March 02, 2004
Ever wondered why VSS sucks so hard?

I use VSS at work, and it seems I'm not alone.

But Microsoft don't use it: For example, at Microsoft two of our critical LOB applications are our defect tracking system and our source control system. It seems to me that VSS's quality is an indication of what happens when you don't eat your own dog food.

Posted to Software by Simon Brunning at March 02, 2004 01:02 PM


If your kind and benevolent managers let you use it that is.

Posted by: Darren on March 2, 2004 01:41 PM

They won't. :-(

Posted by: Simon Brunning on March 2, 2004 01:44 PM

CVS has the ability to run a program when files are checked in. I haven't used VSS, but is it possible for developers to use CVS and have it keep VSS in sync in the background? So long as you are the only group checking-in, it should work fine. - the "-i" option looks interesting.

From other stories I have heard, it is entirely possible that VSS is programmed to screw up its repository at random intervals, but only when the repository holds '.java' files. :)

Posted by: Alan Green on March 3, 2004 12:20 AM

I just sent someone a message about source code
configuration / version management systems. Not
having used any except SCCS, CVS, and ClearCase,
my favorite idea here is darcs: it has an actual
theory of patches. And the implementation is
written in Haskell. That's gotta count for 20
or 30 points of cool.

Subversion beats CVS, but I saw a short horror
story about the number of dependencies. I guess
I should see how true that is.

"Arch" is one system that is totally ruined by
its proponents. I've seen recommendations from
them that make me want to run away screaming.

There was a thread that's on the
Pragmatic Programmers' mailing list
( )
a few weeks ago ...

Niels Vanspauwen started it here:

with the subject "Merant version manager" but he was really asking
about other related tools.

My take on them is that in order to be successful, an SCM system
has to get a bandwagon effect -- it's even more important for these
things than it is for programming languages. Because of that, I'm
a bit surprised to see so many out there.

Here's a summary of the thread.
The thread mentions:

- Merant (formerly PVCS)
- FreeVCS
- SourceSafe
- ClearCase
- Bitkeeper
- CVS ...
The Eclipse IDE can be used as a CVS client...
- subversion ( ) is most directly
intended to replace CVS
- (GNU) Arch ( ) Tobias C. R. says
that Arch is "[going to become] the best distributed revision
control system. Especially its branching facilities are par
exellence. If you ask me, Arch's gonna kick ass ..."

- darcs -- ( ) Shae Erisson mentions
the elegant approach and the interesting "theory of patches" that darcs
is based on. darcs is written in Haskell.

- aegis ( )

- Meta CVS ( and )

- Perforce (commercial)

- OpenCM ( )
- Monotone ( )

And someone mentioned a couple of overview articles about
version control systems in general (and SCM aka Source
Configuration Management) ...

The onlamp article links to

Posted by: Doug L. on March 3, 2004 07:19 AM

No one in the thread I just wrote about mentioned Visual SourceSafe. No one.

Posted by: Doug L. on March 3, 2004 07:21 AM

No one mentioned VSS because VSS is terrible. And I too am required to use it by my corporate overlords (my development group is unanimous that they'd prefer CVS). I'll check out Alan's suggestion... it's an interesting idea.

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