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A nice facility for your small projects October 18, 2009

Posted by CK in IT, Productivity.
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Many times I have to use some version control system (VCS) for small, limited-duration projects such as scientific papers, proposals, etc. More often than not, this is a problem to arrange when people from different organizations are involved. Setting up some VCS repository usually means that either you have to ask your administrator to deal with it for you, or you have to do it and you are not too fond of granting access to external collaborators to your VCS server, or there may exist some other sensible reason. For such cases, there exist a number of VC facilities on the internet, that offer free access and repositories up to some point, then if you need more disk space, more users on your repository, etc, you have to pay a monthly subscription. They deal with all the complexity, take backups for you, provide you with easy access and management interfaces, etc.

In my search, I found plenty of nice such facilities with varying degrees of free access and other features. Eventually, I ended up using Project Locker, on the grounds that it was the only such system to offer secure access in its free version. Project Locker offers Subversion and Git repositories.

Overall, I can highly recommend it. The 500 MB of free storage are not too much, and maybe you’ll find more elsewhere, but at the end of the day even if it’s double, it’s only a matter of time before you hit the limit and you have to pay. So even if you get e.g. 1GB elsewhere, it’s not a big deal. There’s a maximum of 5 users for your repository, you get redundant RAID and nightly backups, unlimited bandwidth and number of projects, etc. For me, it was of great importance to have SSL access, and as I said this was the only facility to offer it in the free version. The administration interface is also more than ok. I wasn’t ecstatic about it, but it works perfectly well, offers all the functionality and security functions that I need (e.g. add collaborators just with their email address, without a need to sign them up), and in general I have no complaints.

So perhaps something to consider for your next paper or other short collaborative task.

PS: If you are planning to sign up with them, perhaps you can be so kind to include me as a referral source so that I get a few free MBs 🙂 You’ll need my email address, which you can find e.g. here.

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