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On this page, we are trying to collect argument pro and contra both staying with CVS, and switching to SVN. Behind each "argument" is a list of people who agree that this particular argument is valid. We currently have no other realistic choices (since offers us exactly those two), so I am not comparing more systems here.

Pro Subversion

  • Support for versioned renames/moves (impossible with CVS): Fingolfin, Ender
  • Supports directories natively: It's possible to remove them, and they are versioned: Fingolfin, Ender
  • File properties are versioned; no more "executable bit" hell: Fingolfin
  • Overall revision number makes build versioning and regression testing much easier: Ender, Fingolfin
  • Atomic commits: Fingolfin
  • Intuitive (directory-based) branching and tagging: Fingolfin
  • Easier hook scripts (pre/post commit, etc): SumthinWicked (I use it for Doxygen after commits)
  • Prevents accidental committing of conflicted files: Salty-horse, Fingolfin
  • Support for custom 'diff' command: Fingolfin
  • Offline diffs, and they're instant: sev


  • Lots of people know how to use it: Fingolfin
  • Lots of documentation available: Fingolfin

Contra Subversion

  • Takes up twice as much disk space: Fingolfin
  • We need to put efforts into transferring repository to it: sev
    • Strictly spoken, the conversion is easy (it's a one-button click in the admin panel of, we only make it hard by our wish to manually fix problems in the existing CVS repository (says Fingolfin)

Contra CVS

  • No support for versioned renames/moves (CVS repos hackery is not even remotely a replacement): Fingolfin
  • No proper support for directories (in particular, deleting them, but also renames/moves): Fingolfin
    • I want to stress that it was a major hassle in history of our project: sev

See Also