If you haven’t seen it, here’s the announcement:

http://blogs.msdn.com/codeplex/archive/2010/01/22/codeplex-now-supporting-native-mercurial.aspx

As you may know, CodePlex provides a hosted community development environment and has been built on TFS (you can connect to it from VS like any other TFS server).  They’ve just recently announced support for Mercurial for version control and I’ve already seen several threads of the form “Does this mean Microsoft is abandoning TFS?”

If you read my blog, then you know I’m responsible for TFS.  You may be interested to know that I was involved in making the decision to add Mercurial support to CodePlex.  It does not, in any way, signal a move away from TFS or a lack of confidence in TFS.  TFS is the core of Microsoft’s ALM solution and it will continue to be for as far as I can see into the future.

So why would we do this?  Well, the biggest reason is demand for distributed version control for open source projects.  By there very nature, open source projects lend themselves to distributed version control.  I think many scenarios can benefit from it but open source really needs it based on the submission model that is often used.  TFS doesn’t support distributed version control today, it makes sense for CodePlex so we chose to add Mercurial.

I fully expect that we will be adding distributed version control to TFS.  In fact, in the next few months, I expect to kick off a prototyping effort to experiment with this.  I’m not sure yet what our productization plan will be but I want to get started understanding the experience we want to create and the effort to do it.

So what about the “message” that this sends?  I hope it sends the message that we listen to customers and we believe in choice.  CodePlex still supports TFS and customers can choose which they want.  The challenge I’ll be giving to my team is that I want most customers choosing TFS – even for open source development projects.  We’re going to do that by making TFS a more desirable experience than Mercurial (or any other system available).  Given open source is not the sweet spot of what we do today, don’t expect that to happen over night.  It will be one of the stars that we chart our course by but we will continue to ensure that TFS is the best solution on the market for teams that need the power of a full, integrated ALM suite that addresses the needs of the diverse participants in the software development processes: Developers, Testers, Architects, Project managers, Business analysts, Business stake holders, IT management, Operations staff and more.

Brian