Christopher Tozzi, Contributing Editor

October 4, 2012

2 Min Read
Perforce Releases Value-Added Version of Git

Git, the open source revision control system, is already massively popular among developers. But Perforce, which focuses on software management solutions in both the open source and proprietary worlds, thinks Git can be even better. That’s why it has released a value-added version of the platform, called Git Fusion, which it promises can make Git easier to use and more flexible.

Alongside CVS and Apache Subversion, Git is among the most well-known and widely used platforms for version control by open source software developers. It also enjoys the distinction of being the original product of Linus Torvalds himself, who created it in the mid 2000s for use with Linux kernel development.

Adding Value to Git

Although Torvalds and many others have promoted Git as a solution to the pitfalls of other version control systems, Perforce viewed the platform as an opportunity for redistributing an open source technology in value-added form. Perforce Git Fusion, the company says, offers several advantages over the base product, including:

  • Flexible new capabilities for reusing and sharing code.

  • With Git Fusion, teams can use Git repositories and their components in new ways, combining them and creating new repositories by selectively reusing elements from other Git or Perforce code lines.

  • Git Fusion extends Perforce’s enterprise version management capabilities to Git repositories, giving administrators greater scalability, IP security and defensibility, availability, compliance and visibility across all projects and teams.

In a move that should please the open source community, Perforce is making Git Fusion available at no charge to open source projects. It’s also free for educational institutions and for organizations running twenty or fewer instances of the product.

Perforce has had it sights set on Git for some time. A Python connector for sharing work between Git and Perforce was available well before the announcement of Git Fusion, and at the beginning of 2012 the company began publicly pointing out some of the weaknesses in Git from the perspective of corporate users. Last summer it started making contributions to the Git code base as well.

Perforce’s focus with Git Fusion, of course, isn’t on the Git ecosystem writ large. By all indications, the product is intended for enterprise customers in particular. Still, some of the concepts it introduces may be adapted into Git itself, which would benefit many open source developers.

At the same time, Git Fusion represents a prime example of combining a major open source technology with value-added features in a way that remains friendly to the open source community. It’s hard to accuse Perforce of poaching the work of open source developers for its own ends, as other companies have done. (Apple is one of the most egregious examples.) Selling value-added products based on open source code using Perforce’s approach benefits the development community as a whole.

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About the Author(s)

Christopher Tozzi

Contributing Editor

Christopher Tozzi started covering the channel for The VAR Guy on a freelance basis in 2008, with an emphasis on open source, Linux, virtualization, SDN, containers, data storage and related topics. He also teaches history at a major university in Washington, D.C. He occasionally combines these interests by writing about the history of software. His book on this topic, “For Fun and Profit: A History of the Free and Open Source Software Revolution,” is forthcoming with MIT Press.

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