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RE: CVSNT versus CVS

From: Arthur Barrett
Subject: RE: CVSNT versus CVS
Date: Thu, 10 Jul 2008 09:28:34 +1000

Vinod Damaraju,

> I have been involved in converting our source 
> code repository in Visual Source Safe (VSS) 
> to CVS <snip>

Note1: it is not possible to convert from any SCM to any other - you can
extract the information from one SCM tool and import it into another,
but since each SCM tool has features specific to them it is not really a
'conversion' - more a 'porting'.

Note2: CVSNT (GPL/Free like CVS and runs on Unix/Linux/Mac etc) has some
features that more closely resemble VSS features (eg: files can be added
as either "concurrent" or as "reserved").

Note3: The company that is the primary contributor to CVSNT (which I
work for) also provide a Visual Studio Integration component for CVSNT
for a small charge - see

> Apart from this what other changes are there 
> in the ",v" file format between CVSNT and CVS?

As Larry already pointed out - a simple explanation is that CVSNT RCS
files are not compatible with CVS (however CVSNT can read CVS RCS files
and converts them dynamically to CVSNT RCS files).  In fact CVS and
CVSNT both use the RCS specification for these files which allows for
each application to expand the use of the format - what is happening
with CVS is that it is doing its best to ignore the parts of the RCS
file that it does not use and the result is (generally) that it doesn't

CVSNT uses these extra attibutes to do things like binary deltas,
rename, change sets (what SVN calls atomic commits), bug tracking (user
defined changesets), merge tracking etc etc.

There is a separate newsgroup for CVSNT - if you have CVSNT specific
questions  please ask on the CVSNT newsgroup.


Arthur Barrett

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