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Re: Performance of CVS version SVN

From: Mark D. Baushke
Subject: Re: Performance of CVS version SVN
Date: Thu, 26 Oct 2006 09:29:35 -0700

Hash: SHA1

Hi Peter,

You should probably consider a version of svn that is a bit newer than
1.1.3 which is ancient. I believe that 1.4 is the latest available these
days. If you are going to compare performance you may also wish to look
at the top-of-tree CVS as there is a performance enhancement to rcs.c to
make it faster to checkout branches (previously it was order(N^2) and
now it is order(N)).

Both SVN and CVS (and CVSNT) have different strengths and weaknesses.

In a large project, you may find that you like the SVN atomic commit
with one revision number across all files, so that you never run into
the problem of a 'cvs update' not picking up all of the files being
committed during the period when the 'cvs update' is running. The way
that SVN does tagging and has more general attribute-value pairs can
also be useful depending on your work flow.

CVS (and CVSNT) are more mature projects and probably have more
stability with regard to avoiding some kinds of repository corruption
that can arise depending on the SVN backend being used. I understand
that the latest 1.4 revision does a better job than previous revisions,
but there are still times when it is possible to run into problems with

Generally, you will need to determine which operations you are using the
most frequently with your SCM and how well you need it to perform and
how reliable you need it to be.

Given you have a need for faster updates, you may wish to also benchmark
GNU arch ( The GNU arch folks believe that diskspace is
cheap and that I/O bandwidth is the scarce resource and they try to
optimize for that problem.

For myself, I have a fairly open bias in favor of CVS for most source
code projects, but I do undersatand that projects which are using more
binaries may find CVSNT or SVN better for some kinds of tasks. I have
not personally done much with GNU arch because many of my projects are
large enough that I see 'backed-up diskspace' as a limited resource
even when the repository is only medium sized (~12G of ,v files).

I have do not mentioned non-open source products here, but for some
companies that will also be on the table as a set of possibilities.

You may wish to go to the newsgroup to look
for opinions or just for the FAQ 'Configuration Management Tools
Summary' (URL:
Of course, it looks like there is little or no mention of CVS on that
page... :-)

        Good luck,
        -- Mark
Version: GnuPG v1.4.4 (FreeBSD)


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