A Look at the Past and Present Worlds of SCM Tools | TechWell

A Look at the Past and Present Worlds of SCM Tools

When I started my configuration management (CM) career fifteen years ago, IBM and Serena were the market leaders in software configuration management (SCM) tools. Now both companies are barely blips on the radar screen, according to the Eclipse Community Survey Report for 2013 (slide fourteen gives you the numbers). The obvious winners have been Subversion and Git. These two tools control almost 75 percent of the market share for Eclipse users.

This survey is not scientific and does have some issues, but it does show what appears to be a trend everywhere you go these days.

As a user of Serena products for the past fifteen years, I have seen this once mighty SCM company go from bad to worse and continue to lose market share. When I completed my first Subversion install, I realized that Serena’s PVCS Version Manager is old school in ways I never imagined.

So what three tools are the most popular at the moment? According to The Register, Git, Perforce, and Subversion are leading the way.

Let’s take a look at Git. I typed in the following question into Google: Why is Git so popular? I found several answers, the most intriguing being from a user that, at first, liked Subversion better. This user takes an in-depth look at everything from documentation to Github to his impression of Git’s merge ability; needless to say, this person is a fan.

Another author asks, “Why is Git better than Subversion?” The responses to this question will give you the details as to why some professionals say Git is better, and others say it’s neutral or worse.

Now let’s examine Perforce. Again, I went to Google (by the way, I’m a Perforce user) and typed the following: Why is Perforce so popular? You can read several answers from stackexchange.com as to why Perforce is popular. Additionally, Perforce is apparently very popular with companies that create games, as this video on YouTube points out.


Obviously, game developers have huge repositories to deal with, and Perforce is good at addressing that issue.

Finally, let’s look at Subversion. A serious approach is taken on developer.com, in which the author compares Subversion and Git and explores the features of the Subversion 1.8 release and how they improve on Git’s shortcomings.

Are you a user of one of these three tools? In the Comment section below, let me know which one you think is best.

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