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Version control sw for remote developers

Anybody have comments on their favorite (and least favorite) version control software.  I'm particularly interested in software that would function seamlessly whether connected over a local network, remotely over VPN, or not at all.  What features do you like about it?  What didn't you like?  How well did it work with team members dispersed?

David Hurst
Tuesday, January 27, 2004

I'm interested in Windows version control software only.

David Hurst
Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Perforce is pretty good.  I like it because they have a 'remote proxy' you can run on a laptop that lets the system work on crappy or unavailable network connections.

Runs on every platform I can think of, and has good integration with major IDEs.

H. Lally Singh
Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Sourcesafe works pretty well over the LAN for simple projects, but once you start needing branches it falls apart. Oh, and sometimes it eats files.

Sourcesafe is hideously slow over anything other than a lan, though - you need to add SourceOffSite to make it usable in that case.

CVS works reasonably well once you "get it", but that usually takes a little while.

Run screaming from PVCS - it's nothing more than the old unix RCS with license management added.

Chris Tavares
Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Subversion may be worth inspection.  Free like CVS, but tries to take away some of the suckiness.

Check out

H. Lally Singh
Tuesday, January 27, 2004

I use FreeVCS, which has been taken over by JEDI. The FreeVCS site is  The new JEDIVCS is at .

Easy to install
Choice of several databases
Fairly fast on slow connections
Good sized community

No branching
No SCC provider
Integrates only with Delphi (everything else uses the stand alone client)
No user chosen work folders. You get what the admin setup

I've also used Visual Source Safe (VSS) with SourceOffsite for internet connectivity. VSS is pretty slow otherwise when not on a local network. VSS has corrupted my database quite a few times so I stay away from it now days.

The same company that makes SourceOffsite also makes Vault. It looks remarkably like VSS, but it is much better behaved. It was coded using C#. I haven't had time to really test this one, but I liked what I saw. The link to Vault is

There's also Team Coherence, but I've tested it long before it got the new name. I didn't like it then, but I'm sure it has changed. Their website is

These are easiest for people that are used to Windows and Windows software behaves.

This is a link to other popular VCS and comparisons between them:

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

VSS works as well as usual remotely, if you use the command line.

Robert Sayre
Tuesday, January 27, 2004

SourceGear Vault is pretty good.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

I missed the Vault link in the post right above mine - les whoops !

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

What I've used:
very easy to use; totally unusable remotely (VPN);

Team Coherence -
very, very easy to use; fast enough remotely, though the server process needs recycled occasionally to permit remote access (no idea why - too easy to work around to warrant figuring out); also, I have to say excellent support from the guys at QSC;

What I've evaluated:
Perforce -
easy to use, though it doesn't "feel" right in a Windows world; rediculously fast remotely (seriously impressive speed);

Vault -
easy to use, but I'm not a fan of the "let's look/feel like VSS" route they took - I never liked the way VSS looked/felt, so a clone in that department doesn't score points; fast remotely;

AccuRev - (about to purchase)
very easy to use and a different way of thinking about version control (eg, there are no "branches" and no "labels" - just "streams"); very, very fast remotely; check it out at

I evaluated a least half-a-dozen others in the last 6 months, but no others met our speed/features/price criteria.

Good luck with your search.

Ryan LaNeve
Wednesday, January 28, 2004

I use Perforce at work and it reeks of QUALITY in my opinion.  I've heard it is expensive (well definitely more expensive than free), but it is definitely worth considering.  Might be overkill depending on what you're doing.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

We've been going through this as well at the office.  At first I thought we'd go with Vault, but I'm now hearing all kinds of complaints from the other developers that it looks too much like source safe.  I think source safe has left such a bad taste in everybody's mouths that the last thing they want is something that looks like source safe. 

It seems that Perforce is going to win out here.  It is expensive, but we can afford it. 

I also use Subversion.  It is quite good for what it is.  Version 0.37, the current version, is a release candidate.  The biggest problem is all the options that go into svn commands.  If you want to do something complicated, you'll be wishing for a full blown UI.

For simple things Tortoise SVN is a surprisingly useful front end to Subversion.

christopher baus (
Wednesday, January 28, 2004

I'm guessing you used the "windows only" post because you don't want to hear about CVS. But have you looked at ? It's a windows version and uses NT authentication. Check out as a client.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Re Perforce and it's relationship to SourceDepot (as used internally within Microsoft), see:

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

There is also
Runs on Windows and many other platforms and it is used in the Linux kernel development.
I have no experience with it, but maybe someone else has.
It costs monney but there was nothing in the comment saying it should be Open Source..

From the salespitch : Do you need BitKeeper?
Geographically distributed. Do you have teams in more than one location? With centralized client/server SCM systems, all the remote teams suffer. BitKeeper is a peer-to-peer system based on a replicated database. All teams become local and enjoy local performance in a replicated system.

Fredrik Svensson
Wednesday, January 28, 2004

another nod for Perforce

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

A few people have mentioned CVS, and one person alluded to the difficulty in "getting it" (i.e. understanding how to use it). I'd putzed around in CVS, not really "getting it" and losing interest, until I came across this book: and then I got it. I have no affiliation with them, don't get kickbacks, etc., but the money I spent on that book was money well spent.

Rob Warner
Wednesday, January 28, 2004

I always liked the sound of Code Co-op ( ) if only because they do at least eat their own dogfood ( ). Having said that I have never been in a situation to use it, unfortunately.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

I use CVS and it take a while to get it but i'm very happy with it now

Philip Albert
Wednesday, January 28, 2004

We've used Code Coop for several years and can thoroughly recommend it for small/medium size remote teams. Main advantage is that it is serverless.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Another Code Coop recommendation esp for small teams. Have been using it for years.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

With CVS, "it took a while to get it" -- tells me that CVS will NEVER be accepted by my team.  My team is more concerned with getting things done, and history have shown that they shy away from doing things that are a pain in the ass to do unless we keep a serious eye on everyone.

Simple.  Fast.  EXTREMELY RELIABLE.  That's why we used to have VSS, and why we're looking for a new SCCM tool.  I am currently evaluating CVS, and the very simple thing I want it to do requires for it to dump everything to a local sandbox.  Gigs of stuff on everyone's hard drives?  No thanks.

The simple thing?  "What is available, and what versions are there for everything?"

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

The "takes a while to get it" fits for us, as well.  My team would be very resistent to any pain in moving to a new system.
We've been using StarTeam 2.1 for 6 years.  We probably wouldn't even consider the time, trouble, and expense of upgrading if it didn't sometimes have an Out Of Memory error runnng on XP with 1GB of RAM.  It's a nice simple, GUI-based program that has worked very well for the most part.  I want to be able to import the version info into whatever new system we use, so, I lean toward StarTeam 5.4.

David Hurst
Thursday, January 29, 2004

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