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RE: CVS future!

From: Arthur Barrett
Subject: RE: CVS future!
Date: Sat, 19 Jan 2008 09:08:03 +1100


> we are talking about. Maybe it is not dead, but development 
> has lost a lot of steam...

Not really - I used to think that too.  But after meeting face to face
with some of the core CVS team I began to realise that it's just that
they (and a lot of the users too) want CVS to do 'specific things' and
adding what I would consider an essential feature of a version control
system to many others is just off topic.  The CVS charter encourages
this by allowing any one of the dev team to veto a change - this helps
keep the project pure to it's original intent.

This has spawned various other CVS deriratives like OpenCVS, CVSNT, DCVS
and SVN - each of which are similar but different.  

> One of the main problem today is that version 1.11 lacks a lot of 
> necessary features, like support for pam, but it is the official 
> version, so a lot of clients (IntelliJ, Eclipse) do not implement a 
> version that works well with the newer 1.12 versions (because of the 
> change in date format).
> Also, the newer version control systems tend to do merging 
> better (CVS 
> does not know about merged version, you have to keep track of that 
> through tag names), support unicode as text, and some keep track of 
> revision at the directories.

If these are important to you then I encourage you to try CVSNT for
linux/unix/windows/etc on a 'test' box with your existing repository.
CVSNT works fine with Eclipse clients - but you need to enable the
'compatibility options' in the server settings.  It supports PAM, rename
(directory revisions), mergepoints/merge tracking, unicode files and
filenames and more such as failsafe auditing, changesets, commit ids and

I personally find CVSNT suits my requirements best since it uses the
same RCS backend format and is very nearly identical in syntax and
behaviour to CVS except where there are new features.  There are, for
better or for worse, some 'minor' incompatibilities - mostly between the
cygwin windows version and the native windows version - the other
incompatibilities are either things the CVSNT dev team say are security
fixes or bug fixes - eg: only administrators can run 'cvs admin'
commands, and if you ask for GUI-VCL/release.txt you get
GUI-VCL/release.txt not ./release.txt.

I keep an eye on the info-CVS newsgroup to help where I can see an
obvious user error, but also to track what 'features' cvs users are
looking for that are not (and maybe will never be) in the CVS 1.x
product (and also because a lot of CVSNT/WinCVS/TortoiseCVS users post
here by mistake).

If you do not want to switch to CVSNT then I suggest you either code or
advocate to have the compatibility bugs in 1.12 fixed (if we can get
CVSNT working with Eclipse by creating a 'compatibility mode' then
someone can do the same for CVS 1.12) or to have the features you need
ported to CVS 1.11.  At the end of the day CVS and CVSNT are open source
projects and you can make these changes yourself.


Arthur Barrett

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