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
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  • NateS - Sunday, April 17, 2005 - link

    There's a new SCM/version control software from ionForge called Evolution. It gives you easy, encrypted connectivity for collaborating over the web. It's quick to install and relatively intuitive to use. Single-user licenses are free at the ionForge website and multi-user licenses are $550 per license, which is less than comparable alternatives. Reply
  • NateS - Sunday, April 17, 2005 - link

    There's a new SCM/version control software from ionForge called Evolution. It gives you easy, encrypted connectivity for collaborating over the web. It's quick to install and relatively intuitive to use. Single-user licenses are free at the ionForge website and multi-user licenses are $550 per license, which is less than comparable alternatives. Reply
  • DonPMitchell - Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - link

    I'd stay away from CVS, its pretty lame old UNIX software from way back. Perforce is the best you can find, used on some huge professional projects. And if you can get a free version for small projects, then that's perfect. Reply
  • jayoung - Tuesday, January 04, 2005 - link

    I'm having a tremendous headache setting it up. Here's the error I recieve:


    Followed the instructions up to the part where you create a new module
    and I keep getting the same error.

    In C:\DOCUME~1\Joseph\LOCALS~1\Temp\TortoiseCVS make new module temp\:
    "C:\Program Files\TortoiseCVS\cvs.exe" "-q" "-x" "import" "-m" ""
    "testmod" "tcvs-vendor" "tcvs-release"
    CVSROOT=:sspi:Joseph@localhost:2401/cvsroot

    cvs [server aborted]: can't create temporary directory
    C:\temp\cvstemp/cvs-serv2304: Permission denied

    Error, CVS operation failed
    Reply
  • Pauli - Tuesday, January 04, 2005 - link

    Foxbat121-
    My company has a very large Clearcase installation (400+ developers) with most clients being Windows machines and we are generally pleased with the features and performance. Of course, the first couple of years were hell. The last 3 or 4 years have been trouble free for the most part. I've been using it daily for more that 5 years now and have never experienced a license server problem.
    Reply
  • Foxbat121 - Tuesday, January 04, 2005 - link

    My Company spent near a million $$ upgraded to ClearCase a few years back. It's a biggest waste of money and bottle neck on productivity. Yes, it does have extensive administrative tools and features. That's why managers all love ClearCase because they are the ones who don't have to write a single line of code. For software engineers, we have to spend half of the day just to synchronize every one's work. Spend probably one hour to make code changes and spend rest of the day try to deliver that code change to the CC so every one else could get the changes next day. It's slow and buggy as hell.

    Yes, it does have Windows Explorer integration. However, if the license server is down for whatever reason, your Explorer (and every one else with CC installed) will have 2-minute delay every time you try to bring up the context menu even though you're not using any of the CC features.

    Reply
  • Bookie - Monday, January 03, 2005 - link

    you can count me in for another vote for Subversion. My company uses VSS and I agree with everyone else, it sucks. I personally use Subversion for my own stuff and I'm working on convincing my company to swtich. I'd like to see Anandtech make the switch and spread the news. Reply
  • neogodless - Thursday, December 30, 2004 - link

    I got it to work with NO username after some experimentation, but it didn't match the example in the "tutorial". Thanks for the help, anyway! Reply
  • Jason Clark - Thursday, December 30, 2004 - link

    neogodless, if you have difficulties with SSPI, try pserver, it will still auth against the NT user database. SSPI should work though.

    Cheers
    Reply
  • Sokaku - Thursday, December 30, 2004 - link

    I've used Source Safe, PVCS, CVS, Subversion & ClearCase.

    The strongest of these products is without a doubt Rational ClearCase. But as other mentioned, its also by far the most expensive on all fronts (administration, support, hardware, price).

    ClearCase is integrated into explorer with its view architecture (defining views is not trivial and can cause alot of headackes).

    Subversion is also directly supported by simple integration (tigris) of the explorer. However using the recommended way of handling branches, its very logical and straightforward to use.

    As a pricy consultant I would recommend ClearCase for any big companies with alot of cash.

    As a person with a love for programming, I would recommend subversion to anyone else.

    I would in no way ever spend time on CVS, PVCS or Source Safe ever again.
    Reply

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