The core mission of a version control system is to enable collaborative editing and sharing of data. But different systems use different strategies to achieve this. It's important to understand these different strategies for a couple of reasons. First, it will help you compare and contrast existing version control systems, in case you encounter other systems similar to Subversion. Beyond that, it will also help you make more effective use of Subversion, since Subversion itself supports a couple of different ways of working.