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CVS Quickstart Guide

The Concurrent Versions System (CVS) is an open source tool that lets you manage versions of anything stored in files. If you're a software developer trying to manage different versions of the same code, you'll want to check out this three-part series. It is excerpted from chapter two of Essential CVS, Second Edition, written by Jennifer Vesperman (O'Reilly; ISBN: 0596527039). Copyright © 2007 O'Reilly Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission from the publisher. Available from booksellers or direct from O'Reilly Media.

  1. CVS Quickstart Guide
  2. Installing CVS
  3. Installing CVS with a Package Manager
  4. Installing and Building CVS from Source
By: O'Reilly Media
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April 10, 2008

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To help you get up to speed quickly using CVS, this chapter explains the most common CVS operations. The commands and examples in this chapter are based on standard situations and cover only the most common options. Future chapters go into more depth on each topic covered in this chapter.

Most of the examples and instructions in this chapter are based on the Unix/Linux command-line CVS client, though I also provide examples using multiplatform clients. Most graphical clients use the CVS command names for their menu options and buttons, so if you’re using a graphical client other than one of the ones I provide examples for, you should be able to follow this chapter reasonably easily. Those using Mac OS X can use CVS from the command line, and people using Windows who want to use the command line can use Cygwin (available from http://www. cygwin.com). CVS is available via the Cygwin installer. Graphical clients and clients for operating systems other than Unix/Linux are described in Appendix A.

You may not need to read all of this chapter:

  1. If CVS is installed, and you’re working on an existing project that is already stored in CVS, skip the early sections and start at “Checking Out Files.” You may need your system administrator (or the person who installed your repository and existing project) to tell you the repository path and project name.
  2. If CVS is already installed and running, with a repository available for your project, go straight to “Importing Projects.” You may need your system administrator to tell you the repository path.
  3. If CVS is installed but there is no repository, go to “Building Your First Repository.”
  4. For information on installing graphic clients, see Appendix A.

If you’re not sure whether CVS is already installed and running, read the first part of “Installing CVS,” which tells you how to check. If you’re uncertain about having a repository, try searching for the directory CVSROOT. The repository root is the first directory in the repository and is the directory that contains CVSROOT. The repository path is the full pathname of the repository root, along with any remote access information needed; see “Accessing Remote Repositories” later in this chapter. The directories in the repository root, other than CVSROOT, are CVS projects.

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