Every project, whether it's developing a software application or just about any other computer related task that generates files, needs some level of organization. How often have you been working on a development project and needed to get at a piece of code that was written at a certain time on a certain day? Could you build a version of your application that is 6 months old? Can you get the differences between versions of a piece of code? If you answer "no" to any of these questions, read on. We're going to show you how to solve these problems without spending a dime.

Version control software has been around for quite some time. CVS (Concurrent versions system) has been around since 1986 and is open source software, licensed under the GNU license agreement. CVS was based originally on UNIX shell scripts and over the years, it has matured into a production-ready application that manages a large number of software projects all over the world. Although CVS is used typically to manage projects that contain source code, it can be used to manage just about any file that you want. CVS accepts files in either binary or text format, so you can manage just about any type of file out there.

Although CVS has been predominantly a tool used by the UNIX world, there is a windows port that is quite mature. CVSNT started off as a port of CVS v1.10 in 1998 and then 1.11 to Windows. The project blossomed from there and now runs on just about every major development platform out there: Windows NT/2000/XP/2003, Mac OS X v10.2.6-10.3.x, RedHat, Sun Solaris, and HPUX. AnandTech has been using CVSNT on Windows 2000 for quite some time, to manage our source code, and it has been rock solid since day one.

Installation and Configuration
POST A COMMENT

33 Comments

View All Comments

  • ncage - Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - link

    ooops looks like i didn't read far enough..there are plugins for the ide. I will have to use it to see if the integration is as nice as it is with sourcesafe. Reply
  • ncage - Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - link

    Least you guys aren't still using source safe ;). SourceSafe really sucks...its the access DB of the version control world. At work we have had so much trouble with sourcesafe corruption. We have the sourcesafe analyze utility running every night but if there is on developer that leaves sourcesafe open or VB6 with the sourcesafe add-in..the analyze will fail. The only thing nice about source safe is the IDE integration..you would have to build this for the free alternatives (if not already available) which would suck. Anyways, btw, i have used starteam and it ROCKS but very expensive.
    Reply
  • Stefpet - Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - link

    SVN does not require Apache if you use svnserve. If you use svnserve you simply run it as a service similar to CVSNT. Reply
  • Jason Clark - Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - link

    One drawback to Subversion is the Apache dependancy. There is no IIS support, at least last time I looked. It requires Apache or you have to setup a Synserve for remote access. From the time I spent with Subversion, CVSNT was much easier to setup and get going quickly.

    Just an FYI.
    Reply
  • Jason Clark - Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - link

    I've listed some of the other free alternatives, and some commercial alternatives.

    Yes, CVS lacks in some areas, but for the average user CVS is more than sufficient.
    Reply
  • Damien - Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - link

    CVS has many well known problems and is missing some key features. Being able to rename files/directories in Subversion and recording that name change as part of the file history is amazingly useful.

    Perforce is good from the ease-of-use angle, but it is expensive for more than two people. For that reason I moved to Subversion at work, having previously used both Perforce and CVSNT for several months previously.
    Reply
  • Jason Clark - Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - link

    CVS is still very widely used and works very well. Subversion is one of many alternatives, we discussed CVS. Subversions commands are very similar to CVS, so if you get your feet wet with CVS, Subversion should be a piece of cake. Reply
  • Stefpet - Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - link

    I would also like to recommend Subversion (http://subversion.tigris.org/) instead of CVSNT. There is also a TortoiseSVN so you may use SVN exactly as described in this article.

    Perforce is also perfect if you need a good and easy to setup system for handle your own source-code. However, if you need more than 2 users than prepare to shell out loads of cash.
    Reply
  • lysinewf - Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - link

    Perforce! it's free for 2 users. Reply
  • Souka - Tuesday, December 28, 2004 - link

    Subversion? Do share......


    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now