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This page is obsolete please see WorkingWithSVN for current version control procedure

CVS Basics

This node discusses the basics of using CVS. Also see Checking out CVS modules on

For complete on information CVS, including the basics, see:

For information on more advanced usage, see:


The Repository

CVS stores source code in a shared repository (in our case on Sourceforge's server). The repository contains all past and present versions of the code, and is shared by everyone.

Your Working Copy

To work with the source code, CVS requires you to check out a working copy. This copy is private, so you can make and test any changes you like without disturbing anyone else.

If you have write access to the repository, when you are finished making your changes, you may commit your changes to the shared repository, making them available to everyone.

Alternately, you may generate a file containing the changes you made (a diff), and send it to a developer with write access to be incorporated.

You can check out as many working copies as you want; they take up only your own disk space, and they are completely independent of each other.

If you no longer need a working copy, you may simply delete it.

Getting Started

Setting Up

Default Settings

Create a .cvsrc file in your home directory with the following contents:

 cvs -z3 -q
 diff -uNp
 update -Pd
 remove -f
Anonymous Access

Most developers will initially only have access to a read-only copy of the repository. You will need to run the following command once:

 cvs -z3 -d login

And then simply press enter when asked for a password (the password is blank).

Note that this read-only copy is normally ~24 hours behind the newest changes.

Write Access

Developers who have been given write access (access to the master repository) will need to have ssh installed, and set their CVS_RSH environment variable to ssh.

To avoid being prompted for your Sourceforge password every time you run a CVS command on the master repository, you will probably want [