occasion,
when a remote repository was completely obliterated by an admin's error,
ClearCase still allowed us to recover completely. And if you have hundreds
of developers, the "heavy" aspects of ClearCase can be of benefit. But it
is very different from Subversion, and supports things that Subversion
doesn't. I'm thinking of the various integrations out of the box, wink-in
builds, views, and the mysterious "versioned object bases" it uses.
 
It is rock solid, and at some level, you can't go wrong with ClearCase.
It's like the old saying, "No one ever got fired for buying IBM." It's
definitely a top-tier solution.
 
That being said, I think you'll find it complex, expensive, and heavy. To
be successful with it, I had to spend thousands of dollars on licenses,
training, and equipment to run it. Once your administrator (I'm guessing
that would be you?) knows how to use it, you'll need to spend time training
your users to use it. And you'll spend a fair amount of your time during
each week tweaking, fixing problems, and helping users out of various jams
with the ClearCase-unique features.
 
Since I had success with ClearCase, I wouldn't say your organization is
making a huge mistake. But it is making a momentous decision. It's not
easy to move away from ClearCase if your process depends on the specific
features it provides.
 
This is just my opinion; in my current work the niceties of ClearCase aren't
worth the cost, and Subversion fits us well enough. If you can reverse the
decision, then opinions here might help you. If you can't, then explore how
best to move to ClearCase and enjoy the adventure. If there's a ClearCase
user group in your area, attend a meeting or two. I found that most
ClearCase admins are very good with CM in general and can give you good
advice on a migration.
 
Erik
Received on Fri Apr 27 16:14:46 2007

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