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RE: CVS newbie - I want to make a new CVS installation secure...

From: Jim.Hyslop
Subject: RE: CVS newbie - I want to make a new CVS installation secure...
Date: Wed, 19 May 2004 15:16:19 -0400

Flossie wrote:
> 2) I'm suprised how much CVS docs emphasise the fact that 
> multiple users 
> can check out the same file and CVS can resolve conflicts as checkins 
> occur. However there are problems with letting users resolve 
> conflicts 
> (they can get it wrong), and I doubt a system can be 100% 
> foolproof at 
> deciding that an auto-merge is safe (in which case CVS can get it 
> wrong), although the chances of error are very small.
> There are other reasons, but basically, can I disable 
> multiple checkouts?
You can't with CVS. Nor would you want to. Sure, people can get the merge
wrong - but people can also mix up the gas pedal and the brake pedal. It
doesn't happen very often, but when it does, the results are usually quite
noticeable. Both with cars and with CVS.

I think answers to the following have already been posted, but I'll put in
my tuppence:
> 3) Can I stop the general users from performing things like code 
> branching?
You create a branch by applying a branch tag. The taginfo script is
triggered before any tags are applied. A non-zero return code will abort the

> Stop them from removing files?
commitinfo will allow you to detect if a file is about to be removed. Again,
a non-zero return code will abort the commit.

> Are there any other tips on tightening up CVS security? Not 
> security in 
> the sense of SSH, etc, but once a user is 'in', limiting what 
> they can do?
Training. You'd be surprised how effective it can be.

Jim Hyslop
Senior Software Designer
Leitch Technology International Inc. (
Columnist, C/C++ Users Journal (

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