I seem to remember using a source code control system back in the early- to mid-1990s called git. Am I nuts?

I used to work at IBM way back then. We didn't use it for a big project, but I distinctly remember using it. Is that possible?

However, Wikipedia says Linus Torvalds wrote it in 2005, citing A Short History of Git:

Git was created by Linus Torvalds in 2005 for development of the Linux kernel, with other kernel developers contributing to its initial development.

Was there any earlier version of source-control software with the same name, or that may have functioned similarly?

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    As far as I know there was nothing called Git. IBM bought Rational Software's ClearCase (first released in 1992) in the early 2000s. Common version control systems back then included SCCS, RCS, and CVS as well. There is a large table comparing many systems here on Wikipedia.
    – torek
    Aug 20, 2017 at 0:50
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    2005 feels like the mid 90s to me sometimes.
    – Mad Physicist
    Aug 20, 2017 at 0:54
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    IBM mainframes had Software Configuration and Library Manager (SCLM), but it was nothing like git. In the 90's IBM would've used other version control systems for other products like AIX or OS/2, and while I don't know what it would've been nothing like git either.
    – user722
    Aug 21, 2017 at 4:25
  • Mandela Effect!
    – JoelFan
    Jul 10, 2019 at 19:24
  • The ClearCase developers had been with Apollo there they worked with DSEE (Domain Software Engineering Environment.) They left Apollo/HP after the HP takeover and started something by the name of Atria. Atria became later a part of Rational before the IBM takeover. The support in Domain for developing things is really interesting. Jan 15, 2021 at 21:28

1 Answer 1


You are nuts, unfortunately. The thing that's now called Git didn't exist at all until Linus invented it after experience with BitKeeper, and thinking about distributed version control. Linux didn't start using BitKeeper for the official mainline source tree until 2002, but some developers must have been using it before that. BitKeeper itself didn't exist until the late 90s (e.g. early-access beta in May 1999).

One of the major motivations for its creation was Bitkeeper's pricing change, making it inconvenient to developers to work on Linux if they didn't buy BitKeeper.

There was another project that used to be abbreviated as git (e.g. in Debian package names), but the popularity of the Git VCS led to the GNU Interactive Tools being renamed gnuit. (And I only know that because I remember the Debian package-name conflict that led to Git being packaged as git-vcs for a while.)

  • Was the other package a version control system?
    – Thomas Jay Rush
    Aug 20, 2017 at 4:35
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    In the 90s it was mainly sccs or rcs, both of which date from the 70s.
    – cup
    Aug 20, 2017 at 5:46
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    @cup I remember CVS being big back then also
    – Unix
    Jan 12, 2018 at 20:12
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    Pretty sure the motivation was Larry McVoy abruptly pulling the plug on Linux's repo because Andrew Tridgell dared to write his own client, which McVoy claimed would lead to corrupting other repos (yeah, wow). Linus got pretty frustrated at Tridge at the time, started his own VCS, and quite likely aimed the name at Tridge. BitKeeper is still around (and now fully open source), though its complete obscurity these days suggests justice was ultimately served. Mar 29, 2020 at 2:43
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    @fadden: There definitely was not a version-control system called git until the one Linus wrote. GNU Interactive Tools GIT was a totally different thing. Reminiscing about the bad old days of CVS and RCS seems pretty much irrelevant to the actual question; if people want to do that, consider starting a chat. Or at least tag your comment with someone you're replying to so I can be more certain it's not suggesting something to add to my answer, please and thanks. Jan 16, 2021 at 17:32

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