Download CVS Suite (CVSNT) for Linux/Unix, Windows and Mac
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Learn about the CVSNT/EVS Project
Get the CVSNT Documentation
About the CVSNT Project
Effective Change Management is about tracking changes to files, documents, reports, source code, programs, images on your PC; at each development stage; making their evolution managable and the relationship between changes clear. CVSNT is an open source project to create change management software for commercial software developers, commercial scientists, commercial engineers etc. The emphasis is on solving problems that professionals face in commercial development: whether it be the development of reports, software, research, analysis, blueprints or whatever. CVSNT 2.x/EVS 3.x is open source, cross platform and has largely re-written every line of code in the original CVS 1.x sources. If you need to track changes to files, CVSNT is great. If you have a customized copy of CVS, then CVSNT probably has equivalent features already. If you are using some document control software that is difficult to use, you will probably find the ease of use with graphical front ends to CVSNT like TortoiseCVS a welcome change. Features include:
More detailed information about specific aspects of the project is below. Most of these answers are in response to specific questions asked of us during 2010-2011.
Free Software is not about price but about the freedoms the license grants you. Because CVS 1.x used Free Software Licenses (GPL/LGPL) we were able to make use of these freedoms to massively extend the functionality creating CVSNT 2.x: software so useful that in 2003 we counted 1.4 million downloads from our web site alone. We believe that software like CVSNT becomes more effective when it can be tailored to the requirements the organization using it. CVSNT provides many API's to allow fine grained centralized customization of the business processes, and because it is Free Software it can be tailored in ways that non-Free Software cannot be. We agreee with the Free Software Foundation that this makes it more valuable. Implementing and using Software Change and Configuration Management has a significant and measurable costs, a very small part of which is the cost of the tools. CVSNT has never been free of costs, but we keep the direct and indirect costs low, and provide many benefits including the freedoms granted via the Free Software licenses.
Project Funding.March Hare Software are the sole project sponsors and have contributed more than $1 million to the project over 7 years. In 2010 we discovered this advice published by the Free Software Foundation on their website. After implementing that advice in July 2010 the project has become self sufficient for funding.
Why must the project be funded?
Because this software is primarily used by professionals (people earning a wage from their profession), for the CVSNT project to be successful we must provide software of a high quality with support. The project costs are covered by selling the software to people who use it as part of their wage earning activities. The first release produced under this funding was 2.0.51, and was followed by 2.0.58, 2.5.01, 2.5.02, 2.5.03, 2.5.04, 2.5.05 and 2.8.01 plus EVS 3.1.01. Most people who have ever downloaded and used CVSNT are using the releases supplied by this commercial funding for a simple reason: these are the more stable and feature-rich releases.
History of funding models
The project began distributing CVSNT using the traditional method of providing complimentary downloads. However we have hundreds of features to implement that are not provided in similar software, and are limited from releasing these udpates only by the number of staff and other resources. To fund these extra resources, we provided graphical clients, tools and documentation and appeals (1, 2, 3, 4) for people to purchase this from the CVSNT development team.
Recommending but not requiring payment for CVSNT was spectacularly unsuccessful: time and again people would tell us they had spent a lot of money on graphial clients, multi-site tools, training, consulting and support from other companies, and therefore couldn't support the CVSNT project. Inevitably those other companies would stop assisting them, or stop supplying updates. The people would then come to us asking for help, which we simply couldn't afford to provide. Some pointed out that the feature they needed was not available from us when they needed it, but they were almost always incorrect, and since we are the authors of CVSNT, we could have added those features (even graphical ones) with very little cost or time. Other people complained that the cost of our tools were too high, but they had almost always failed to ask for a quote or compare prices "like for like".
We needed a clearer and simpler funding solution for the project so we held discussions with people from large and small companies using CVSNT but not contributing to the costs of development, plus checked out the advice on the Free Software Foundations web site, and finally settled on the current funding model.
Funding model summary
If you need additional features (eg: in the graphical client) please contact us, we add new features quickly. If you need a quote, please contact the sales team.
This summary applies to all releases of CVSNT including 2.0.51, 2.0.58, 2.0.62 (2004); 2.5.01, 2.5.02, 2.5.03 (2005); 2.5.04 (2006); 2.5.05 (2008); Suite 2008 (2008-2011), Suite 2009 (2009-2013) Suite 2010, 2.8.01 (2009-2014); Suite 2012, 2.8.02 (2014-); 2.6.x (2007) and 3.1.x (EVSCM). SECURITY NOTICE: For CVSNT 2.5.03; 2.5.02; 2.5.01; 2.0.58 click here
History of project sponsoring
Volunteers maintained the software from 1998 to 2004, however it became apparent in 2003 that the resources required to maintain the project and provide the stability for the software to gain wider use and distribution required full time staff. So in 2004 a project sponsor was brought on: March Hare Software to fully fund the project for 3 years including project infrastructure, wages for the development team etc and to maintain the development primarily as open source software: to add features directly into the core of the project, not as wrappers. After the initial 3 years of project funding expired in 2007, March Hare Software agreed to continue to fund the development team while they sought a permanent funding model that was still compliant with the Free Software Licenses and project goals.
You must purchase a CVS Suite license for each person who uses CVSNT. If a person uses Eclipse to access a CVSNT server, you need a license for that person (because they are executing the server); and if a person uses CVSNT client they need a license too. Licenses are per person and cover both the client and the server. You do not need to license the server and client separately.
Detailed Explanation of Licensing
The licensing of CVS Suite and CVSNT was carefully designed in consultation with many companies that use this software. Many companies complained that without this structure they were prevented from contributing to the project. The sole purpose of this licensing structure is to meet the project goals, including that the source code to business functions be open and that the development be funded.
CVSNT is used primarily on commercial distributions of operating systems. To run CVSNT on Windows you need Microsoft Windows licenses. To run CVSNT on Solaris you need Oracle Solaris licenses. To run CVSNT on Red Hat Linux you need a Red Hat Subscription. Compiling then running Free Open Source Software on these commercially licensed operating systems does not suddenly mean that you no longer need to pay for the licenses to run that operating system, or to run the Free Software on that operating system.
How this applies to CVSNT
In addition to relying on the technical API's provided by each operating system, CVSNT also requires API's and services provided by March Hare Software under commercial licenses: CVSNT High Performance Server Service and the CVS Client Proxy. Whilst all the business logic of CVSNT is contained in open source code, these techncial services are provided only under commercial licenses. The March Hare Software components are not directly linked to GPL components, they provide run time services that the CVSNT software consumes. Compiling and running your own Free Open Source copy of CVSNT does not mean that you no longer need to pay for CVS Suite.
How this relates to the GPL
The GPL/LGPL license(s) cover the CVSNT source code. Any code that is required to run the GPL code, but not linked to it, is covered by commercial licenses, which we require you to pay for. You can redistribute the CVSNT sources, or binaries, but not the commercial code, and the CVSNT code will not execute without them, just like Microsoft Office will not execute without Microsoft Windows.
Over 96% of the CVS Suite source code is licensed under Open Source/Free Software licenses. You do not need to purchase a CVS Suite license to get the source code for the Free Software components. The Free Software source code is included in the customer area downloads when you purchase CVS Suite from the online store. If you have the CVS Suite Trial Edition or another copy of CVSNT supplied without source, then we provide unwarranted and unsupported downloads of the Free Software Source Code within the product itself, eg:
Note *: The public CVS server for source code is not guarenteed to be available 24x7, is provided by a volunteer and may be withdrawn at any time. Note 2: April 2014 - the server will been unavailable for extended periods due to essential system testing and another upgrade to CVS Suite 2010. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. We are working to resolve this ASAP, please check back on or after May 23, 2014 for an update. Note 3: We have an alternative system for delivering the source code to you which is available 24x7x365 (April 3, 2013 to April 15, 2014 audited Total Uptime: 97.496%), a fee of £85 is levied which covers our costs of of physically performing source distribution by this method as provided for by the GPLv2 section 3.(b) and/or the GPLv2 section 1..
If you have the source code, you can add the required business functions or other customization and recompile it and use it with the high performance server service and cvs client proxy provided by CVS Suite. Compiling the CVSNT source code provides executables that consume services provided by the programs in CVS Suite. Compiling CVSNT source does not provide executable programs that you can run without the March Hare Software components. The March Hare Software components are not directly linked to GPL components, they provide run time services that the CVSNT software consumes.
The licensing fees are designed to be equitable, ie: a larger team should pay proportionately more than a very small team; and if you want more support (eg: a 2 hour SLA) then you pay more than someone who just wants updates and no support. The per-user licensing cost of CVS Suite is currently about 1/10th the price charged for non-Open Source competitors products with similar features. For quotes please contact the sales team or use the online store.
How can we improve?
The current licensing scheme is not perfect. A small part of the service code is not open source (as requested by customers). We cannot provide lower cost or zero-dollar licenses to students. The per named user license counting is not suitable for public facing servers. Customers with specific requirements should always contact the sales team. Discounts are available for teams of 50 or more, and teams of 500 or more may qualify for a site license. Whilst we would like to improve the licensing and appreciate any feedback, we feel we've spent far to much time on this already and now want to concentrate on using the funding to develop great software.
I licensed CVSNT some time ago, do I need a new license?
If you purchased a license from March Hare Software for CVSNT then you are licensed for the number of users specified on the invoice. If you require additional users or to update your annual software maintenance to get the latest releases then please contact our pre sales technical support team. If you purchased a subscription for 10 people and have been using it for 15, 50 or 1000 people then you are operating in breach of our subscription contract, please contact our pre sales technical support team for a quote to get your team correctly licensed. If you are using the community edition of the software for a commercial purpose (any wage earning activity) and never purchased a license or subscription then you can now purchase a license and upgrade to CVSNT 2.8 and CVS Suite 2009.
Operating Platforms and Architecture.
CVSNT runs on most popular commercial operating systems, including windows, mac and unix/linux plus AS/400. You can use CVS 1.x clients to connect to CVSNT 2.x or EVS 3.x servers, but not all advanced features will be available. You can use old SVN, WebDAV, TeamSystem or CVSNT clients to connect to EVS 3.x server, but only the features of that original client will be available. The original CVS was a monolithic software design (a single executable file) and coded in standard 'C' for ease of portability. CVSNT 2.x/EVS 3.1 uses a modular design and is written in C++ - this limits the target platforms to fairly modern ones. The current technical requirements and supported platforms are detailed on the main product pages.
Why is CVSNT in my software?
TortoiseCVS is not a version control system - it is a graphical front end to CVSNT. TortoiseCVS (and lots of other software) has always included CVSNT, but you may have only recently realised when you saw an advertisment or CVSNT popup. When you use TortoiseCVS menus and dialog boxes, that is TortoiseCVS. When TortoiseCVS 'checks out' a file or 'commits' a file - that is all work performed by CVSNT. There are many open source and commercial projects that have included CVSNT software to 'do the work' of version control. There are as many lines of code in CVSNT as there are in WinCVS, TortoiseCVS and WinMerge put together. You may be surprised to learn that CVSNT is embeded in TortoiseCVS, the authors of CVSNT are surprised that you didn't know you have been using CVSNT for years already.
CVSNT 2.8 is now shipped exclusively in CVS Suite which includes several graphical clients (CVS Suite Studio, TortoiseCVS and WinCVS) which have been tested together to ensure compatibility. If you require additional graphical features, please contact the sales team and request that it be added. The CVSNT developers can easily add graphical features provided that you are supporting the project by purchasing licenses, and March Hare Software in turn support TortoiseCVS development.
HistoryTony Hoyle started the CVSNT Project as a fork from CVS 1.10.8 in 1998. Tony was working as a programmer for a small company in northwest England and was tasked with implementing some change management for a windows software development project. Unfortunately the CVS 1.10.8 software was case sensitive and windows software development was not, so rather than have 4 versions of
Very soon people were writing to him asking for more features for professional software developers, either working on linux or windows projects. Changes included: authentication with Active Directory, secure protocols, dynamically loaded/unloaded protocols (so insecure protocols could be deleted).
One of the earliest big functional changes made was to merging. Merging codelines stored in CVS had always required a start point and an end point - either the version numbers of the individual files or tag names. However the typical process followed by a professional software developer was to merge from the last merge. So this meant that to merge frequently the programmer had to perform two tag operations then a merge using those two tag names. Tony's changes automatically tracked previous merges with a mergepoint so that the merge operation could be simplified and reduced to a single command with a single branchname.
By 2003 Tony and several regular contributors had a long list of things they wanted to improve about CVSNT, but with full-time day jobs, it was difficult enough just to keep up with simple changes, so Tony posted a message asking for a sponsor to enable the team to work on CVSNT development full-time. March Hare (a consulting company from Australia) looking to start a software company in the UK approached Tony and in July 2004 began working together adding features such as: atomic changesets, user defined change sets, plugin API, core CVSAPI/CVSTOOLS API's, HPUX and Solaris builds, AS/400 support, non-ASCII filename support, Unicode support including Unicode merge, and plugins such as the failsafe audit, checkout, e-mail and much more. Arthur Barrett as product manager also approached the CVS development team about moving the source code to a single shared repostiory, but instead the CVS team encouraged March Hare to continue with the development of CVSNT entirely separately to CVS 1.x, and to share changes and discussion between CVSNT 2.5 and CVS 1.12.
The team wanted to extend CVSNT even further and planned CVSNT 2.6 (with full directory versioning/rename) and CVSNT 3.1 (with full database backend, and true database atomicity). This proved more complex than it first appeared, and with only the funding from March Hare Software, and little other community support it was difficult - eventually the 2.6 project was abandoned and all the effort went directly into the renamed EVS 3.1 project, culminating in several beta releases starting November 2006 and the stable 3.1 release on December 31, 2008.
Further dissapointment came as the community largely ignored the 3.1 release and kept demanding upgrades to the CVSNT 2.x product. Following the tried-and-tested rule that the customer is always right the team then began improving CVSNT 2.5 with things we'd learned from building EVS 3.1, developing CVSNT 2.8 with High Performance Server but without the overheads of EVS to make it suitable for smaller teams.
CVSNT development is now centered at the March Hare offices in Sydney, Australia; QA in North America; and i5/OS and Mac OS X development in Western Europe. During 2011 the team visited many customers in North America and throughout Europe, to get feedback on the 2009 release and to plan features for forthcoming releases. The focus of our customers and therefore the CVSNT development team is on using CVSNT to version more items, by more people and integrate better with modern CM best practice.
CVS Suite 2009R2 was released in July 2011 with improved support for versioning PL/SQL triggers/procedures etc, and CVS Suite 2010 is currently being prepared for release. A major upgrade: CVS Suite 2012 is in final planning stages and is expected to be released in 2014.