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5.0 out of 5 stars A must have, in my humble opinion
First off, I would have to say that you'll (or, at least, I did get) get the most out of this book if you read the Per Cederqvist (sp?) manual either beforehand or concurrently. This book uses more of a tutorial, heavily example-oriented approach, whereas the Cederqvist goes feature-by-feature, with small examples. And, before you gripe about the wealth of open-source...
Published on June 7 2001 by john christian

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3.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't get past the setup part
The book looks to be well written with lots of details, but I feel the first few introductory pages are insufficiently detailed which prevented me from setting things up. Specifically:
* The examples don't say whether your supposed to be in or above the working directory for various cvs commands. The reader is supposed to assume that current directory for this...
Published on Nov. 15 2003 by Benjamin Slade


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3.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't get past the setup part, Nov. 15 2003
By 
Benjamin Slade (Chevy Chase, MD USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Open Source Development with CVS (Paperback)
The book looks to be well written with lots of details, but I feel the first few introductory pages are insufficiently detailed which prevented me from setting things up. Specifically:
* The examples don't say whether your supposed to be in or above the working directory for various cvs commands. The reader is supposed to assume that current directory for this example is the same place as the current directory at the end of the previous example, but nothing says that. (it's obvious once you know).
* The overview chapter only talks about importing a whole directory tree. It's not clear how to add a directory or a file to an already imported directory tree. Actually, it's explained 20 pages later, but I didn't find that for a while.
* I made a mistake and imported a working dir subdirectory as a top level directory in the central cvs repository. There's no quick overview commands for removing setup mistakes. (Actually, that's shown about 30 pages after the overview). The book doesn't say that importing a subdirectory if you're in the subdirectory, makes it a top level directory in the CVS repository.
I'm sure once I understand what's going on, it'll be obvious. But to do my basic directory setup, and cleanup from a mistake, I had to wade through all sorts of "once it's working" text to find what I wanted.
Also, in the Removing Directories section, he keeps referring to directories without saying whether he's referring to directories in the user tree or under the CVS repository tree.
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4.0 out of 5 stars excellent, invaluable, not enough about permissions, Aug. 20 2001
By 
Robert Nagle "idiotprogrammer (idiotprogramme... (Houston, TX United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Open Source Development with CVS Karl Fogel
Here is a chatty discussion of CVS and how to use it. The best thing about the book is that he spends a lot of time discussing his examples. That helps you to understand the output. I also found the troubeshooting section to be more than adequate, and a discussion of pcl-cvs (the plugin to emacs) to be a nice and helpful addition.
Fogel wrote some chapters about open source development. Call them filler or distractions, still it gives insight about how version control management contributes to open source. . The book has an appendix of descriptions of each command and at times Fogel urges the reader to refer to the Cederqvist manual. I actually appreciated that because it allowed Fogel to write about the things not already found in the online manual.
One quibble was with the organization of the book. To learn how to setup CVS from scratch, you need to start by reading chapter 4 (Admin), and then go back and reread chapter 2 (An overview). Maybe a briefer overview would have been better and an explanation of the functions in succeeding chapters.
The chattiness of the chapters (which is a good thing) often made it hard to find the user commands. Perhaps user input could have been highlighted in some way. Also, the discussion of file permissions was simply inadequate. Indeed, chapter 4 contained an error related to permissions on page 112 (what does "+R" mean? ) and didn't discuss sticky bits for group ownership. This was significant, because I couldn't proceed with learning CVS until I could figure out those permissions.
In short: an excellent, invaluable book, but you should consult the Cederqvist manual for the section of file permissions.
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4.0 out of 5 stars excellent, invaluable, not enough about permissions, Aug. 20 2001
By 
Robert Nagle "idiotprogrammer (idiotprogramme... (Houston, TX United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Open Source Development with CVS Karl Fogel
Here is a chatty discussion of CVS and how to use it. The best thing about the book is that he spends a lot of time discussing his examples. That helps you to understand the output. I also found the troubeshooting section to be more than adequate, and a discussion of pcl-cvs (the plugin to emacs) to be a nice and helpful addition.
Fogel wrote some chapters about open source development. Call them filler or distractions, still it gives insight about how version control management contributes to open source. . The book has an appendix of descriptions of each command and at times Fogel urges the reader to refer to the Cederqvist manual. I actually appreciated that because it allowed Fogel to write about the things not already found in the online manual.
One quibble was with the organization of the book. To learn how to setup CVS from scratch, you need to start by reading chapter 4 (Admin), and then go back and reread chapter 2 (An overview). Maybe a briefer overview would have been better and an explanation of the functions in succeeding chapters.
The chattiness of the chapters (which is a good thing) often made it hard to find the user commands. Perhaps user input could have been highlighted in some way. Also, the discussion of file permissions was simply inadequate. Indeed, chapter 4 contained an error related to permissions on page 112 (what does "+R" mean? ) and didn't discuss sticky bits for group ownership. This was significant, because I couldn't proceed with learning CVS until I could figure out those permissions.
In short: an excellent, invaluable book, but you should consult the Cederqvist manual for the section of file permissions.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must have, in my humble opinion, June 7 2001
By 
john christian (fremont, CA United States) - See all my reviews
First off, I would have to say that you'll (or, at least, I did get) get the most out of this book if you read the Per Cederqvist (sp?) manual either beforehand or concurrently. This book uses more of a tutorial, heavily example-oriented approach, whereas the Cederqvist goes feature-by-feature, with small examples. And, before you gripe about the wealth of open-source info in this book, remember that CVS was originally created (at least so I've heard, don't quote me word for word here) to facilite decentralized open-source development. So, that considered, it is infact not at all out of place in this book, and in my case, just as interesting as the rest of the book. I'm a novice config mgr, and I've only been using unix, and more specifically GNU/Linux software for under a year now, but as my skills progress, I'll definately get more involved in the free software movement.
This book in some ways, starts where the Cederqvist leaves off, providing a much needed (for me), and much higher-level exposition of CVS's key features. For example, I didn't really get the 'update -j' semantics until I read this book. Not long afterward, I was writing a lengthy script to automate branch merges, and efter re-reading this book, I found out that you could, infact pass -j to checkout as well, and took a good 40% off of the overhead of my script. CVS wrappers such as log.pl and others are nicely described here as well. True, this book doesn't make the perfect reference, but I've found myself many-a-time frantically flipping through its pages to find out why something I'm doing Isn't working!
But, this book may soon become obsolete, by its author no less. Karl Fogel is part of a development team working on a much desired replacement for cvs. There should be more details at 'subversion.tigris.org' (check out the rest of tigris.org while you're at it)... I'm not sure what state it's in right now, but several months ago I tried checking out the sources to it on a i586 Linux box (i think the sources are covered by the apache license), and was unfortunately not able to build it (oversight on my part?). But, it's up there, for anyone who wants it, and by now it's probably a lot better than when I tried it. Can't wait for the full release :)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not only technical, but also community info..., Feb. 27 2001
By 
John P. Hoke "Random Non-Sequitors" (North East Pennsylvania) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I found this book a joy to read. Before ordering this book, I had read the GPL'd chapters online and found them to be quite good so I wanted to support the author with my wallet. I figgured the rest would be the regular pomp about Open Source that we are seeing alot of lately, but I could not have been more incorrect! The author not only knows his technical details about the CVS system, he fully groks the Open Source movement, personalities and community.
The author alternates chapters between community issues (ethics, forking, project maintenance and administration, as well as "people skills") and the technical nuts and bolts of running a CVS server and/or using a CVS client.
While the title touts the Open Source movement, CVS is just as at home in a closed environment, say a web development team, inhouse application development, or anywhere else that you need to track text based files. Mr. Fogel does a good job of showing run of the mill examples and code, as well as some more esoteric uses of CVS commands and utilities.
If you are doing any sort of development and are investigating content version control software this book (and application) are for you.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Some good info, but definitely lacking as well..., Sept. 24 2000
By A Customer
So, I bought a copy of this thinking, "Finally, a book on CVS!"... Well, it is that, but it's also lacking. It does provide a very usable intro to CVS, but it lacks a lot of the depth that I had hoped for -- for example, there's not much talk about (or if there is and I missed it, then it's not well referenced in the TOC or Index) doing administrative things with the files in the CVSROOT, or those sorts of things. I haven't read the book cover to cover, and maybe I ought to (at least try) before reviewing it, but it got so many 5's that I wanted to make sure I got another opinion out. Another place where I found it to be lacking was in description of style choices. E.g. why it matters whether you use import versus add, or how to lay out directories, or those sorts of things. Anyway, I'm sure I could be a fair bit more clear on my complaints if I'd read more of the book, and more recently, but frankly, from what parts I did read, it's now been sitting on my bookshelf mostly untouched for a while.
I do think the book has some merit, and I believe the potential is there for a great second or third edition, but definitely read it with some amount of caution for now, and try to find other references (such as the postscript document that comes with CVS) as well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Nicely done - well worth it., Sept. 5 2000
By A Customer
I wish I had bought this book a couple of weeks earlier than I did. I was confronted with the task of periodically merging the main trunk onto a branch, and having little CVS experience, I was really struggling. After hours of trial and error on my home Linux system, I more or less got the idea of how it works. However, this book cleared up a couple of mysteries relating to date formats, and also revealed a very cool way to use the diff command (try the -c option). It reveals some alternative ways for for reverting to previous versions; and the explanation of the CVS archive structure is edifying. All in all a very informative read.
CVS's main flaw is it is cryptic and initally not very easy to understand. Once you get the concept down, though, it gets easier. This book very much eases the transition from the initial mystified period to the point where you have a clue. Note: the technical sections are free on the web. I like to have the book, though because it's there for easy reference and I can read it on the train, or at home, etc.
I can't recommend this book highly enough.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Nicely done - well worth it., Sept. 5 2000
By A Customer
I wish I had bought this book a couple of weeks earlier than I did. I was confronted with the task of periodically merging the main trunk onto a branch, and having little CVS experience, I was really struggling. After hours of trial and error on my home Linux system, I more or less got the idea of how it works. However, this book cleared up a couple of mysteries relating to date formats, and also revealed a very cool way to use the diff command (try the -c option). It reveals some alternative ways for for reverting to previous versions; and the explanation of the CVS archive structure is edifying. All in all a very informative read.
CVS's main flaw is it is cryptic and initally not very easy to understand. Once you get the concept down, though, it gets easier. This book very much eases the transition from the initial mystified period to the point where you have a clue. Note: the technical sections are free on the web. I like to have the book, though because it's there for easy reference and I can read it on the train, or at home, etc.
I can't recommend this book highly enough.
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5.0 out of 5 stars CVS, Nov. 8 1999
By 
Greg B. Gallagher (Chicago, Illinois (USA)) - See all my reviews
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I've been bugging Karl with both simple and complex CVS questions for as long as I can remember; I guess I annoyed him enough that he wrote a book just to shut me up! Here at last is a great place to get the answers to all my CVS needs. CVS is complex enough that it deserves a close inspection and detailed examples and explanations. Karl seems to have pulled it all off; this book is well organized and will easily be an essential reference and definitive guide to programmers and managers alike who use revision control in any project, Open Source or not. One of the biggest selling points of this book is that it not only covers CVS but it also examines software development from a design and organization standpoint. It will explain why CVS is such a power tool for seeing a project through, from development to releases (and everything inbetween). It also covers using CVS as a revision control tool for web sites and documents. It is nicely organized, easy to read and follow. You should check this book out for whatever role you play in a company which deals with home-grown source code or documents. If you're a CVS admin, developer or project manager: Get this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensible, May 5 2001
By 
Collin Starkweather (Boulder, Colorado USA) - See all my reviews
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This book has 2 aims:
1) To give you all of the knowledge you need to use and administer CVS, and
2) To provide you with insight on the Open Source movement and management of an Open Source project
On both accounts, Kurt does a top-notch job. His explanations for (1) were detailed, provided command-line input and output to leave no question as to what's supposed to happen, and the language was familiar and easy to read. It is thus far a head above any other book on CVS I've found. His thoughts on (2) obviously showed a strong familiarity with Open Source combined with a realistic and analytical view that I would liken to combining parts of The Cathedral and the Bazaar with an instruction manual.
I highly recommend it. I'd buy it again if I didn't already own it ;-)
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Open Source Development with CVS
Open Source Development with CVS by Karl Fogel (Paperback - July 1 2003)
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