Monday, July 31, 2006

CVS and FOSS


This weekend, I was lucky enough to spend many hours at the local bookstore. Browsing. Reading. Browsing. Reading. I have too many hobbies and too many interests. Just touching on a few of them keeps me pretty busy at the bookstore. Browsing online is great and all, but it's really not as enriching as browsing the shelves. Perhaps I'm old school (I'm 42 years old), but I grew up in a time when you had to physically go to the library to research anything and everything. I spent a lot of time at the library. A few lucky families had an encyclopedia, but they were usually way out-of-date. And, as such, my fascination for real books was formed.


Anyway, while browsing the geek book section, I flipped through Perspectives on Free and Open Source Software by Michael Cusumano, Clay Shirky, Joseph Feller (Editor), Brian Fitzgerald (Editor), Scott A. Hissam (Editor), Karim R. Lakhani (Editor). They had some very nice words to say about CVS:



Adoption of CVS among Open Source projects is near total, and the concepts embodied in CVS have clearly influenced the open source methodology. CVS can easily provide universal access to users of many platforms and many native languages at locations around the globe. The practice of volunteer staffing takes advantage of CVS's straightforward interface for basic functions, support for anonymous and read-only access, patch creation for later submission, and avoidance of file locking. CVS has been demonstrated to scale up to large communities, despite some shortcomings in that regard. The protocol used between client and server is not a standard; however, CVS clients have followed the user interface standards of each platform. In fact, the command-line syntax of CVS follows conventions established by the earlier RCS system. A separation of policy from capability allows a range of branching and release strategies that fit the needs of diverse projects. Frequent releases and hierarchies of release quality expectations are facilitated by CVS's ability to maintain multiple branches of development. Peer review is enabled by easy access to the repository, and is encouraged by email notification of changes.



As a contributor to the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) movement, I chose never to monetize CVS. That was my choice. As such, it is references like this and recognition like receiving the 2003 USENIX STUG Award that make me proud of my contribution and its 17 years of service that it brought to Free and Open Source Software development.


Many thanks to the authors of Perspectives on Free and Open Source. Keep up the good work, and keep spreading the word.


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