Installing CVS - (UNIX / Release 1.11.14)

by Jeff Hunter, Sr. Database Administrator


  1. Overview
  2. Downloading CVS
  3. Installing the CVS Software
  4. Post Installation Steps
CVS is the Concurrent Versions System, the dominant open-source network-transparent version control system. CVS is useful for everyone from individual developers to large, distributed teams:

This articles provides an overview of the steps required to download, install and configure CVS, (version 1.11.14) assuming a UNIX-like operating system. For this article, I will be using Solaris 2.8.

Downloading CVS
You can download the the source code for CVS from:
    CVS Domain Home Page:
You can also FTP the source code from
# cd /usr/local/src
# ftp
Connected to
220 Features: a p .
Name ( anonymous
230 Hi. No need to log in; I'm an anonymous ftp server.

ftp> cd pub/LATEST_STABLE

ftp> binary
200 Okay, using binary.

ftp> get cvs-1.11.14.tar.bz2
200 Okay.
150 Making transfer connection...
226 Success.
local: cvs-1.11.14.tar.bz2 remote: cvs-1.11.14.tar.bz2
2224632 bytes received in 13 seconds (170.76 Kbytes/s)
ftp> bye
221 Bye.
Here are several other CVS website that you may find useful:
    Windows version of the CVS:
    GUI front-end for CVS:
    Java client:      
Installing the CVS Software
At this point you should have the CVS source code downloaded and placed the archived file (i.e. cvs-1.11.14.tar.bz2) in /usr/local/src. When CVS is going to be installed for shared use, the installation should be done as the root user.

Unpacking CVS

Put the downloaded CVS source code archive in /usr/local/src as the root user and unpack:
# cd /usr/local/src
# bunzip2 cvs-1.11.14.tar.bz2
# tar xvf cvs-1.11.14.tar
You are now left with a directory /usr/local/src/cvs-1.11.14
Compiling CVS
The following assumes you want to install CVS in /usr/local:
# cd cvs-1.11.14
# ./configure --prefix /usr/local
# make
Installing CVS
Use the make install command to install the CVS programs and documentation:
# make install
Post Installation Steps
Starting CVSPSERVER on Solaris 10
Solaris 10 Users Only! If you are using the Solaris 10 Operating Environment, there will be a problem starting the CVSPSERVER. In Solaris 10, services are no longer managed by editing the inetd configuration file, inetd.conf. Instead, you use inetconv to convert the configuration file content into SMF format services, then manage these services using inetadm and svcadm. Once a service has been converted by inetconv, any changes to the legacy data in the inetd config file will not become effective. However, inetd does alert the administrator when it notices change in the configuration file.
cvspserver stream tcp nowait root /export/home/<user>/bin/cvs cvs --allow-root=/opt/cvsroot pserver

inetconv -i  inet.cvspserver

inetadm -e svc:/network/cvspserver/tcp:default
inetadm -l svc:/network/cvspserver/tcp:default
Thanks to "Madhusudhan M" <> for this tip.
Setting up the Password Server
If you want users to access the repository from other computers, then you will need to configure the pserver by performing the following actions as the root user:
NOTE: The '--allow-root' option specifies the allowable CVSROOT directory. Clients which attempt to use a different CVSROOT directory will not be allowed to connect. If there is more than one CVSROOT directory which you want to allow, repeat the option.

(Unfortunately, many versions of inetd have very small limits on the number of arguments and/or the total length of the command. The usual solution to this problem is to have inetd run a shell script which then invokes CVS with the necessary arguments.)

Create the CVS Owner and Group
Create a UNIX user and group that will own the CVS repository(s):
# groupadd cvsdev

# useradd -g cvsdev -m -d /usr/cvs -s /usr/bin/bash -c "CVS Owner" cvs
6 blocks

# passwd cvs
New password: *******
Re-enter new password: *******
passwd (SYSTEM): passwd successfully changed for cvs

Last modified on: Saturday, 18-Sep-2010 18:16:10 EDT
Page Count: 50838