Feeds

Perforce collaborates with open source

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Editors' Blog Subversion is a very popular open source Software Configuration Management (SCM) tool and I've heard someone unkind say "Perforce is good too, but it's just like paying for Subversion when you don't need to".

This paragraph already opens up several cans of worms: are these tools really "configuration management" or simply "version control" tools, for one; and is open source software actually free anyway (hint: the lifecycle cost of commercial software is many times its purchase price and the lifecycle cost of "free" software is similar)?

And as our comparison makes clear, it is somewhat unfair to Perforce, although Subversion is certainly "fit for purpose" too – perhaps slightly different purposes.

Of course, Perforce must be aware of the apparent attractions of open source and even actively supports the open source movement in some areas.

One example is Open Watcom, which produces a respected set of Open Source cross-platform C, C++, and Fortran compilers and tools – including the famous Watcom C++ and WATFOR compilers from my youth. Perforce is now hosting the project's open source server.

The Open Watcom project, like many open source projects, is developed and run by a "loosely knit collaboration of volunteers", says Peter Chapin (who is a professor at Vermont Technical College and an Open Watcom volunteer manager). "Without Perforce's support, both in terms of licencing Perforce SCM and in hosting a server for the project, no doubt, Open Watcom would have fizzled out."

According to Christopher Seiwald, Perforce's president and CTO, the company has "always tried to support open source development in suitable ways. We issue free Perforce licences to open source projects and this commitment to host Open Watcom's server is a modest way we can assist the open source community".

So that's all right, then. Moving beyond flippant, I think it is healthy that commercial software vendors (some of them anyway) and open source can collaborate. I see open source as, ultimately, simply an alternative approach to development QA using peer inspection.

There are other approaches although their history doesn't make them an overwhelmingly obvious alternative. Even so, Perforce's USP is its tight focus on doing one thing (being a fast, developer-friendly SCM tool) and doing that well, and this comes - at least in part - from Chris Seiwald's tight control. If Perforce was an open source project, would it be the Perforce some of us know and love? That's for developers to decide for themselves.

Anyway, according to Perforce: "Any organisation developing software licenced or distributed exclusively under an open source licence is eligible to obtain Perforce licences for free."

It lists a selection of open source projects using Perforce, including: the FreeBSD OS; the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), a facility of the National Science Foundation; the VTI, the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute; and the Persistence of Vision Raytracer (POV-Ray), a ray tracing program available for a variety of computer platforms. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes
Latest bleeding-edge bits borrow Action Center from Windows Phone
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'
Open-source 'love' fairly runneth over at cloud event
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.