First developed in 1986, CVS (short for Concurrent Versions System) is a software solution that helps software developers keep track of all of the changes made to a program's source code. By using a CVS solution, a company can have several developers working on the same project without fear of overwriting each others' work or losing any changes. CVS also gives them the ability to view and revert to older versions, in case changes made caused conflicts.
CVS was last updated in 2008. While still used for smaller projects, CVS lacks many features of modern revision control that are crucial for large-scale professional software development. Variants of CVS include CVSNT support case-insensitive file names, and OpenCVS, which uses stronger security methods.
- See our revision control page for a full listing of alternative modern revision control solutions.
How does it work?
CVS works by having a primary server or computer keep track of changes made when clients commit their changes to the server, rather than keeping multiple copies of the source code. When a client submits its data, if no conflicts exist with the server version and the client version, the two versions are merged. However, if conflicts exist before submitting the changes, the CVS program displays the conflicts for it to be changed or adjusted accordingly, so no conflicts occur after the merge.