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Chapter 2. Developer CVS HOWTO

Table of Contents

What is CVS?
Download Tortoise CVS
Get a sourceforge.net username
Get the repository in a directory on your own computer

What is CVS?

Extract from the CVS manual:

CVS is a version control system. Using it, you can record the history of your source files.

For example, bugs sometimes creep in when software is modified, and you might not detect the bug until a long time after you make the modification. With CVS, you can easily retrieve old versions to see exactly which change caused the bug. This can sometimes be a big help.

You could of course save every version of every file you have ever created. This would however waste an enormous amount of disk space. CVS stores all the versions of a file in a single file in a clever way that only stores the differences between versions.

CVS also helps you if you are part of a group of people working on the same project. It is all too easy to overwrite each others' changes unless you are extremely careful. Some editors, like GNU Emacs, try to make sure that the same file is never modified by two people at the same time. Unfortunately, if someone is using another editor, that safeguard will not work. CVS solves this problem by insulating the different developers from each other. Every developer works in his own directory, and CVS merges the work when each developer is done.

To learn about the features, quirks and such about CVS, I would recommend: the CVS Manual and the CVS FAQ. If you don't know much about CVS I highly recommend that you have a look at those documents.