Concurrent Versions System

What Does Concurrent Versions System Mean?

Concurrent versions system (CVS) is an open-source software configuration management utility designed to manage different versions of the same software project in a specialized repository.


Each and every independent software module is developed and constantly upgraded for performance as developers discover new and effective means to improve the efficiency of the software module. CVS manages different versions of the module so that if a future version encounters some defects, a past version can be referenced and used.

Techopedia Explains Concurrent Versions System

Software developers need to maintain a lot of documents associated with a software project. The process of efficiently managing so many resources is a cumbersome task. Often, a module may be superseded by an improved version, which may have a more effective algorithm or less dependency on other modules. If the advanced module is unsuccessful, the developer needs to switch back to the old module. Hence, parallel management of both modules is essential. This feature can be accomplished by a repository or a special type of database that can store software-related data. However, it has to track the changes made by each developer and resolve conflicts when several developers are working on the same project.

CVS manages consistency among different files using three concepts. File locking is used to ensure that the file is modified by one person at a time. The same file modified by different people can be monitored using the watch command. The CVS ensures appropriate policies to combat conflicts among files modified by the same developer. It supports an option to include the modified versions in the same file by using appropriate delimiters. CVS offers security by using password authentication or Kerberos with generic security services application program interface protocol. Finally, all changes made successfully can be saved using the commit command from the command line interface.


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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…