Chapter 3. Setting Up Version Control Using CVS

An Introduction to CVS

CVS is a venerable open source version control system first released in the 1980s, one that has a long history in the open source community. Indeed, a great number of open source projects are still hosted under CVS. CVS uses a client-server architecture, with a source code repository residing on a central server. Users connect to the server to download (or “check out,” to use CVS terminology) a copy of the project source code, modify it, and then submit (or “check in”) their changes back to the repository. Several users can work simultaneously on the same file. CVS will attempt to merge the modifications of users as they check in their changes. If it cannot do so for some reason, the user has to resolve the conflict manually. And when the time comes to make a release, users can “tag” a version to be able to retrieve it reliably later on.

For some years now, CVS has been showing its age, and it has a number of deep-seated architectural flaws and missing features that make it poorly adapted to Java development projects and the more modern agile development practices in general. For example, it is very difficult to rename or move directories, which makes refactoring cumbersome and difficult. Directory structures in CVS are very rigid—once added, it is very hard to get rid of a directory in the repository. In addition, CVS was designed at a time when most applications consisted entirely of text files, so support for ...

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