[p4] nothing better about PVCS?
Jeff A. Bowles
jeff_bowles at hotmail.com
Sat Jan 22 04:42:41 PST 2000
You ask a good question.
I'm sorry I don't have the answers for you. I can compare
Perforce to ClearCase, to Visual SourceSafe, and to RCS/SCCS
systems, since I've used each of them. Is Perforce better
than each of those? FOR MY NEEDS, yes. If I had to track
a very complex environment, and had infinite hardware/stafftime/
net-bandwidth resources, and didn't care about automation, and
had a completely homogenous development environment, I
might *maybe* take a contract doing ClearCase work, but it wouldn't
be an easy decision to make. (Honestly, probably wouldn't do
such a contract. Still, hunger is a strong motivation at times.)
Make no mistake: VSS is a piece of trash from the beginning,
and RCS/SCCS systems are pretty small potatoes for tiny projects.
(CVS is built on top of RCS, and CVS has wide recognition. CVS
is fairly good, but doesn't get you the performance or reliability
that Perforce will.)
Are there things about Perforce I'd like to see changed? Sure.
(It doesn't handle the case (upper/lower) between NT/Unix filenames
very nicely, and there's no great GUI - although I personally don't
care about GUIs, many folks do.)
But there are *so* many things it does right, things that I
just can't live without: fairly easy automation of tasks without
having to drop into some archane scripting language that's only
on one platform (e.g. MS Visual Basic for VSS scripting); good
performance; transparent handling of text files across a heterogenous
development environment; honest-to-god provisions for backups of
the SCM server; storing my file revision contents in a form that
I can get to if I decide to change to another SCM system;
easy (and mostly transparent) support of heterogenous development
environments; no "hidden costs" so that when I purchase the
software for $600/seat, I've written my first and last check
for SCM needs.
Each thing in the above list is something that it's reasonable
to expect from ANY source system - there are no Perforce-specific
items on the above list. (That would be cheating.) So it makes
it possible to point at ClearCase and say "why the heck can't
I get to my file revisions, in an emergency, except through
ClearCase database tools?" and to point at SourceSafe and say
"you mean I have to program in C++ or Visual Basic to automate
making a label or retrieving something?".
Sure, there are a wealth of "Perforce-specific" features I like
a lot, and a couple I don't think I'd want to live without.
("Atomic submission of all files in a changelist" is an example.)
Every SCM system has a couple of things like this.
But if you're truly trying to compare apples to apples, you
wanna start in the intersection of the feature sets of the
two systems you're comparing. Be sure to look at the hidden
costs: staff-time, server configuration, etc. (ClearCase has
such substantial hidden costs that it's been thrown out of nearly
as many companies as I've seen it adopted into - just takes a little
while for the bean-counters to figure out what happened.)
I feel confident that Perforce will do well in a fair comparison.
>From: Davids Sarma <Davids.Sarma at telecom.lt>
>To: "'perforce-user at perforce.com'" <perforce-user at perforce.com>
>Subject: [p4] nothing better about PVCS?
>Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 13:02:57 +0200
>Hello all, I must pick an SCM tool in a short amount of time, and have
>heard alomost nothing but praise for Perforce; at the same time, internal
>resources have experience with PVCS, and as such, it is the default choice.
>I don't feel I'm getting a balanced perspective, because I've seen no
>argument for what PVCS does better than Perforce. I need to make sure that
>I'm not overlooking something!
>Our project is a systems integration, combining a configurable applications
>running on Oracle8, on HP (can't modify the application code, only table
>configurations), another such application on SQL Server 7, on NT, custom
>interfaces in C, C++, VB on NT and UNIX, with all servers LAN connected.
>There will be three (build/test/production) environments, all of the above
>configuration, all Ethernet connected.
>So far thumbs up to Perforce, but a counterargument would be nice to hear
>(and may only confirm Perforce is still the right choice).
>Much obliged, Davids Sarma
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