Open SourceCodesion Emerges from CVS

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There was a time when CVS (Concurrent Versioning System) dominated the open source, software-version-control landscape, but no more.

More modern systems like SVN (subversion), Mercurial, Bzr (Bazaar) and Git offer developers newer opportunities to collaboratively develop software at scale. One of the companies caught in the middle of the evolution of version control is hosting vendor CVSdude, with more than 50,000 users.

CVSdude is now evolving along with the market for version control, and this week is rolling out a new professional edition of its on-demand Software as a Service (SaaS) offering. The company is also changing its name to Codesion as part of the overall movement away from CVS, though CVS still continues to have a role in the global development marketplace.

“We’ve been CVSdude for the last 7 years,” Codesion CEO Jason Seed told “The name change to Codesion signifies a name change both in the market and in the products that we provide. We’ve been focused on changing this company from being a hosted provider of CVS to really being a true enterprise-grade platform.”

Though CVSdude is only now removing the name CVS from its corporate moniker, the transition of users away from CVS has been ongoing over the last several years.

“We started with CVS 7 years ago, but today 93 percent of our user base is on Subversion (SVN),” Seed said. “Strangely enough, we still have new customers coming on board and using CVS, so CVS is definitely not dead.”

Moving beyond the debate over CVS versus SVN, Codesion is now deploying a platform that provides a security and redundancy framework that will enable the firm to plug in other source code versioning systems over time. Seed noted that Codesion could add potentially add support for the open source Mercurial, Git and Bazaar source control systems, if customers expressed an interest.

“Since we have a project-oriented approach, our customers can run different projects using different source code repositories and each one can use a different project management suite,” Seed said.

Git was originally developed by Linux creator Linus Torvalds, and is currently the system used for the development of the Linux kernel. BZR is the system used by Ubuntu, and currently has commercial support from Canonical, the lead commercial sponsor of Ubuntu Linux.

“We’ve seen small projects that are keen on moving to Git, but virtually zero interest from enterprise at the moment,” Seed said.

Mercurial has had more interest from the interest from enterprise users. Among the high-profile users of Mercurial is Mozilla, which moved to mercurial from CVS for Firefox development in 2009.

“Our opinion is that the real demand in the enterprise is how to keep control of subversion (SVN) repositories that are popping up all over the place,” Seed said.

While SVN is an open source project, there are other vendors that support the system, including software and services vendor CollabNet.

Guy Marion, Codesion’s executive vice president of marketing, told that his company recommends that developers not use CVS anymore, as SVN has better support for merging and branching.

“There are still plenty of people using CVS,” Marion said. “So we just want to remain compatible with that market, but we actually push people to SVN.”

With the new Professional Edition of the Codesion platform, Codesion is providing users with additional backup and scalability options.

“The key feature that the Professional Edition has is an organizational-wide framework that lets you create roles and assign role-based permissions at any level,” Marion said. “It’s role-based security, cascading access controls with full system logs and LDAP integration.”

On the backup side, users can now roll back their repositories to the past 100 days of code commits.

“Subversion provides version control for the code,” Marion said. “Codesion provides version control for the whole repository.”

While many organizations host their own code versioning servers, it can be a laborious task, which is where Codesion hopes its cloud model will attract new users.

“The current economic climate has actually been very good for us as we’re a cost-saving solution,” Seed said. “If someone has had a down-time issue, they realize they can do the same thing they’ve been doing in-house but they don’t have to have a person administering their servers for a Subversion repository.”

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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