• Subversion History




    This document outlines Subversion from beginning to today.


    CollabNet and Subversion

    In early 2000, CollabNet began seeking developers to write a replacement for CVS. CollabNet offers a collaboration software suite, and one component of this suite is version control. CollabNet initial used CVS as its version control system, although CVS's limitations were obvious from the beginning, and CollabNet knew it would eventually have to find something better.

    In February 2000, CollabNet contacted Karl Fogel, the author of Open Source Development with CVS (Coriolis, 1999), and asked if he'd like to work on this new project. Coincidentally, Karl was already discussing a design for a new version control system with his friend Jim Blandy. The limitations of CVS had led Jim to think carefully about better ways to manage versioned data, and he'd already come up a basic design, and the name "Subversion." Karl immediately agreed to work on the project, and Jim got his employer, Red Hat Software, to essentially donate him to the project for an indefinite period of time. CollabNet hired Karl, Ben Collins-Sussman, and a few months later C. Michael Pilato. With the help of some well-placed prods from Brian Behlendorf and Jason Robbins of CollabNet, and Greg Stein (who later also joined CollabNet), Subversion quickly attracted a community of active developers. It turned out that many people had the same experiences with CVS, and welcomed the chance to do something about it.

    After fourteen months of coding, Subversion became "self-hosting" on August 31, 2001. That is, Subversion developers stopped using CVS to manage Subversion's own source code, and started using Subversion instead. The code is still hosted on the domain that was set up for this: http://svn.collab.net.

    Unstoppable Subversion

    Subversion is no doubt the fastest growing open source application for version control.

    This graph only shows the adoption of Subversion on public Apache servers that report their mod_dav_svn module (Subversion's Apache module). More public servers exist (for example, those running the svnserve server), and there are many more Subversion servers behind firewalls. This report is no measure of the absolute adoption of Subversion, but it does show the trend by which Subversion grows around the world. CollabNet estimates that over 2.5 millions developers now use Subversion.

    Development Ecosystem

    CollabNet has always maintained a team of Subversion committers that has developed a substantial portion of the Subversion code. But it is important to understand that the project would never have arrived at where it is today without the contributions of many committers outside CollabNet. Over the years, more than 100 developers have committed code to the Subversion repository, and many more have submitted patches that were included in the code by one of the committers.

    Next to the developers who worked on Subversion itself, the project found the support of other developers who initiated projects around Subversion. Many of these projects proved invaluable to the success of Subversion: Stefan Küng's TortoiseSVN GUI for Windows, Mark Phippard's Subclipse plugin for Eclipse, and Arild Fines' AnkhSVN plugin for Visual Studio are some of examples, as are some projects that CollabNet started, such as the CollabNet Desktop Eclipse Edition and the certified Subversion binaries: CollabNet Subversion.

    CollabNet's Continued Involvement in the Subversion Project

    CollabNet started the Subversion project as a truly independent open source community, and over the years the company has stayed closely involved with Subversion in many ways:

    • CollabNet employs a team of Subversion committers (varying in size over the years from 4 to 9 developers), plus additional personnel for quality assurance, integration, and performance testing.
    • The company engages with customers on roadmap discussions, such as for the Merge Tracking feature in Subversion 1.5. You can also engage with our committers on the Subversion roadmap, discuss your enhancement requests in our Subversion discussion forums.
    • CollabNet corporate counsel gives legal advice, and when requested, acts on the community's behalf. CollabNet assisted the community with the creation of the Subversion Corporation, a non-profit that protects the Subversion® trademarks.
    • CollabNet hosts all operational infrastructure for the Subversion project, including the development platform (CollabNet Community Edition).
    • CollabNet provides certified Subversion binaries that drive the adoption of Subversion in large corporations. CollabNet also provides support, training, and consulting services.
          “As Subversion has met and surpassed the community’s original goal of simply replacing CVS, we have extended our vision for Subversion accordingly. We are very excited about the growth we’ve seen in Subversion usage, and appreciate the role CollabNet has played in Subversion’s success, from starting the project in 2000 to continuing to work closely with Subversion’s worldwide developer community today.”

    Karl Fogel, president of the non-profit Subversion Corporation


    Subversion timeline

    January 2000 - CollabNet begins seeking developers to write a replacement for CVS.

    February 2000 - CollabNet contacts Karl Fogel along with Jim Blandy and requirements definition starts.

    May 2000 - CollabNet hires Ben Collins-Sussman, detailed design work begins.

    June 2000 - Coding begins.

    January 2001 - C. Michael Pilato joins CollabNet (Mike is still with CollabNet, working on Subversion)

    August 2001 - Subversion becomes self-hosting.

    July 2002 - Subversion 0.14 enters Alpha.

    December 2003 - Subversion, Newcomer of the Year 2003, Linux New Media (it's still in beta!)

    December 2003 - OSDir Editor's Choice Award, Miscellaneous Editor's Choice, Top 5 1/2 Best New-ish Apps 2003

    December 2003 - Subversion 0.35.1 enters Beta.

    February 2004 - Subversion 1.0 releases. Subversion already in use on 1,400 publicly accessible production servers. Release 1.1.1 and 1.2.0 follow in October 2004 and May 2005.

    March 2004 - CollabNet integrates Subversion into CollabNet Enterprise Edition

    June 2004 - O'Reilly publishes Version Control with Subversion, the definitive text on Subversion.

    December 2004 - Subversion in use on over 5,000 publicly accessible production servers.

    March 2005 - Subversion, Jolt Product Excellence Award, Change and Configuration Management 2005

    January 2006 - Subversion, developer.com Product of the Year Award 2006 finalist.

    January 2006 - Version 1.3.0. Release 1.3.2. follows in May.

    September 2006 - Subversion 1.4 released, marks a significant upgrade is scalability, reliability, and performance.

    November 2006 - CollabNet releases certified Subversion binaries: CollabNet Subversion.

    March 2007 - Unstoppable Subversion continues. Subversion now runs on over 100,000 public Apache servers.

    March 2007 - CollabNet opens Submerged, the first blog dedicated to Subversion.

    June 2007 - Subversion Sole Leader for Standalone SCM in SCM Forrester Wave™ report

    June 2007 - CollabNet starts the Merge Tracking Early Adopter Program to assist development community through more user involvement.

    August 2007 - The Subversion Corporation is born, a non-profit stewardship organization that holds and defends the copyrights and trademarks of Subversion®.

    August 2007 - CollabNet reorganizes its Subversion development efforts under Mark Phippard. Mark's team of 17 people works on core Subversion, CollabNet Subversion (certified binaries), quality assurance, and Subversion related projects such as GUIs, integrations, and connectors.

    October 2007 - SubConf, the first-ever conference dedicated to Subversion, takes place in Munich - Germany. CollabNet is the main event sponsor.

    December 2008 - Subversion 1.4.6 is the latest release.

    January 2008 - Subversion now runs on over 200,000 public Apache servers.

    January 2008 - Subversion is Developer.com Product of the Year 2008, open source category.

    February 2008 - Subversion 1.5 reaches Alpha.

    March 2008 - Subversion 1.5 reaches Beta1.

    April 2008 - Subversion 1.5 reaches Release Candidate.