[development] FAQ: Why is Drupal still using CVS when X is a much better choice?

Michael Prasuhn mike at mikeyp.net
Thu Jul 31 16:51:28 UTC 2008

(This post is directed as much for developers out there, and companies  
with their own process than it is at d.o)

I've recently been through a similar process with the company I'm with  
now, and come to the same conclusion regarding SVN. While I prefer to  
do my own personal projects in other systems, SVN is the lowest common  
denominator of VCS that I could find. I am the first full time  
developer at my company, and the other employees must have a GUI or  
they can't use VCS.  We are currently stuck in a mix of another DVCS  
that is not working well, as there is not enough documentation, and  
neither I nor the consultant who previously set this up for them are  
experienced in it, rather the consultant wanted to be cutting edge and  
move to a distributed system.

The other major complaint I have at this point, is that moving to a  
specific DVCS has actually limited workflow options. Previous  
companies/clients which used SVN actually had more options since  
almost every major DVCS (hg/git/bzr) has an SVN plugin to allow  
directly working with a SVN repository. This allows each developer to  
use the methodologies/workflow that best suits them, for their  


On Jul 31, 2008, at 3:44 AM, Karoly Negyesi wrote:

> If we move, we move to SVN. My team, consisting of mostly pretty  
> good coders tried a few distributed RCSes and given this experience  
> I am now vehemently against any DRCS. The concepts are way too heavy  
> and the utilities are not ready. Most of these systems are not that  
> mature thus any docs from 1-2 years ago are worthless thus  
> documentation is not much. When I was for a DRCS in 2005/2006 I was  
> a naive greenhorn sorry for the ruckus I caused then, I now know  
> better.
> And back to Drupal contrib, at least with a central repo you can  
> have some central control trying to keep order but with a DRCS all  
> bets are off. Check contrib CVS root for all the crap our CVS  
> challenged contributors add there and think what would ensue with a  
> It's highly debatable that the most serious of our problems, namely  
> understanding RCS would be solved by any DRCS. You sure want to  
> explain multiple heads for one or patch algebra for another? How  
> does 140+ commands sound (and then some has one or two superb  
> powerful switches...) This is a terrible mess.
> Now, with SVN we wll need a script to stop tagged things from being  
> changed because they are not immutable as they were in CVS -- but  
> this is readily available and this is the only problem I am aware  
> of. SVN concepts are mapping much better to reality -- one dir per  
> branch/tag. Makes it (much) easier to understand. You already keep a  
> separate directory for your branches so that's how the repository  
> looks like, easy! Thus it _will_ solve some problems -- another  
> problem with DRCS that it does nto solve the problems we have :) SVN  
> tools are available. SVN is mature and documentation is plentiful.  
> svn 1.5 added merge tracking for (much) better team work.
> Feature foo and bar might be unavailable for SVN but I can not  
> care , we need something that we, we all of the Drupal community can  
> use.
> Once the reboot of my life is complete (read: September) I will  
> rejoin the moving effort and help.

Michael Prasuhn
mike at mikeyp.net
714.356.0168 cell
949.200.7670 fax

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