[prog] VSS to CVS -- looking for experiences and argumentation help

dominik schramm dominik.schramm at gmxpro.net
Thu Apr 22 14:13:30 EST 2004

Hi list,

There have been three attempts at work to move from Microsoft Visual
SourceSafe (VSS) to CVS. All of them were abandoned because of some
-- as I consider them -- minor issues. As I don't regard these 
objections as crucial (or even consider them based on wrong 
assumptions) but can't cite anyone or any company that did
the migration and has used CVS happily ever after, I'd like to have
some argumentation help from people who have used both systems and 
favor CVS in spite of all counter-arguments mentioned below.

I'm especially interested in the following points:

1) Did the transition affect more than 15 developers/users?

2) Did the transition from "locked checkout only" (VSS) to "locking
   on demand" (CVS: admin -l, watch/edit...) create any problems?
   Or did you build some scripts around CVS or made use of the contrib 
   scripts to emulate the VSS operating mode?

3) Do you use a "front-end" for CVS or the command line? Or both?

4) How did the developers adjust to the new version control system?
   How did non-programmers -- who have to put their work under version
   control as well -- adjust?
5) Has the average user's time spent on versioning increased with CVS?
   What about the sysadmin's time? 

Here's some background information on my questions:
1) Some people at my company fear that a giant chaos would break out
   if concurrent checkouts were allowed. Some even claim that a 
   considerable amount of time in open source projects using CVS is 
   spent on resolving conflicts from concurrent commits. Is this true?

2) One major point is that if there were an easy way to force CVS 
   (I'm talking about server side!) to lock checked-out files so only 
   one user can modify and commit any one file at a time, then there
   would be no more objections to CVS.
4) Another point that is repeatedly mentioned is that CVS is too 
   complicated for people -- I'm sorry, but I have to put this so 
   harshly, because that's what's being claimed -- who do "dumb"
   jobs like graphic design or documentation (as opposed to the 
   "clever" programmers), the underlying supposition being that 
   someone who can write complex Java applications has little to no
   trouble, whereas e.g. graphic designers or QA personnel will find 
   it very difficult to get used to *the concepts behind* CVS (not 
   talking about the cvs command, there are front ends for this), like
   branching, merging, etc. 
   I'm sure this is completely wrong, since VSS has pitfalls, too, but
   don't really have proof, of course. 

Thanks for all feedback.

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