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This is a copy of this page that I inteneded to modify based on my own experiences with SVN rather than CVS..
This post is dedicated to the .NET head who’s grown up on Visual Source Safe and suddenly finds himself (or herself) in the midst of an open source project hosted by SourceForge. CVS is very different from the check-out, check-in pessimistic locking approach taken by VSS. I hope to demistify it just a bit so you can start hacking away at the numerous .NET based open source projects hosted on SourceForge.
Before we begin, please download the following tools.
The next step is to run PuTTYGen to generate your SSH keys.
The point of this process is so that you don’t have to enter your password for every single CVS file operation. In order to do that, CVS needs a copy of your public SSH key. To do that, make sure you are logged in and...
There is a delay before your keys are fully posted, so be patient.
Now is where Pageant gets involved. Pageant is a little service that runs in your system tray. It’s primary purpose is to provide authentication into SSH. It holds your private keys in memory, already decoded, so you can use them without having to enter your passphrase all the time. Instead, you enter your passphrase once when you start pageant.
At this point, you are all set to get going.
Note that you only have to checkout a module once. Afterwards you can run the update command to get changes committed by other developers. It’s a good idea to do this before and after you make any changes.
After you’ve changed some files, their icons be marked with an orange arrow. To commit your changes, right click and select the Commit command. Please make sure to enter an informative comment.
To commit multiple changes, right click on the root folder and select Commit. You’llget a list of all changed files. You can check the ones you wish to commit and commit them in bulk.
If you add a new file to the project, you’ll need to add it to CVS and THEN commit it. To add a file, simply right click on it and select “CVS Add“.
TortoiseCVS is not integrated with Visual Studio.NET. Thus it doesn’t know that there are some files you do not want to add to CVS such as *.suo, * and maybe the “bin“ and “obj“ folders. To ignore folders, simply right click on them and select “CVS Ignore“. This will create a .cvsignore file in the directory. It’s probably not a bad idea to add this to the repository so that others don’t accidentally add “ignored“ files.
You can also set ignored files using file patterns within TortoiseCVS’s preferences dialog. Right click on any file and select “CVS“ -> “Preferences“. Under the “Ignored Files“ tab, enter file patters such as *.user.
If you do not have developer access, you can still submit patches to a project. In most SourceForge project sites, there is a “Patch“ section where patches can be submitted. In order to learn how to submit and apply patches, read the following article “Using a Windows version of GNU Patch.exe with CVS and Diff Files“.
I hope this gets you on your feet when joining an open source project in SourceForge. If you find any errors, omissions, and such, please let me know so I can correct it.