The Future of SVK

First things first, to answer the subject of this very article, 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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