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

Sam Boyer drupal at samboyer.org
Thu Jul 31 18:34:45 UTC 2008

On Thu, 2008-07-31 at 10:19 -0700, Derek Wright wrote:
> On Jul 31, 2008, at 3:42 AM, Karoly Negyesi wrote:
> > If we move, we move to SVN.
> On Jul 31, 2008, at 4:04 AM, Gerhard Killesreiter wrote:
> > Well, then we just can stay with CVS. IMO SVN's features aren't  
> > that vastly superior to spend much effort on moving.
> On Jul 31, 2008, at 9:01 AM, Earl Miles wrote:
> > This is my concern with SVN. Its idea of tagging and branching is  
> > naive and I find it confusing and also intensive when I end up  
> > checking out all the tags unintentionally. It seems like it would  
> > be difficult to translate our current tagging system to SVN and I  
> > am concerned that the amount of work to do so would be wasted  
> > effort. IMO, we have a lot more important problems to solve than this.
> In that case...

Ahhh! It's not the case! I've been trying to put out these fires as
fast as I can, but I can only type so fast :) I've personally done cvs
to svn migrations before, and they do take considerable care and effort,
but they're not impossible. Plus, as I've said in a few emails already,
the tagging/branching system _is_ mature (quite a bit more so than CVS,
in fact), it's just more flexible and we'd need to tailor it. Not like
we ever tell anybody that about drupal or anything... :P

Also, as a specific response to Earl - inadvertently checking out
everything from svn is no easier or harder than cvs. It's just
different. It's the default trunk/ branches/ tags/ that tends to cause
inadvertent enormous checkouts like that, and folks accustomed to cvs
are more likely to do it. Fortunately, since that repo layout isn't
hard-coded into svn, we could take steps to reduce that confusion by
making the layout more familiar to cvs users.

>  we're exactly where we've been for at least the last 2  
> years.  This comes as no surprise at all, and why I've never had much  
> of a sense of urgency about this situation.  To summarize:
> - DVCS is relatively new, immature, and very complicated.  The basic  
> level of understanding among Drupal developers of even simple VCS and  
> release management 101 is so low that a DVCS would produce vastly  
> more problems than it would solve.  At least for the foreseeable  
> future, DVCS is out of reach for the overall Drupal developer  
> community.  Maybe in N years when the tools are more mature, the  
> documentation is better, and more people have gained knowledge of  
> DVCS concepts in other areas of their technical lives, we can reopen  
> this part of the thread.
> - The only viable traditional VCS alternative to CVS is SVN, which  
> only has minor feature improvements, and has a serious conceptual  
> drawback with its naive tagging semantics.
> Therefore, a switch away from CVS will require massive effort for  
> little or no gain.
> Shall I update Angie's FAQ to summarize this state of affairs?  Can  
> we put this thread to rest for another 2 years?
> Cheers,
> -Derek (dww)
> p.s. Sam, please don't let that stop you from taking over  
> versioncontrol_api.  That'd still be a good thing for project*, even  
> if d.o isn't using SVN or git. ;)

No worries :) As I said in the caveat of my initial response here, I'm
just providing information, not advocating. Really, even if it doesn't
sound like it at times :P. I've already taken over vcs api, and will be
doing what's needed there regardless of how all these decisions play


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