Re: Version control software

Subject: Re: Version control software
From: "Janet M. Swisher" <swisher -at- enthought -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 04 Aug 2005 11:38:16 -0500

Rachel Rawlings wrote:

> Rupanjana Mukerji wrote:
> >Can anyone suggest a good open source (read free!) software that can be
> >used to manage document that are being worked on by two or more people?
> >My main requirement is for version control features so that Person A
> >cannot modify a document that Person B is working on (at least, not
> >without telling Person B). I have worked on Microsoft VSS and am looking
> >for similar features without the price tag.
> >
> >
> Subversion is the current "best practice" version control system being
> used in the open source community. It runs on all flavors of Linux and
> BSD, Solaris, MacOS X, and all current versions of Windows. Subversion
> is remarkable as a successor to CVS mostly for its scalability and
> networking features. In the latter, it has a native client-server design
> with exceptionally good access via a web browser. The project home page
> is at and you can find articles comparing
> it to VSS, along with tips for switching, at

I concur with the recommendation of (Tortoise)SVN. The OP should note that in default operation, SVN does not lock files, which was a listed requirement. That is, in VSS terms, users can "check in" without doing a "check out". (SVN automatically merges changes in text files.) However, in SVN you *can* "get a lock" on a file, which prevents others from modifying it. The fact that a file is locked will be visible to other users the next time they "update" (=="Get Latest Version" in VSS).

You will need to have a procedure that is followed by all users of the system, such as:

1. Always "update" before making changes to a file.
2. When working with binary files (e.g., graphics or Word docs), do "get lock" before making changes.
3. Makes changes.
4. "Commit" the changes (=="Check in" in VSS), which releases the lock.

This will ensure that all the users work on the latest version of the file, and that they don't make unmergeable changes in parallel.

Janet Swisher --- Senior Technical Writer
Enthought, Inc.


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