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SVN Is Not The Holy Grail


I have had nothing but problems and more problems using sourceforge SVN and openSVN. Not just myself, but several other developers I've worked with on our projects. Even just checking out a repository as an end user, to a clean directory: we get problems. Haven't had too many problems checking out the freepascal SVN repository, so it could be server issues (sf.net and opensvn) in addition to SVN. It could be related to both SVN itself and the servers that SVN is running on.

One other thing I don't like about SVN is the common naive open source attitude that -The Subversion Development Team carries:

"BitMover Inc has been extremely sensitive about any attempts to reverse-engineer or duplicate BitKeeper functionality, and has done its best to prevent open source developers from implementing BitKeeper-like features in other version control systems. We have always found this a disappointing assault on the freedom of open source programmers, and strongly disagree with Larry McVoy's claim, quoted at http://kerneltrap.org/node/4966, that BitMover Inc represents "as open-source friendly a commercial organization as you are *ever* going to see". We are happy that this situation will be minimized by the Linux kernel's move away from BitKeeper."

According to SVN folks, it's perfectly fine for me to steal someone's commercial software as long the stolen software becomes "open source" after it is stolen (this is basically reverse engineering). Just like it's okay if I steal groceries from the store, as long as I "give those groceries away". IF BitMover is sensitive about these issues, then leave them alone! Invent your own features and stop copying them.

I'd recommend those who agree with the above idea, that reverse engineering is perfectly fine if you "open source what you are reverse engineering" to read up on Pargence, NRCOL, and Problems With Society.

I want to make it clear that I do not agree with the SVN Development team's rationale. If you are going to reverse engineer something because you aren't smart enough to write it from scratch yourself, you are low. Get a clue. How about implementing some nice version control features yourself, using your own code froms scratch. Be a man, instead of reverse engineering a commercial product that you shouldn't be touching anyway.

So why do I use SVN, if I don't agree with them? Because FPC team recommended it, and life isn't perfect, and everything is a compromise. We are looking at alternatives, though.

It may be that commercial source control systems are just as bad. It's always a clash - can't always practice what you preach. For example, I don't agree with GNU philosophy either, or the way Samba has reverse engineered MS Windows, nor do I agree with Microsoft's patenting, nor do I agree with IBM and Linux as a team (see IBM-And-Linux-Is-A-Scam).

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