Bazaar developers’ blog

February 15, 2010

Bazaar adoption growing strongly

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ian Clatworthy @ 5:31 am

I’ve been tracking the popularity of the leading VCS tools on Ubuntu for the last 4-5 months using popcon. While popcon is far from perfect, I feel the results are a useful data point, given the popularity of Linux among software developers and Ubuntu among Linux distributions.

Here are the summary results.

Tool 19-Oct-2009 15-Feb-2010 Growth
Subversion 247760 282789 14.1%
Git 77791 94441 21.3%
Mercurial 28271 36086 27.5%
Bazaar 39391 51667 31.0%

As expected, all 3 major DVCS tools are growing faster than Subversion in percentage terms. What’s more interesting to me is that Bazaar and Mercurial are growing faster than Git, despite the buzz Git is currently enjoying. As a Bazaar developer, that’s truly awesome news.

Why do I say that? Looking back over technology trends, clean-and-simple products frequently lose the early battle against faster-but-more-complex competitors, e.g. Python vs Perl, GNOME vs KDE. Eventually though, the less complex tools become fast enough and powerful enough to satisfy most needs and their adoption takes off. That’s not to say tools like Perl and KDE are bad. I love them both but find myself using Python and GNOME more frequently these days. In the DVCS marketplace, I’ve always expected Bazaar (and Mercurial) to eventually grow faster than Git. I’m just ecstatic that it seems to be happening already.

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11 Comments

  1. That is good news, and I agree with your optimism.

    Now if we could have a clean-and-simple product for *hosting* Bazaar, as a competitor to Bitbucket or Github, I’d be even more optimistic. (No, Launchpad is neither simple nor clean.)

    Comment by Ben Finney — February 15, 2010 @ 6:47 am

    • I’ll second that, I’m sure the technology under launchpad is well thought of, the actual UI is pretty overwhelming – at least for me.

      Bitbucket, and especially Github feel much nicer, even though I don’t use either (hg or git).

      Maybe the added complexity is of use to the current large users of it (ubuntu itself etc), but a more minimal approach (another service) would make the use of bazaar grow even more.

      Comment by Panos Laganakos — February 20, 2010 @ 6:39 pm

    • Agreed about Launchpad!

      The last Launchpad release (I believe it was 3?) added some great AJAX functionality, but it completely ruined the previous UI. The previous one might not have been perfect, but it was a hell of a lot more readable and scannable than the current “overwhelming wall of text” layout. I was consistently impressed with Launchpad at every iteration until this last one.

      Comment by Tony — February 24, 2010 @ 10:37 pm

      • “overwhelming wall of text” hits the spot Tony. I’ve just recently given a second chance to it, and indeed the things it offers are awesome. But you *really* have to try to find things.

        I can’t believe that github/bitbucket feel so natural to me, while the actual git/hg themselves don’t, and bzr is like 2nd skin, while launchpad is making me look so hard.

        Only reason I see, is that they tried hard to get all the awesome stuff launchpad supports out there, that it got too overcrowded.

        Still hoping it’ll get better at least for new users sake, I’m starting to make sense, and once it becomes muscle memory it won’t matter.

        Comment by Panos Laganakos — February 24, 2010 @ 11:03 pm

  2. That numbers do not inspire much confidence. On the last weeks, I have surfed the web for hours and hours reading about bzr, hg and git and, judging by how active each community is, the number of people who admit to use one tool or another, etc, there is no way that bzr has more users than hg and half the popularity of git.

    Something like debian’s vote stats linked above seem more realistic.

    Comment by Óscar Fuentes — February 15, 2010 @ 12:11 pm

  3. I think both the Ubuntu and the Debian numbers are fine. I certainly expect a large variation across platforms, e.g. Mercurial could well be ahead of Git on Windows and Solaris say.

    I’d also caution against judging popularity from blog posts. What the silent majority are doing (where IT is just a day job) isn’t reflected in what the early adopters are blogging about. For example, a huge number of commercial projects are in the process of upgrading their VCS technology from CVS to something else. If my sources are reliable, by far and away the most popular upgrade choice is still Subversion (and for sound reasons). You’d never sense that from the blogsphere though.

    Comment by Ian Clatworthy — February 18, 2010 @ 4:53 am

  4. I’d be curious to see a plot of this alongside plots of public repositories. (either number of discoverable repositories, or, where available, data about number of commits + check-outs from launchpad, github, bitbucket, etc.)

    If you’re just talking about install base, I can imagine that growing toward a state of “everyone doing open source development has all of them installed”, in the same way that perl, python, ruby, and tcl are all installed on my system, but that doesn’t really reflect how heavily they are used.

    Comment by Kevin Turner — March 23, 2010 @ 8:39 pm

  5. It could be fun to use a search engine for metadata directories. For example, the google search for _darcs:

    http://google.com/search?q=inurl%3A%2F_darcs%2F

    says there are about 11,300 hits.

    Unfortunately, google, bing, and yahoo all ignore ‘.’, so you can’t search for “inurl:.bzr”. I read their help pages and experimented and couldn’t do it. Any ideas?

    Comment by Zooko — April 30, 2010 @ 10:55 pm

  6. I’ll second that, I’m sure the technology under launchpad is well thought of, the actual UI is pretty overwhelming – at least for me.

    Bitbucket, and especially Github feel much nicer, even though I don’t use either (hg or git).

    Maybe the added complexity is of use to the current large users of it (ubuntu itself etc), but a more minimal approach (another service) would make the use of bazaar grow even more

    Comment by tütünex — February 12, 2011 @ 8:14 am


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