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RE: cvs vs. perforce

From: Austin Lauree
Subject: RE: cvs vs. perforce
Date: Mon, 1 Apr 2002 10:11:07 -0800

My 2 bits worth.

I have first hand experience with both systems and I definately prefer 
Perforce.  I'm currently SCM person for a shop using CVS, and I constantly miss 
the speed and ease with which Perforce is able to return metadata information 
(without having to have a CVS information directory structure setup in one's 
working area).  The typical developer may not need to use these kind of 
reporting features as often as an SCM person, but even their daily edit/submit 
use is faster than cvs can offer (especially when checking out numerable 
files).  I'm not sure, but I think it's greater speed is due to the fact that 
the history files themselves contain only the 'main trunk' (a new directory 
structure is created for branching) and all metadata is stored in a database 
structure instead of in the history files themselves.

Perforce's branching/merging is superior as it has knowledge of when the last 
integration from one branch to another was performed and the next integration 
performed will proceed from that point.  I've attempted to implement a wrapper 
script in cvs that tracks such information using tags, but it has never quite 
come together.

Perforce has easy permissions handling so that the administrator can grant 
certain users write access to various areas and read to others.  Yes, you can 
do this in cvs, but it's not nearly as intuitive.  Both systems have their 
security holes and workarounds.

I find most everything about Perforce intuitive and when my previous employer 
made the switch from RCS to Perforce, there was not a single developer out of 
about 30 that weren't exceptionally pleased with the ease of use and speed 
increase.  The transition was relatively simple.

I also prefer the atomic commits it offers.  It's change number system is 
simple and, once your tools are converted to using this information (over 
checking out with tags), you'll appreciate this.

Additionally, Perforce's support is exceptional.  We always had responses to 
any question within a day and it was always by a technical person who 
understood the system perfectly.  The rare time we did come across a bug, we 
were quickly supplied with a workaround and the fix would be in their next 

All in all, I was very impressed with Perforce and it's my opinion that if your 
company's willing to pay for a revision control system initially, Perforce will 
easily pay for itself in the long run.

At home, I use Perforce's unlicensed two-user two-client system to control my 
personal scripts, web page development, etc.


-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Northlich [mailto:address@hidden
Sent: Friday, March 29, 2002 12:05 PM
To: address@hidden
Subject: cvs vs. perforce

Anyone care to offer reasons, other than "free", to use cvs over 
perforce?  Or, the other way around?  We are trying to make a decision. 

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