Introduction to the IFIC Central CVS Service



  1. Why
  2. CVS is the Concurrent Versions System, one of the dominants open-source network-transparent version control systems. CVS is useful for everyone from individual developers to large, distributed teams. Its main features are:

    • Its client-server access method lets developers access the latest code from anywhere there's an Internet connection,
    • Its unreserved check-out model to version control avoids artificial conflicts common in the exclusive check-out model,
    • Its client tools are available on most platforms.

    CVS has been developed and used during more than a decade both inside and outside CERN. It is clear that many projects at IFIC need a CVS service. Therefore, and to prevent a wide spread of small CVS servers all around IFIC, a central one has been created.


    The Central CVS service is meant to host CVS repositories for any project at IFIC. Projects currently running their own CVS service are invited (and helped...but never forced) to migrate to the central CVS service.

  3. What does the Central CVS Service offer?
  4. The IFIC Central CVS Service currently offers:

    • secure and robust CVS service with up-to-date server software,
    • data integrity and daily backups,
    • secure access method: Kerberos V,
    • service support (but a project librarian is expected to give support of CVS usage itself),
    • good performance,
    • a webinterface: ViewVC.

  5. What the Central CVS Service is NOT
  6. The central CVS service inherits the limitations of CVS itself:

    • It is not a build system - it does not dictate how to build anything,
    • It is not a substitute for management - managers and project leaders have to do their job,
    • It is not a substitute for developer communication,
    • It is not an automated testing program, etc.

    Moreover, and due to the fact that this is a service run on very limited resources, the central CVS service:

    • Does not offer general CVS support (this is meant to be provided by the responsible librarian of each project).
    • Does not offer support for any CVS client (WinCVS, TortoiseCVS, Eclipse or others).
    • Does not administer each of the CVS repositories (again this is the task of the responsible librarian of each project).


Current Configuration

The Central CVS Service runs under a machine with Scientific Linux IFIC and the repositories reside in a distributed file system. This provides scalability. AFS is used as network file system. This allows to serve a large number of repositories with reasonable performance.


The content of each repository is backed up once a day (this is guaranteed by the distributed file system which holds its data).

Who can use the CVS central service?

Only people with an AFS account can use central CVS services. To have an account, please contact the secretariat of IFIC

Account deletion affects the concerned user since he/she can no longer access the CVS services. On the other hand, the data in CVS created by that user stays there and it is still accessible to all other CVS users. The history related to that user also stays.