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Forecasting the end of a tool’s utility is valuable, as accurate predictions enable timely migration to a new toolset. The field of available software development tools is very dynamic. Development tools encompass a variety of components used to build and deploy software, including programming languages and compilers, revision control and software configuration management, defect tracking, & integrated development environments. Version control system (VCS) tools are used to manage revisions and changes to program code and tools. Open source software is increasing in prevalence within enterprises.

The following review was prepared from a Wikipedia article comparing different VCS tools. (“Comparison of revision control software,” 2009) The forecasts of open source VCS toolsets’ future lifecycles are projected using one of three ratings: strong, limited, or defunct. Strong tools have active development and increasing popularity. Limited tools have either limited development, marginal differentiation with more popular tools, or limited popularity. Defunct tools have no active development, declining popularity or some similar indicator of a limited future. Software popularity is based on data from the CIA.vc web site, which bills itself as “The open source version control informant.” (Dowty, 2007; VCS popularity according to CIA.vc,” 2007) Results of the analysis are shown in Table 1.

Table 1 Forecast of open source VCS futures

VCS Tool Forecast Notes URL
Subversion Strong Most popular open source SCM tool http://subversion.tigris.org/
SVK Limited Builds additional features on top of subversion’s filesystem, limited usage http://svk.bestpractical.com/view/HomePage
Codeville Defunct website non-functional as of 10/25/2009 http://www.codeville.org
Bazaar Limited Growing popularity, middle of the pack http://bazaar-vcs.org/en/
Codendi Limited Open source project backed by Xerox http://www.codendi.com/index_en.php
CVS Limited Second most popular open source SCM tool, but subversion is largely replacing CVS http://ximbiot.com/cvs/
darcs Limited Not very popular http://darcs.net/
Fossil Limited Single developer, web site has section devoted to answering “criticisms,” which is not a good sign http://www.fossil-scm.org
Git Strong Version control system used for Linux kernel development, gaining in popularity http://git-scm.com/
GNU arch Defunct Very low popularity http://www.gnu.org/software/gnu-arch/
Mercurial Limited Low popularity http://mercurial.selenic.com/wiki/
Monotone Limited Low popularity http://www.monotone.ca

References

Comparison of revision control software. (2009, 10/16/2009).   Retrieved 10/25/2009, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Comparison_of_revision_control_software&oldid=320265064

Dowty, M. (2007). CIA.vc: The open source version control informant., from http://cia.vc

VCS popularity according to CIA.vc. (2007). from http://www.swivel.com/data_sets/show/1004901

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