Do you use CVS or Subversion?What do you Think?

Do you use CVS or Subversion?What do you Think?

Posted by Luis Majano
Jun 08, 2006 00:00:00 UTC
I have only been exposed to using CVS for version control and find it pretty straightforward and useful. The server was easy to setup on Linux and the maintenance of it has been pretty good.  However, I have been told and reading that Subversion is CVS on steroids and just wanted to get a public opinion before I start messing around with it.  Has anyone used both and can comment on the pros and cons of each?

Is it easy to setup on Linux? Does it mesh well with Eclipse, any Mac GUI? 

The usual questions!! Thanks and have a great day today.


Rob Gonda

Hey Luis,

I use SVN and it is indeed better than CVS... Installation is extremely easy on both Linux and Windows. It worked perfectly with Apache for multiple repositories and SSL support.

It integrates seamlessly with Eclipse thru the SubEclipse plugin. Not sure about a Mac GUI though. For Windows users I recommed Tortoise SVN and SubEclipse...

I think a few advantages over CVS is the ability of moving and renaming files... I'm sure there are more... One of the main problems, with both, is the lack of an Obliterate command, thus if someone checks in a file by mistake and you really need to get it out, for legal reasons f.e., you need to export, cleanup the dump, and recreate the repository...

Check out my blog for a few interesting posts and step-by-step instructions in setting it up.



Sean Corfield

Whilst I really like SVN and prefer it in general over CVS, I will note that branching and merging is not as strong in SVN as in CVS (in my opinion). With SVN, you "branch" by essentially copying a tree into a new location whereas in CVS you can maintain version branches inside the core repository structure and merge back and forth between branches.

Barney Boisvert

Sean, can you explain a little better? I think Subversion's branch/merge model to be quite nice, and certainly less confusing the CVS's, since it's can always be thought of as "compare two directories and apply the resulting differences to a third directory".

One other general point is the revision numbering scheme differences. CVS numbers each file individually, while Subversion numbers global repository states. I found that Subversion's mechanism drastically reduced the number of tags I had to deal with, because pulling out a named snapshot can be done with the revision number directly.

Barney Boisvert

Unrelated, but if you miskey the captcha text, the form should be reloaded with the submitted values already present, rather than blanking the form. Not sure if this is your department or Ray's (this is BlogCFC, right?).

That'll not only save having to rekey, but also provide the user with a different captcha image in the case that they couldn't read the first one correctly.

Sean Corfield

Barney, I think it may come down to personal preference but I prefer to think of branches as being within a file rather than just being a (modified) copy of stuff.

As for the versioning, remember that CVS can apply symbolic tags across the whole repo so you don't have to deal with version numbers (and you can move a symbolic tag back and forth through the version history).

I suspect that people who are very familiar with the CVS approach to versioning and tagging will find SVN's approach to be somewhat crude and "sledgehammer"-like.

And I'll second the comment about CAPTCHA since it just bit me too!

Luis Majano

I third motion the captcha, I will modify it and send it to Ray!

Thanks (second Message)

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