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Re: CVS bashing?

From: Eric Siegerman
Subject: Re: CVS bashing?
Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2001 16:44:49 -0400
User-agent: Mutt/1.2.5i

On Wed, Apr 11, 2001 at 01:04:28PM -0500, Gary Heuston wrote:
> Someone brought up a site on another mailing list about CVS and its
> limitations and was citing this as a reason to not use CVS...what do you
> all think about this?  Some of this stuff I have personally witmessed
> (i.e. large binary file problem, no directory versioning)  but I'm
> curious as to others opinions...

Yeah, most of his technical points are pretty valid:
> CVS does not provide Tree/Dir versioning
> Support for attaching File & Project Meta Data is weak 
> Activities like file renaming are not naturally supported 

I don't think there'll be much argument about these.

He mentions Subversion (
I'm keeping an eye on that too, for all of the above reasons; it
looks promising.  Bitkeeper ( has also
been mentioned, but it's only semifree.

> CVS stability can be flaky at times (large binaries)

I haven't experienced any flakiness -- at least not with recent
versions; it was worse in the past.  But then, I haven't put any
large binaries into CVS, so I wouldn't know about that.

Judging by recent list traffic, though, sure the repo gets big
(they don't "diff" very well).  Not sure what's "flaky" about it,
unless you don't have enough /tmp space (which is arguably a
sysadmin problem, not CVS's fault).

It's hard to tell whether he means it's flaky specifically with
large binaries, or whether they're merely one example.  If the
former, he may have a point.  If the latter, I'd say it's at best
an unfair generalization.

> Merging is very primitive 

Hmmm.  How could it be better?  NOT a rhetorical question; I'd
really like to know.  (I haven't used the commercial ones he's
comparing CVS to.)

> And finally, If you want an answer fast, you can?t rely (or blame) the vendor 

Not a technical problem.  Subversion won't be able to solve it

Re lack of directory versioning, he says:
> (This in my opinion is unacceptable) 

Well, he's right; that is an opinion.  Others' opinions differ.

The binary-file thing is questionable IMO, and I can't evaluate
the merging issue.  The rest, though, are indeed valid reasons
not to use CVS.  Of course there are lots of valid reasons *to*
use CVS.  As always, it comes down to a tradeoff.

That CVS is free software can be either a plus or a minus, it
seems to me, depending on one's situation.  The standard
open-source vs. proprietary debate.  (We've all seen it ad
nauseum, so lets not go there again now, ok?)


|  | /\
|-_|/  >   Eric Siegerman, Toronto, Ont.        address@hidden
|  |  /
With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine. However, this is not
necessarily a good idea.
        - RFC 1925 (quoting an unnamed source)

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