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Getting And Installing CVS Under Windows

Unless you're truly religious about having the source code to your executable, you don't need to compile CVS from source on your Windows box. Unlike Unix, the necessary compilation tools probably do not already exist on your system, so a source build would involve first going out and getting those tools. Because such a project is beyond the scope of this book, I'll just give instructions for getting a precompiled CVS binary.

First, note that Windows binary distributions of CVS are usually made only for major releases of CVS – not for the interim releases – and are not found on the GNU FTP site. So you'll need to go to Cyclic Software's download site, where in the major version directory,, you'll see an extra subdirectory

     Index of /pub/cvs-1.10
         cvs-1.10.tar.gz        14-Aug-98 09:35   2.4M

inside of which is a ZIP file:

     Index of /pub/cvs-1.10/windows       14-Aug-98 10:10   589k

This ZIP file contains a binary distribution of CVS. Download and extract that ZIP file:

     floss$ unzip
       inflating: cvs.html
       inflating: cvs.exe
       inflating: README
       inflating: FAQ
       inflating: NEWS
       inflating: patch.exe
       inflating: win32gnu.dll

The README there contains detailed instructions. For most installations, they can be summarized as follows: Put all of the EXE and DLL files in a directory in your PATH. Additionally, if you're going to be using the pserver method to access a remote repository, you may need to put the following in your C:\AUTOEXEC.BAT file and reboot:

     set HOME=C:

This tells CVS where to store the .cvspass file.

CVS running under Windows cannot currently serve repositories to remote machines; it can be a client (connecting to remote repositories), and operate in local mode (using a repository on the same machine). For the most part, this book assumes that CVS under Windows is operating as a client. However, it shouldn't be too hard to set up a local repository under Windows after reading the Unix-oriented instructions in the rest of this chapter.

If you are only accessing remote repositories, you may not even need to run CVS. There is a tool called WinCvs that implements only the client-side portion of CVS. It is distributed separately from CVS itself but, like CVS, is freely available under the GNU General Public License. More information is available from

Karl Fogel wrote this book. Buy a printed copy via his homepage at

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