Monthly Archive for December, 2010

‘Sno disco like a WANdisco!

‘Twas the night before Xmas when all through WANdisco,

Not a server was stirring, not even in San Francisco.

That rhyme was shocking, but bear with me do

For a festive Subversion poem from me to you.

Our commits are nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of repos dance in their heads,

With Glengarry Glen Ross watching over our stuff

I hope I’ll get home, pray the roads aren’t too rough.

See England’s had snow, more than ever before

But that didn’t stop us launching MultiSite 4

And 1.6.15 binaries

Subversion goes on, even in the big freeze.

But back to my ode to this most festive poem,

With an SVN theme since that’s how we roll:

Oh, what to my wandering eyes should appear,

But a Subversion solution with eight binary types, dear

With a little old driver, so lively and quick

I knew in a moment it must be SVNick.

More rapid than CVS his binaries came,

And he whistled and shouted and called them by name:

“Now Windows, now RedHat, now Debian and CentOS,

On Ubuntu, SuSe Linux, Solaris and Tortoise!”

“To the top of the pack! To the top of the wall!

Subversion’s number 1 in version control!”

As I drew in my head, and was turning around

Down my chimney SVNick came with a bound.

A bundle of tools he had flung on his back,

Clustering, Support, and an Access Control pack.

He looked at my system and said what I need

Is MultiSite, to protect my data feed.

No single point of failure, and if I get stuck,

There’s constant support and no need to back up

And if I still feel I want to learn more

Then there’s plenty of webinars to sign up for.

On branching and merging, Subversion admin,

A beginner’s class and some features hidden.

He told me all this while he completed his work,

He repaired my system then turned with a jerk

And laying a finger on the side of his nose

Gave me a nod, and up the chimney he rose.

I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight,

“Merry Christmas from WANdisco, and to all a good night!”

Happy holidays everyone!

I’m all shook up…

Well, we certainly made an impact with that! David’s blog and our press release is now all over the web, and a huge thanks must be said to all that have picked up the story, ran with it, commented it, shared it with friends, tweeted, re-tweeted, and generally helped us get the message out that WANdisco is going to make the changes that Subversion users worldwide are calling out for.

There have been murmurings, no, full-blown shout-outs that have criticised Subversion for failing to address problems with branching and merging. We ran a free online training class on branching and merging last year, and it was so popular we’re going to do it again next year – along with a more advanced class for those who need more specifics. There’s already been a massive sign-up so please hurry to register to secure your place.

I’m really looking forward to Hidden Subversion, our first webinar back after the festive break. It promises to be a really interesting class, whether you’re an experienced user or someone like me who’s only just beginning to grasp the concept, as the material we’re covering is not widely known!

We’ve listened to what past attendees have said about our webinars, and have put together a series which includes some old favourites as well as more advanced classes. We hope you enjoy them!

This week has been seriously busy – we had the ‘shake up’ on Monday, we’ve developed and released information on our new training classes for 2011, AND Subversion 1.5.9 has also been released. Now, that might confuse some people who’ve already seen we have 1.6.15 binaries available on our website, but this is an upgrade for those who aren’t yet using 1.6 SVN.

We also released a very festive newsletter, complete with the now renowned slogan: “Ain’t no disco like a WANdisco!” I never thought something I said in jest at a sales meeting would take off so brilliantly! But think about it, following the news this week, there really isn’t. WANdisco have made a serious pledge to the Subversion community, and the feedback we’ve received from this story has been phenomenal and only proves why we should be fixing these problems.

There have been several discussions in the past week or so about our community site and how we can make it even better. I must say thank you to everyone who has signed up in the past month – I wanted to get to 600 users before 2011 and we have done. Now we have to make this site the ‘disco’ we’ve been talking about! If anyone has suggestions – start a discussion thread, get a debate going, let’s get the place buzzing.

We also run – a far larger site, and unfortunately one that seems to be battling a spam problem. We are trying to enlist the help of site users to act as moderators, who can alert us to spam and hopefully help us crack down. We know there needs to be a significant change, and it is on our to-do list but with everything else going on right now it isn’t at the top of the pile. If there are any other users who feel they could help us out with spam-spotting then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Shaking-up Subversion by Listening to the User Community and then Committing to do the Work.

Today we announced the radical step to overhaul the Subversion project by actually fixing and improving several areas that Subversion users have been crying out for.

I know that this will generate criticism from fans of distributed version control (GIT) because some of the issues we are going to tackle are the stick with which they beat Subversion. I am sure we will face cynicism from some factions of the Subversion project, but in some cases this is because of commercial interests that are dependent on the perception that they are the ones developing Subversion.

As the saying goes: you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.

We are not doing this for direct commercial reasons. We are doing this to protect the future of Subversion. We are doing this because we care. We are doing this because we need to. We are doing this because it is the right thing to do.

I’m sure there are lots of questions. Here is a selection of those I have tried to answer:

What Does This Mean?  Are You Forking Subversion?

At this point, NO. We don’t believe that it is necessary. What we are doing is committing our resources to develop several features that both WANdisco and our user community believe are critical to both the long and short-term welfare of the Subversion project.

Hang on a Minute! Didn’t the Community Just Announce A Road Map?

Yes they did, but that’s pretty much all that happened (and that really pisses us off.) The commit logs (code committed by developers to the project) tell the real story. We are not happy with the volume, speed or participation on the project right now. Blogging, or answering questions on user lists are important, but so is writing source code. We also believe it’s unhelpful when certain unscrupulous committers decide to commit trivial changes in large files to simply get their stats up. That behavior has no place in any open source project; it’s a bad form and wastes everyone’s valuable time.

The requirements that we are committing to build, namely merging and branching, are not new.  Many of these have been in the mainstream and documented since 2007. I find it more than a little annoying that, given their importance to many Subversion users; these areas have not been tackled.

Yes, they are difficult. Yes, they will take time.  That is why a corporation needs to step up to the plate and commit to deliver.

What Does WANdisco Get From This?

We have a thriving business.  Almost all of our customers are Subversion users and, frankly, we’re biased. A bit like Henry Ford’s choice of car color, that’s how we see SCM: You can have any SCM so long as it’s Subversion. Do the math.  It is really simple: The more [happy] Subversion users – the more potential customers for WANdisco and, yes, then we make money.

Who Attended This Summit at the WANdisco Offices?

We invited in the region of 10 companies, representing the largest implementations in the world, some with up to 40,000 users. We selected the organizations based on a very significant vested interest and, due to their complexity; any problems or issues would be magnified exponentially. Of course, everyone had their own special requests that were very specific to their situation but there was also a common theme: branching and merging must improve.

I can’t name all those that attended but they are companies of similar standing to Intel and Juniper Networks.

I Would Like to Help, Can I?


Hyrum Wright is managing this process he can be contacted at Hyrum.Wright(at)  WANdisco [dot] com. We will work with ANYONE.   In fact, we would prefer that this be a community effort. Time is of the essence. Let’s not waste time in endless debate.  Let’s act together.

Subversion is a Community. How is this Working with a Community?

Ultimately, the community will decide if this work will be accepted. When Google decided that httpv2 (awful name and description by the way) was a good idea they developed it and presented it to the community. It was not a fait accompli .  It made sense, so it was accepted. In this case, the requirements have been out there for several years. Subversion users have been tweeting, blogging and complaining about branching and merging. We held a summit to discuss what needed to be done with the Subversion users.  This was their number 1 requirement! We are doing this for the wider Subversion community.

Are You Guys Trying to Take Over The Subversion Project?

Subversion is an Apache project, ideally it should not be inside a corporation.

After This, Then What?

We are still calibrating the requirements, but one hypothesis may be to completely upgrade the backend of Subversion. This is definitely not the end – we still have lots more to do.


About David Richards

David is CEO, President and co-founder of WANdisco and has quickly established WANdisco as one of the world’s most promising technology companies. Since co-founding the company in Silicon Valley in 2005, David has led WANdisco on a course for rapid international expansion, opening offices in the UK, Japan and China. David spearheaded the acquisition of Altostor, which accelerated the development of WANdisco’s first products for the Big Data market. The majority of WANdisco’s core technology is now produced out of the company’s flourishing software development base in David’s hometown of Sheffield, England and in Belfast, Northern Ireland. David has become recognised as a champion of British technology and entrepreneurship. In 2012, he led WANdisco to a hugely successful listing on London Stock Exchange (WAND:LSE), raising over £24m to drive business growth. With over 15 years' executive experience in the software industry, David sits on a number of advisory and executive boards of Silicon Valley start-up ventures. A passionate advocate of entrepreneurship, he has established many successful start-up companies in Enterprise Software and is recognised as an industry leader in Enterprise Application Integration and its standards. David is a frequent commentator on a range of business and technology issues, appearing regularly on Bloomberg and CNBC. Profiles of David have appeared in a range of leading publications including the Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail. Specialties:IPO's, Startups, Entrepreneurship, CEO, Visionary, Investor, ceo, board member, advisor, venture capital, offshore development, financing, M&A


Okay, so I’m sure it’s not gone unnoticed that our blogs have been remarkably silent for the past few months. And that’s not a particularly bad thing, it just means that David and Jim have been really busy – it’s been quite a big year for both WANdisco and the Subversion open source project.

There have been several patches, new releases, webinars… all things that unfortunately mean a blog can get left behind. But no more!

And who am I? I’m Lesley and I guess my official title is “marketing co-ordinator”. But I guess the most important thing anyone should know is that I am a total technophobe.

“Why write a blog about technology, software and open source?” I hear you say. Well, because since I started working for WANdisco, it’s hard to NOT write a blog about it. I have all of this new information in my head, and nobody to share it with that would understand. My friends and family (especially my family) can’t even turn their webcams on, let alone understand the concept of Subversion!

A bit about me: I studied journalism at college, and knew pretty quick I couldn’t do that for a living. So I explored the world of marketing and here I am. I started working here about 3 months ago and immediately found myself in the deep end.

I went from being the kind of person who uses their computer to check Facebook and bank balance (and maybe write the occasional story) to being a part of a growing community dedicated to Subversion.

My first day here, I was given a snapshot of Subversion history: an open source project started ten years ago, Subversion is source code management software. That’s as basic as the explanation got, and after that I sat in meetings where ‘active-active replication’, ‘WAN optimisiation’, ‘nodes’, and a whole host of abbreviations I’ve only just begun to understand, were terms used every other sentence.

Needless to say, the first few weeks were some of the most intense of my life. I tell you what did help me, if you’re new to the community and fancy a bit of a backgrounder: David Richards’ blog , WANdisco CEO and Subversion champion.

Three months later, I am surrounded by Subversion. I am still wary of what the computer in front of me is capable of, and if anyone mentions writing ‘code’ to me I get a little bit weak at the knees, but the work my colleagues complete around me on a daily basis is baffling and fascinating. I am intrigued by what we are creating, amazed by the possibilities it offers… I am hooked.

The more I read about the project, the more I immerse myself in the world of open source software development, the more I have to write a blog. The things I want to talk about and get excited about won’t be understood by my family or friends, but rather those who are a part of our community.

I’m probably never going to have a full understanding of how this software works, but I would like to try and convey information in a way that we can all understand and hopefully enjoy. I want to invite people to join me as I learn more about Subversion, as I explore what’s going on in the open source world, and as I try to decipher the latest releases and their impact on the project.

I don’t promise to get everything right – in fact, I’d rather get something wrong. I figure Subversion is only going to survive if we share our experiences, our knowledge… It is open source, and that’s how we want to keep it: no matter who the company is, the dedication to keeping the source of Subversion open and free is paramount. I look forward to sharing my trials and triumphs with you, and hope you will share yours with me.