This section describes some basic CVS operations, then follows with a sample session covering typical CVS usage. As the guided tour progresses, we'll also start to look at how CVS works internally.
Although you don't need to understand every last detail of CVS's implementation to use it, a basic knowledge of how it works is invaluable in choosing the best way to achieve a given result. CVS is more like a bicycle than an automobile, in the sense that its mechanisms are entirely transparent to anyone who cares to look. As with a bicycle, you can just hop on and start riding immediately. However, if you take a few moments to study how the gears work, you'll be able to ride it much more efficiently. (In the case of CVS, I'm not sure whether transparency was a deliberate design decision or an accident, but it does seem to be a property shared by many free programs. Externally visible implementations have the advantage of encouraging the users to become contributing developers by exposing them to the system's inner workings right from the start.)
Each part of the tour may make use of knowledge introduced in previous parts. Therefore, if this is your first time, I recommend that you simply start at the beginning and take the tour sequentially, without skipping over anything. The menu below is merely meant as a convenience for repeat visitors – you shouldn't use it to jump directly to a section that interests you unless you're already familiar with the material in the previous sections.