S h o r t S t o r i e s

// Tales from software development

What does Microsoft use for source control ?

with one comment

OK, so Team Foundation Server (TFS) has replaced Visual SourceSafe (VSS) as the source code management (SCM) tool in Microsoft’s development toolset. Does Microsoft use TFS on its internal projects ? Yes, and no…

Although Microsoft is increasingly using TFS on its internal projects many teams are still using Source Depot. Haven’t heard of it ? Well, you probably won’t have unless you’ve worked for Microsoft. So, what is Source Depot and why hasn’t Microsoft ever released it as a product ?

Microsoft bought One Tree Software in 1994 for its source control product SourceSafe. This was soon released by Microsoft as Visual SourceSafe 4.0 at the same time as Visual Basic 4.0 in 1995. Visual SourceSafe was used internally by Microsoft but the scale of some internal projects, notably Windows, stretched the capabilities of VSS to the limit and beyond. In 1999 Perforce licenced the source code for its SCM product to Microsoft for internal use only.

Over the past eight years a small team within Microsoft has developed the Perforce source code under the name Source Depot. It continues to be developed and maintained but development teams within Microsoft are now encouraged to use TFS on new projects.

Within Microsoft Source Depot has proved to have the functionality, robustness, and scalability required for developing products such as Windows with thousands of developers working on millions of lines of code. Which is a pretty good recommendation for Perforce.


Written by Sea Monkey

March 20, 2007 at 10:13 pm

Posted in Development

Tagged with , ,

One Response

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  1. “In 1999 Perforce licenced the source code for its SCM product to Microsoft for internal use only.”

    My understanding is that Microsoft bought the source code (not licensed), for any purpose (including productizing it).

    Fortunately Microsoft did not productize it. Since 1999, Perforce has made incredible improvements of its own product, and those enhancements would not have been part of Microsoft’s fork. And, Microsoft had made their own enhancements to SD, which were honed and fine-tuned to Microsoft’s own internal needs. But really were not polished enough for primetime.

    If Microsoft had productized SD, we may not have had .NET … because of TFS/TFVC.

    And if you know Brian Harry (VSS guy, and TFVC guy), and know of the Microsoft/Sun fallout over Java, and how Brian Harry’s work on making a programming interface to his source control became the seed that evolved into the IL and virtual machine as part of the umbrella .NET technology, all due to Brian Harry hating COM and created a whole different technology to be the API to the source control engine …

    Well we may be living in a very different world today.

    Besides, if we had “TFS/SD” instead of TFS/TFVC, we may not have finally gotten TFS/Git. Yay, Microsoft on the Git bandwagon!


    October 20, 2016 at 1:46 pm

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