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3. Setting up CVS

First you need to install the CVS package. On Redhat Linux use:

cd /mnt/cdrom/Redhat/RPMS
rpm -i rcs*.rpm
rpm -i cvs*.rpm
rpm -i openssh*.rpm
To see the list of files installed do -
rpm -qpl cvs*.rpm | less

and browse the output using j,k, CTRL+f, CTRL+D, CTRL+B, CTRL+U or using arrow keys, page up/down keys. See 'man less'.

The Openssh is required if you want to use ssh (Secure Shell) with CVS.

On other flavors of Unix, you may need to download the RCS and CVS tar balls and follow the README, INSTALL files to setup CVS. Visit and

3.1 Environment variables

The following environment variables need to be setup in /etc/profile - default values required for all users. If not set in /etc/profile, then you should add these to your local profile file  /.bash_profile.

export EDITOR=/bin/vi
export CVSROOT=/home/cvsroot

# WARNING!! WARNING: If you set CVSREAD to yes, checkout and update will try hard to 
# make the files in your working directory read-only.  When this is not set,
# the default behavior is to permit modification of your working files.
#export CVSREAD=yes

And of course, individual users can override the environment variables set in /etc/profile by resetting them in their local profile file  /.bash_profile
# File ~/.bash_profile
# Overriding env variables by resetting
export EDITOR=/usr/bin/emacs
export CVSROOT=/home/someotherdir/java/cvsroot

Create a directory to store the source code repository and give read, write access to Unix group/user. Also make sure that the directory name of CVSROOT does not contain any blank spaces. For example CVSROOT should not be like '/home/my rootcvs'.

bash$ su - root
bash# export CVSROOT=/home/cvsroot
bash# groupadd --help
bash# groupadd cvs
bash# useradd --help
bash# useradd -g cvs -d $CVSROOT cvs
bash# mkdir $CVSROOT

bash# ls -ld $CVSROOT   ... (you should see the listing)
bash# chgrp -R cvs $CVSROOT
bash# chmod o-rwx $CVSROOT
bash# chmod ug+rwx $CVSROOT

# To initialize the CVS repository and to put in source code files
# do (but requires env CVSROOT to be set) :
bash# cvs init

# Add the unix users to the cvs group. Create supplementary groups for users.
# Note that you MUST not put any blank spaces after comma separating the
# group names in -G option.
# In example below user tom belongs to groups cvs, users and staff and user
# johnson belongs to group cvs only.
bash# usermod --help
bash# usermod -G cvs some_unix_username
bash# usermod -G cvs,users,staff tom
bash# usermod -G cvs,users,staroffice billclinton
bash# usermod -G cvs johnson
bash# exit    .... (logout of root superuser mode)

# Login as a user and import files into cvs....
bash$ su - billclinton
bash$ export EDITOR=/bin/vi
bash$ export CVSROOT=/home/cvsroot

# WARNING! WARNING: If you set CVSREAD to yes, checkout and update will try hard to 
# make the files in your working directory read-only.  When this is not set,
# the default behavior is to permit modification of your working files.
bash$ export CVSREAD=yes

# Change directory is a must (MANDATORY)
bash$ cd $HOME/somedir/anotherdir/directory/my_source_code_dir

# Must give vendor tag and revision tag
cvs import somedir/anotherdir/directory/my_source_code_dir vendor_1_0 rev_1_0

# Also note that it is very important to give the directory tree starting
# from the $HOME, that is, in above example starting from somedir.
# For example I did:
bash$ cd $HOME/howto/foobar
bash$ cvs import howto/foobar vendor_1_0 rev_1_0

# Another example is:
bash$ cd $HOME/javafilesdir
bash$ cvs import javafilesdir vendor_1_0 rev_1_0

# A sample testing and verification:
bash$ cd $HOME/howto/foobar
bash$ cvs checkout

TROUBLESHOOTING: When doing checkout it says module is unknown. It is a common mistake not to change directory while doing cvs import. You MUST change directory to the source-code-directory and then do cvs import. For example:

bash$ cd $HOME/somedirectory/foobardir
bash$ cvs import somedirectory/foobardir vendor_1_0 rev_1_0

3.2 Setup CVS on Client Box

On client boxes where you want to use the CVS, you should install cvs packages and ssh package (if you want to use ssh). Setup the environment variables:

bash$ export CVSROOT=""
bash$ export CVS_RSH="ssh"

The is the IP address of the remote CVS repository server and 'developer' is the user id. Another example using pserver is given below:
bash$ export
bash$ export CVS_RSH="ssh"

See also multiuser .

3.3 Migrate RCS to CVS

To migrate the existing RCS files to CVS, use the following script from downloadsoftware . Make sure that you installed the Korn shell package pdksh*.rpm from the Linux contrib cdrom.

NOTE : Get the Korn shell /bin/ksh by installing pdksh*.rpm from the Linux contrib cdrom

Now the RCS is migrated to CVS as 'project'. You can start using the CVS commands on module 'project'.

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