Version Control with CVS or Subversion
Wednesday 12 October 2005 @ 3:14 pm
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I’ve previously used CVS on a few projects. It is the defacto standard for version control, stable and works very well. At this point of time i have to make a decision on using CVS again or moving towards the buzzed Subversion.

It is a though decision for someone who is not fully aware of the nitty gritty things CVS and Subversion both have to offer. That is why i am calling for help!


What is Subversion?
According to the Subversion site, it is meant to be a better CVS :) That looks promising! Subversion was designed from the ground up as a modern, high-performance version control system. In contrast to CVS, which had grown organically from shell scripts and RCS, Subversion carries no historical baggage.

Subversion takes advantage of a proper database backend, unlike CVS which is file based. The Subversion team have tried to make the new system similar in feel to CVS, so users are immediately at home with using it. Most of the features of CVS including tagging, branching and merging, are implemented in Subversion, along with host of new features:

  • versioning support for directories, files and meta-data
  • history tracking across moves, copies and renames
  • truly atomic commits
  • cheap branching and merging operations
  • efficient network usage
  • offline diff and revert
  • efficient handling of binary files


:!: Any comments on choosing Subversion in favour of CVS are highly appriciated :!:

— By Marco Pas     PermaLink

4 Responses to “Version Control with CVS or Subversion”

  1. Okke van 't Verlaat Says:

    quote: “After using CVS for years, I realized that it was influencing my software development decision-making just to avoid CVS’s shortcomings! (For example: renaming or moving files and removing/renaming directories.) Though I consider this to be one of CVS’s greatest crimes, it is only one of many good reasons to make the switch to Subversion.”

    Found this quote on a very decent article about subversion ( Personnally I do not have any experience with subversion. Always used CVS and worked fine for me. CVS indeed has its short-comings but when doing small projects and having full control over your version control set-up, the short-comings are surmountable. But I think the best way to find out if subversion will leverage *your* software development process is just to try it! (and let us know what you found out ….)

  2. Ruben Sprangemeijer Says:

    I am also in the process of deciding whether to stick with CVS or move to SVN. The problem is that I think you can only tell if it is a success when you try it for a while. I think I will try it on a small PostPlaza application and after that, when I am happy with SVN, will make the transition for the other applications.

    Okke, besides these quotes, do you have experiences with SVN yourself? On the Internet I come across a lot of (mostly positive) articles, blogs etc about SVN, but I haven’t heard much from inside the LCMG organisation.

  3. Okke van 't Verlaat Says:

    Nope, SVN is new for me also. Two years ago we have tried to get it up and running but somehow installation was a crime at that moment. When reading all those positive success stories on the internet these days, installation should be a breeze right now. But I’m eager to give it a try. Maybe someone (with to much time in his hands and some lucky installation fingers :-) ) can set-up a test server somewhere?

  4. Rob de Jong Says:

    I am also interested in subversion. A simple redesign (with packages changes) is something you do not want to do when using CVS for obvious reasons.
    Does anybody have experience with cvs2svn? I am interested in a full conversion, the complete cvs history should be included. The documentation states that the only con is ‘more diskspace’. But what is more…and than again, I do not want to optimize based on diskspace. Additional diskspace is often cheaper than optimization.

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