[svk-devel] The Future of SVK

Chia-liang Kao clkao at clkao.org
Thu May 28 10:42:27 EDT 2009

Hi All,

First things first, to answer the subject of this very message, I'd
like to announce that we at Best Practical will no longer be actively
developing SVK.  We won't be implementing new features or working to
improve performance.  Rest assured, however, that for at least the
next 18 months, we're committed to making sure that SVK will continue
to work with the current release of Subversion.  (Changes to support
Subversion 1.6 have landed in trunk and will be released within the
next week.)

When I started to develop SVK during my sabbatical year in 2003, the
best practical option was to reuse the versioned filesystem from
Subversion.  However using Subversion's filesystem as SVK's backend
has become one of SVK's primary technical issues, as we found it to be
inadequate as a storage backend for more complicated merges, which
require a lot of traversal.

If we take SVK as something that brought decentralized development to
Subversion, which itself focused on being "CVS Done Right", we can
mark SVK "mission complete".  The open source community has moved on
from the Subversion model a lot sooner than many people thought, to a
variety of version control systems designed from scratch with
distributed development in mind. These have the advantages of a lot of
recent innovation, and aren't burdened by the design of an existing
system.  SVK (and Subversion, too) filled in the gap between CVS and
the new world of distributed version control systems in a way I'm
quite proud of.

I'm grateful to all the members of the Subversion and SVK communities
for their support, patches, bug reports, encouragement, discussions,
and of course, complaints and flames as well.  The greatly improved
productivity brought by the tools have contributed to countless open
source projects.  If there is something called the version control
"geist", we are all definitely part of it.  Thank you all!

As much as this marks the end of SVK's 6 year life as a standalone
development tool, We at Best Practical are committed to help scale
Subversion in large and distributed environments.  SVK's core
technology will live on as part of Pushmi, our enterprise read/write
replication system for Subversion.

I first built SVK so that I could contribute to open source projects
while offline or traveling.  I'd like to thank the Lofoten Islands,
the place where I was most productive hacking around, for helping to
make that dream a reality.

Thank you all again.


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