Open-Source Version Control
April 10, 2004 8:34 AM   Subscribe

Can some recommend an open-source version control system that will run locally? CVS seems a bit unwieldy, and other online reviews are geared toward large applications/development groups. Windows based if possible, but Linux is fine, too.
posted by grefo to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
While CVS is starting to show its age and it's a little bit rough around the edges, as an SCM system it's about as lightweight and easy to use as it gets without going to something like RCS -- which doesn't even have the concept of branching.

What's unweildy about CVS in local (not pserver) mode? Maybe I can make a suggestion if I know what you're finding wrong with CVS, but I think you're going to find that just about everything out there is more heavyweight than CVS!
posted by majick at 8:46 AM on April 10, 2004

there's a useful page somewhere that compares the systems available. unfortunately my email is down so i can't look it up, but maybe some google-fu will find it.
posted by andrew cooke at 9:00 AM on April 10, 2004

I'll second majick's opinion. I use CVS locally for smaller projects and it works well. I don't think I'd want anything else, as like he says, everything else is larger.

(Well, I might consider subversion, but I haven't gotten around to testing it out yet.)
posted by thebabelfish at 9:03 AM on April 10, 2004

GNU Arch (also have a look at the wiki) is not only more powerful than CVS or Subversion, but it has the advantage of requiring no special server. You can write to an archive using local file access, sftp, or http with webdav.

It works best on Linux/Unix currently, but several developers are working on Win32 support.
posted by Galvatron at 10:57 AM on April 10, 2004

Oh man, tortoise rocks.
posted by AmaAyeRrsOonN at 12:03 PM on April 10, 2004

If all you need is simple checkout, checkin, and revert control over some text documents on Unix you should take a look at RCS. You might have to blow the dust off the man pages first. :-) I use Perforce at work, and Subversion at home, and am very happy with both.
posted by Voivod at 4:16 PM on April 10, 2004

i prefer perforce, which is not open source, but you can have two users for personal use. it runs on just about any platform you are likely to encounter, and has a nice gui for windows.

i haven't used the linux gui much, myself, because our we would have to upgrade the perforce server version -- and we are satisfied with the current state
posted by lescour at 4:42 PM on April 10, 2004

" has the advantage of requiring no special server..."

Arch looks pretty good, and I hear it's approaching the point where it's usable for production purposes, but this, at least, is not an advantage it holds over CVS.

I don't know about SVN, but I can say with absolute confidence that CVS does not require a server whatsoever. In fact, the client/server modes were added later in its life, and can be a pain to deal with because they are "tacked on" features. In fact, I've got a repository here at the house which is inaccessible except from the machine it sits on, because there's no pserver on that box. It "runs locally" as grefo's asking for.

In the olden days, CVS used to be a wrapper for RCS, which has no concept of a server at all; everything's done through the filesystem.
posted by majick at 10:26 AM on April 11, 2004

You're right majick, I wrote that poorly. I was trying to show the advantage over SVN in particular, which I'm pretty sure requires a server for communicating with the database back-end. I agree that CVS is about as simple as you can get. (Of course, I would also argue against using CVS because of its poor branching capability.)
posted by Galvatron at 3:46 PM on April 11, 2004

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