"Peer review and collaboration have been important in
computing from the beginning. We're not so far removed from the
time when the most common distribution method was to drive card
decks or nine-track tapes from one site to another. Just
recently, though, software engineering's technical basis has made a
dramatic transition to reliance on standard configuration
management tools, and CVS in particular. You can join the party
with a few quick lessons on the rudiments of CVS."
"As its home page says, "CVS is the most popular version control
system in the free software community, used by Netscape, *BSD, many
Linux projects, and others." You know how popular it is to argue
the merits of Emacs versus those of vi, or token-ring versus
Ethernet, or SCSI versus IDE versus SAN -- pick any territorial
fight that spins your propeller. Just a couple of years ago, it
seemed equally urgent to fuss over the change models underlying RCS
(Revision Control System) and SCCS (Source Code Control System).
That battle's over now, though: CVS (which is built over RCS) won.
SCCS and pre-CVS RCS interest mostly historians. Until recently, a
fair amount of programmer overhead went into fretting about which
version control system to use, or whether to use one at all. With
standardization on CVS, all that energy has been liberated to more
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