Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Is Subversion Going to Make a Come Back?

The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) announced the release of Subversion 1.8 yesterday. As I started to read the release note, I started wondering how come Subversion is still alive. The ASF heavily use Subversion for pretty much everything. In fact the source code of Subversion is also managed using a Subversion repository. But outside the ASF I've seen a strong push towards switching from Subversion to Git. Most startups and research groups that I know of have been using Git from day one. WSO2, the company I used to work for, is in the process of moving their code to Git. Being an Apache committer I obviously have to use Subversion regularly. But about a year ago I started using Git (GitHub to be exact) for my other development activities, and I absolutely adore it. It scales well for large code bases and large development teams, and it makes common tasks such as merging, reverting, reviewing other people's work and branching so much easier and intuitive. 
But as it turns out Subversion is still the world's most widely used source version control system. As declared in the official blog post rolled out by the ASF yesterday, a number of tech giants including WordPress heavily use Subversion. According to Ohloh, the percentage of open source projects that use Subversion is around 53%, compared to the 29% that use Git. Looks like Subversion has managed to capture quite a share of the market making it a very hard-to-kill technology. It would be interesting to see how the competition between Subversion and Git would unfold in the future. It seems the new release comes with a bunch of new features, which indicates that the project is very much alive and kicking and the Subversion community is not even close to giving up on the project.

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