Final Project Report for Replace CVS with SVN on www.inf


This project was intended to implement the replacement of CVS as the underlying version control software (VCS) with Subversion (SVN) as the publishing mechanism for web pages on

Initially started in 2013, a significant amount of time had been spent on this project. However, given that so much real time has passed since then, and given that www.inf and its use has changed (and is changing) in other ways, it has been decided to abandon this project.

The original project proposer has been informed.


A recent survey of publishing activity on revealed that though CVS on www.inf (which includes other sites, eg www.dice.inf) is still actively used, most activity is confined to user edits of pages under; and database generated content under and /research/.

The automatically generated content doesn't care which VCS is used, and the /teaching pages are gradually moving to LEARN.

There is nothing particularily broken with the existing CVS publishing mechanism, it all just works and has done so for decades (the first commit to index.html was in February 1999). The less than optimal features are that it is not integrated with our kerberos authentication, and that it is missing some features of newer VCSes.

It is estimated that it might take two more weeks effort to actually do the switch to Subversion, and then there would be the co-ordination with the users to find a suitable date.

Switching to Subversion would mean a change in those remaining users' workflow, and change to the way that the service is managed. If this change was going to be used by many people for many more years, then the distruption may be justified. However as the number of user edits reduces, it was felt that the disruption was not worth the limited benefit gained, and so we will abandon this project.

If we are concerned about the continued use of the CVS pserver authentication, which is open to the world, a compromise solution could be to close that hole, and require the use of VPN to connect if on Wifi or outside of EdLAN /Informatics.


34 weeks of effort, spread over about 5 years.

-- NeilBrown - 30 Apr 2019

Topic revision: r2 - 01 May 2019 - 08:46:41 - NeilBrown
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