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SVN is not nearly as nice as perforce. It feels so rough and unpolished, and there are things that scare me and frustrate me about it.

First, you get the choice between a battle tested but fragile repo format, or a moderately tested but nearly unwedgable repo format. If you go with the fragile one, you have to write wrapper scripts if more than one user is going to access the database. If you go with the robust one, you run the risk of some horrible bug popping up (remote as the chance is, it is mentioned in the propganda document).

Branching is why everybody is supposed to be switching from CVS to SVN, and its great, really, really easy. But if you’re going to have such great branching, you should also have great merging, which SVN completely misses out on.

With p4, you can integrate two branches, and you automatically get the changes since you last integrated. With svn you need to first look in the logs to find the changes you want before you can merge. If you’ve merged more than once on a branch, you have to remember (or look in the logs) to find the correct last merge point.

SVN knows exactly when I branched, and exactly when I last merged, so why can’t it keep track of these things by itself? At worst it could use some custom property to tag these things…


There are various wrapper scripts that do some of this stuff [1], but yeah, I admit, Subversion still has a ways to go as far as making merging as simple as Perforce does. That said, it is on our radar (probably next up after locking support), and other than the merging support I do think that Subversion is nicer than Perforce (and I’ve used Perforce for quite some time, so I’m not just talking out of my ass here).

As for the filesystem questions, personally I’m using fsfs (the new one that doesn’t get wedged) and I’ve had no problems with it. And this is from someone who converted to the new filesystem before it was even stable, if there were problems with it I’d have expected to run into them by now.

[1] see contrib/client-side/svnmerge in the Subversion tarball for example

Another vote for Perforce

Perforce is free for Open Source projects and significantly further along than Subversion. I recommend it highly.


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