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2. The Repository

The CVS repository stores a complete copy of all the files and directories which are under version control.

Normally, you never access any of the files in the repository directly. Instead, you use CVS commands to get your own copy of the files into a working directory, and then work on that copy. When you've finished a set of changes, you check (or commit) them back into the repository. The repository then contains the changes which you have made, as well as recording exactly what you changed, when you changed it, and other such information. Note that the repository is not a subdirectory of the working directory, or vice versa; they should be in separate locations.

CVS can access a repository by a variety of means. It might be on the local computer, or it might be on a computer across the room or across the world. To distinguish various ways to access a repository, the repository name can start with an access method. For example, the access method :local: means to access a repository directory, so the repository :local:/usr/local/cvsroot means that the repository is in ‘/usr/local/cvsroot’ on the computer running CVS. For information on other access methods, see Remote repositories.

If the access method is omitted, then if the repository starts with ‘/’, then :local: is assumed. If it does not start with ‘/’ then either :ext: or :server: is assumed. For example, if you have a local repository in ‘/usr/local/cvsroot’, you can use /usr/local/cvsroot instead of :local:/usr/local/cvsroot. But if (under Windows NT, for example) your local repository is ‘c:\src\cvsroot’, then you must specify the access method, as in :local:c:/src/cvsroot.

The repository is split in two parts. ‘$CVSROOT/CVSROOT’ contains administrative files for CVS. The other directories contain the actual user-defined modules.


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