Subversion – As Strong As Ever

November 5, 2009 richard murray

Yesterday at ApacheCon I witnessed a significant milestone for CollabNet, the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) and Subversion. The CollabNet-sponsored Subversion project and The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) announced that the Subversion project has formally submitted itself to the Apache Incubator in order to become part of the Foundation’s efforts. The announcement was greeted with a crescendo of applause at the conference and with comments like ‘what a nice 10th birthday gift’. This logical progression for Subversion comes as Apache and Subversion are completing their first 10 years as open source communities. From a people perspective, many of the same people founded and continue to work on both projects. From a technology perspective, both projects utilize capabilities of the other. In return this move is expected to benefit Subversion and CollabNet by providing outreach into the large ASF committer base and from their semi-annual developer events like today’s ApacheCon that attracted an estimated 500 guests.

The transition for Subversion comes at a time when CollabNet’s sponsorship has established Subversion as the market leading SCM product. The ASF transition should help Subversion extend its position, that’s right, extend its position. However, it crossed my mind that this move might be perceived by some as an attempt to resurrect Subversion from a downward activity trend. CollabNet and Subversion folks would say that this is just not true, that Subversion is as strong as ever but is there independent data to validate that? I decided to do some research of my own by checking in at to gather some Subversion activity metrics (thanks to the people over at Ohloh). Oh, and I added Git and Mercurial to provide some additional color to my analysis. Here are some interesting charts:

Code Commit Activity:

Line of Code Growth:

I’ll let you form your own conclusion but I believe that Subversion is as strong as ever.

Next – my perspective on CollabNet and Subversion in 2010.

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