The ACME Project

Assembling Configuration Management Environments
(for Software Development)

SCM Reading Recommendations

by Brad Appleton

[ WWW | Papers | Books | Proceedings ]

SCM Web sites

As a general resource, the best two websites on SCM are the following (IMHO of course):

SCM Papers

As far as SCM books and papers go, aside from the excellent chapters (there are two of them) on SCM in Watts Humphrey's Managing the Software Process, you might also take a look at the following:

The SEI CM documents archive at: All these papers are excellent. Of particular note are the following papers:

Also, take a look at Understanding Dependencies: A Study of the Coordination Challenges in Software Development, Beki Grinter's Ph.D. thesis at

And, Configuration Management with Version Sets: A Unified Software Versioning Model and its Applications, Andreas Zeller's Ph.D. thesis at

SCM Books

A number of good books on SCM exist. Many of them are mentioned in section 2.0 of the CM FAQ located at

CM books that I am familiar with are as follows:

Software Configuration Management: Coordination for Team productivity
by Wayne Babich
Addison-Wesley, 1986, ISBN 0-201-10161-0
[ a standard classic - highly recommended ]

Methods and Tools for Software Configuration Management
by David Whitgift
John Wiley & Sons Ltd., November 1991, ISBN 0-471-92940-9
[ another excellent book that is supposedly out of print, but can still be found, although at a hefty price of $80 US ]

Configuration Management: The Changing Image
by Marion Kelly
McGraw-Hill, UK, 1995, ISBN 0-07-707977-9
[ a very good and very recent overview of the current state of SCM processes in industry -- not available in the US but can be ordered directly from UK distributors ]

Software Configuration Management
by Ronald Berlack
Wiley Series in Software Engineering Practice
John Wiley & Sons, July 1991, ISBN 0471530492
[ another classic - also out of print ]

Software Configuration Management: An Investment in Product Integrity
by Edward H. Bersoff, Vilas D. Henderson, Stanley G. Siegel
Prentice Hall, May 1980, ISBN 0138217696
[ probably the oldest and most "classic" work on the topic, so of course it too is out of print. ]

Practical Software Configuration Management: The Latenight Developer's Handbook
by Tim Mikkelson & Suzanne Pherigo
Prentice Hall, April 1997, ISBN 0132408546
[ a relatively new and VERY good intro to SCM basics along with basic strategies for using RCS and CVS. Also includes a comparison survey of some commercial SCM tools. The book is quite good for the SCM beginner - but it's a bit more expensive than it should be IMHO ]

Software Release Methodology
by Michael E. Bays
Prentice Hall, 1999, ISBN 0136365647
[ a very new and VERY good book covering issues of integration and release engineering, including elements of versioning, branching, building, testing, and defect/change tracking. ]

AntiPatterns and Patterns in Software Configuration Management
by William J. Brown, Hays W. "Skip" McCormick, and Scott W. Thomas
Wiley & Sons, 1999, ISBN 0471329290
[ A fairly recent book that focuses primarily on SCM as it applies to management. It discusses 16 pitfalls and 3 best-practices of managerial policies and procedures for SCM in the areas of requirements management, software testing, and quality assurance. ]

Implementing Configuration Management: Hardware, Software, and Firmware (second edition)
by Fletcher J. Buckley
IEEE Computer Society Press, November 1995, ISBN 0818671866

Open Source Development with CVS
by Karl Fogel
The Coriolis Group, LLC., October 1999, ISBN 1-57610-490-7
[ A very good discussion of version control for Open Source development in general, and of CVS in particular. As far as CVS goes, it's an outstanding developer's resource (and that's not just because it's the only game in town at the moment). Note that portions of this book are available on-line. ]

Applying RCS and SCCS: From Source Control to Project Control
by Don Bolinger & Tan Bronson
O'Reilly & Associates, September 1995, ISBN 1-56592-117-8

Managing Projects with make (2nd edition)
by Andrew Oram & Steve Talbott
O'Reilly & Associates, October 1991, ISBN 0-937175-90-0

Software Portability with imake (2nd Edition)
by Paul DuBois
O'Reilly & Associates, September 1996, ISBN 1-56592-226-3

Multi-Platform Code Management
by Kevin Jameson
O'Reilly & Associates
[ This is out of print, but you might still be able to get copies through O'Reilly at clearance prices. If not, you can find related papers at and request a copy of the book from the author ]

Proceedings of the International SCM Workshops

These are typically (but not always) associated with the IEEE ICSE conferences (though in their own separate proceedings). The first three were printed by ACM press. I believe they are out of print and hard to obtain. The rest have been printed by Springer-Verlag:

Proceedings of the 3rd International Workshop on Software Configuration Management
edited by Peter H. Feiler
ACM Press, June 1991, ISBN 0-897-91429-5

Software Configuration Management: Selected Papers of the ICSE SCM-4 and SCM-5 Workshops
edited by Jacky Estublier
Springer-Verlag, 1995
Lecture Notes in Computer Science series, No. 1005 ISBN 3-540-60578-9

Software Configuration Management: Selected Papers of the ICSE SCM-6 Workshop
edited by Ian Somerville
Springer-Verlag, 1996, ISBN 354061964X

Software Configuration Management: Selected Papers of the ICSE SCM-7 Workshop
edited by Reidar Conradi
Springer-Verlag, May 1997, ISBN 3540630147

System Configuration Management: ECOOP'98 SCM-8 Symposium
Brussels, Belgium, July 20-21, 1998, Proceedings

edited by Boris Magnusson
Springer-Verlag, July 1998, ISBN 3540647333

System Configuration Management: 9th International Symposium, SCM-9
Toulouse, France, September 5-7, 1999, Proceedings

edited by Jacky Estublier
Springer-Verlag, September 1999, ISBN 354066484X

Another excellent compilation of SCM papers may be found in:

Configuration Management (Trends in Software series, vol. 2)
edited by Walter F. Tichy
John Wiley & Sons, July 1994, ISBN 0471942456
[ a very good overview of SCM systems in industry and research ]

And of course lets not forget Hal Render's fairly exhaustive bibliography of SCM literature at:

SCM Reading Recommendations

Now for some specific 3-4 recommendations ... IMHO, it really matters which aspect(s) of SCM you want to focus on!

For SCM Toolsmiths

If you are coming primarily from the perspective of someone who is a software toolsmith and is interested in info to help him/her use glue scripts/code to help get the best out of their existing SCM tools, my personal recommendations are:

For Software Building and Multi-Platform Issues

If you are interested more in issues of building and multiple platform development, then get:

Also, you might look at the following papers:

For SCM Policy and Procedures

If you are interested more in the procedural/policy aspects of SCM, then look at:

Also - the SCM chapters from Watts Humphrey's Managing the Software Process are highly recommended reading here, and relatively brief.

For SCM Principles and Concepts

If you are interested more in SCM principles and concepts from a somewhat higher or more fundamental level, then look at:

SCM Basics and Fundamentals ("SCM for Dummies")

If, you are interested in more of the really basic, bootstrapping and getting started stuff for folks that desperately need a clue when it comes to SCM, and are mostly using lower-end tools like SourceSafe, or freely available tools like RCS/SCCS or CVS, then look at:

SCM Team Coordination & Communication

If you are interested mostly in issues of team coordination and communication, then look at:

SCM Theory and Research

If you are interested primarily in advanced SCM concepts and research systems, then ...

If you dont already have a good understanding of SCM basics, start with:

Once you've done that (or have already mastered SCM basics), then look at:

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