Change Management Software

I’m in need of change management software (think small projects and software development) for a medium sized company. Can anyone recommend a package that you might use at work or in your business? Bascially something that will let us track changes to software and projects that is easy to use and not too expensive. Thanks!

CVS is one of the big version-tracking apps, and as far as I know, it’s free. Sourceforge uses it for all of their projects.

We use WinCvs. I like it.

I haven’t worked on projects with more than 4 programmers, but other people here do.

If you are looking for a version control system, one that lets you keep track of actual changes to files, then Subversion is your best bet. Subversion is a replacement for CVS that eliminates many of its flaws, and just works better in general. Many of the developers previously responsible for CVS are now working on Subversion.

In the open-source world at least, CVS is essentially considered deprecated - everyone is moving to Subversion. I assume it’s the same in the closed-source world: we switched a few years ago at my company.

Please, please don’t use CVS for a new project. That’s like paying full retail price for a ten-year-old car. CVS is a 20-year old hack, and it shows.

If, instead of a version control system, you’re looking for a project management system, one that lets you keep track of feature requests, bugfixes, and so forth, I have two recommendations:

  1. Mantis - We used it here for a while, and it’s quite capable.
  2. JIRA - May be expensive, depending on your budget.

Just to clarify, are you looking for a:

[li]Version control tool - Stores versioned elements of software components (CVS, ClearCase, SourceSafe)[/li][li]Change Management tool - Tracks changes to hardware, system software and infrastructure (Peregrine AssetCenter)[/li][li]Configuration Management tool - Tracks changes to all configurable items in a system, such as documentation, hardware, software, etc. (Cendura Cohesion, Peregrine also has products that do this)[/li][/ul]

I’ll second Athena’s recommendation of Subversion for version control of software. I find it to be much better than CVS. Like CVS, Subversion is completely free.

For a brand-new repository I would be looking at Subversion since it is the successor to CVS.

I really like CVS even though it is old technology because it’s stable and reliable, and those are good attributes of source control tools.

I maintain our corporate CVS repository running on Unix, with several hundred developers accessing it worldwide. Works great!
If something funny happens, it’s relatively easy to roll up your sleeves and go in and fix the problem.

There are several areas where CVS shows its age (try figuring who tagged a file or what date the tag was applied, for a simple gap), so for a fresh repository I would look very closely at Subversion.

An optimal change management system would have defect tracking, source control, and change control all integrated, so one can easily see what source patch is associated with what change control and which defects that fixes.
We aren’t there yet. Tools like Rational’s suite do that for big $$$.

Actually, a number of tools are getting very close, for much less money. There’s an excellent, free issue-tracking system called Trac that does exactly that: the integration with Subversion is excellent.

Wow, thanks all! I’m surprised there are so many free alternatives out there. I’ve heard of both CVS and Sourceforge but haven’t tried them yet, I’ll check them both out today. Thanks again!

I’ll go to the other side of the spectrum and recommend Microsoft Visual SourceSafe. If you do development and bought the professional Developer’s Studio then you already own it.

Been using it since (1994) when it was first developed by some nice little company in the Carolinas (AFAIR) until MS bought them out.

Just to save you some possible confusion: I think you meant Subversion.

The medium-size software company where I work uses both CVS and Subversion (SVN): our main project is in the process of transitioning from the former to the latter, and I think eventually the company will ditch CVS entirely. I’m still more proficient in CVS, but I prefer SVN. :slight_smile:

We’re actually looking at moving from CVS to SVN, but I’ve never used it, so I can’t offer a recommendation. From what I hear, it works well, and it runs circles around CVS as far as security goes.

I try to discourage use of SourceSafe wherever possible in my organization.
[ul][li]VSS performs terribly over WAN connections. CVS was designed for this, so it performs like a champ.[/li]
At one time we were using VSS for database development and when developers in NY had to collaborate with developers from NJ, they would have to wait 30 seconds for each VSS operation to complete. In contrast, I was working with some developers in Paris recently who are working in the very same CVS repository we use without any performance problems.

[li]VSS can silently corrupt its repository if it runs out of space.[/li]
I had to deal with this too many times. The repository was on a shared network drive that would occasionally run out of space. VSS would continue working for a short period of time, mangling stuff, and then it was a nightmare to pick up the pieces.

[li]CVS has a more flexible and mature branching mechanism.[/li]
We depend heavily on this to have concurrent development on both production bug fixes of the older release as well as development on the main line.[/ul]
I’m sure that there are counter arguments :slight_smile:

Here are a few points in favor of Visual Source Safe:
[ul][li]VSS is a reasonable choice for a small group (e.g. 5 guys in a garage)[/li][li]It’s simple to set up[/li][li]It is much easier to get accustomed to its check-in/check-out model[/ul][/li]Good luck!