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1. Introduction

(The latest version of this document is at You may want to check there for changes).

A source code control system is a MUST to manage the changes occurring to a software project during development. Developers need a complete history of changes to backtrack to previous versions in case of any problems. Since source code is the most vital component of any software project and software development takes a huge amount of time and money, it is very important to spend some time in safe-guarding the source code by using source code control systems like CVS and RCS.

CVS (Concurrent Version Control System) is a powerful tool which allows concurrent development of software by multiple users. It uses RCS underneath and has an application layer interface as a wrapper on top of RCS.

CVS can record the history of your files (usually, but not always, source code). CVS only stores the differences between versions, instead of every version of every file you've created. CVS also keeps a log of who, when and why changes occurred, among other aspects.

CVS is very helpful for managing releases and controlling the concurrent editing of source files among multiple authors. Instead of providing version control for a collection of files in a single directory, CVS provides version control for a hierarchical collection of directories consisting of revision controlled files.

These directories and files can then be combined to form a software release.

CVS can be used for storing "C", "C++", Java, Perl, HTML and other files.

HISTORY of CVS: CVS is a very highly sophisticated and complex system. It is the "State of the Art" technology and is so called "software miracle". The CVS software is a very advanced and capable system developed over a very long period of time. And it took several years to mature!! It took about 20 to 30 years of research to develop CVS algorithms and later it was coded into a software. And even today, it is still evolving!!

CVS algorithms actually started in Universities several decades ago and CVS implementation started out as a bunch of shell scripts written by Dick Grune, who posted it to the newsgroup comp.sources.unix in the volume 6 release of December, 1986. While no actual code from these shell scripts is present in the current version of CVS much of the CVS conflict resolution algorithms come from them. In April, 1989, Brian Berliner designed and coded CVS. Jeff Polk later helped Brian with the design of the CVS module and vendor branch support.

And today each and every major software development project in the world is written using CVS as the safe repository. As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"

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