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Distributed versus centralized version control systems

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Version control systems, sometimes called revision control systems or source code management systems, are programs whose purpose is to let you track changes made to a set of, usually, plain text files. They are mainly used to track changes in the source code of programs, but they may be used for other purposes. They’re very useful and, if you’re a programmer and don’t use any, you should consider starting to use them. It doesn’t matter if you work alone or with more people, or if your project is very small or very big. A version control system will be helpful in the vast majority of cases, and it works like a time machine.

Nowadays there are several version control systems to choose from. In general, most of them fall into two categories: distributed or centralized. And they differ in how you are expected to work, make changes and publish those changes. Still, they have some points in common.

Common concepts

There’s usually a repository, a place in which your changes are recorded. Accessing it, you can view a log of the changes or recover previous versions or revisions, of the source code. New revisions are created when you commit a group of changes you’ve made.

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