Skip to content   CVS Version Control  |  Other Software  |  All Downloads  |  Buy Online  |  Get Support Now  |  Documentation Library   
Skip to content
Skip to content  march-hare.com Logo Skip to content
 
Last Modified: Thursday, May 5, 2005 Home > CVS > Frequently Asked Questions 
Top Questions

Here are links answers to our most commonly asked questions.
  » Where can I find old versions ?
  » Where is the open source project ?
  » How do I use CVSNT ?

What is CVSNT?

CVSNT is software used to keep a track of changes to files stored on a computer

This is the function at the heart of all Source Code Management,Document Management and Configuration Management Systems.

CVSNT Professional includes additional tools to assist with deploying files to test and production environments, tracking who or what processes initiated the changes and much more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Answers Available:
  » What is the CVSNT license?
  » What is the CVS Suite License?
  » Are discounts available on support for Educational Institutions?
  » Why did March Hare Software begin charging for CVSNT?
  » Other Free Software (including MySQL and SVN) charge too
  » Why is SCCM with zero-dollar price tag a good thing?
  » Why is zero-dollar price tag bad for CVSNT?
  » Why dont CVSNT accept donations?
  » Why does March Hare charge for CVS Suite?
  » Where is CVSNT for iSeries?
  » Can I integrate CVSNT with some other software
  » Why do March Hare collect so much information when I download CVSNT?
  » Are the commercial releases of CVS Suite the same as the free CVSNT?
  » Low Performance CVSNT versus High Performance CVS Suite
  » How much of the code is Free/Open Source
  » Return to section list

What is the CVSNT license?


CVSNT is Open Source, Free software licensed under the GNU General Public License Version 2 (GPLv2). More information about the GPL is here:
GNU General Public License, version 2

What is the CVS Suite License?


To correctly license your CVSNT and CVS Suite server and/or client software you should purchase CVS Suite for each PERSON who uses CVS Suite or who uses ANY OTHER CLIENT (eg: Eclipse, SQL Navigator) to connect to CVSNT or CVS Suite Server.

The CVS Suite License is available here:
http://march-hare.com/pdf/suite-license.pdf

100% of the business logic in CVS Suite is Free Open Source Software. 95% of total lines of code is licensed under Free Software licenses and the remaining 5% is licensed under a commercial license. It is NOT POSSIBLE to operate CVSNT SERVER without licensing the commercial code.

The CVSNT Community Edition with the Low Performance Server Service that was made of code that was 100% licensed under GPL/LGPL has been retired but is still available for purchase online for use by hobbyists (Note: The CVSNT Community Edition with the Low Performance Server has many known bugs and is not suitable for use in a commercial software devlopment team).

We meet our obligations under the GPLv2 Section 3 by supplying a public CVS Server - this is accessible by using CVS Suite Studio or via a command similar to this:
cvs -d :pserver:cvs:@cvs.cvsnt.org:/cvsnt co -r CVSNT_2_0_x cvsnt

Note 1: 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: since 95% of CVS Suite is licensed under the GPLv2 you are able to modify 100% of the business logic, but you will still require a commercial license to run the software. The 5% of CVS Suite 2009 that is commercially licensed is required at run time (eg: the server management process) and the source code for this is not licensed under the GPL.
Note 3 - if you are having difficulty accessing the server please contact our pre-sales technical support team via sales@march-hare.com

Are discounts available on support for Educational Institutions?


Discounts on Professional Support are available for government registered educational institutions in Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and USA. Contact sales for a quote.

Why did March Hare Software begin charging for CVSNT?


CVSNT is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL) and is commonly referred to as Free Software as defined by the Free Software Foundation.

As of June 30, 2009 the Free Software Foundation have advised that we should charge as much as we wish or can because by funding development, we can advance the world of free software:
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/selling.html

March Hare Software have provided the development resources for CVSNT since 2004, including the releases: 2.0.51, 2.0.58, 2.5.01, 2.5.02, 2.5.03, 2.5.04 multi-site and the latest 2.5.05 Unicode (with advertising) release. We have done all this without charging mandatory fees as we are now being encouraged to charge by the Free Software Foundation.

In Chris Andersons book Free: The Future of a Radical Price he describes open-source projects like CVSNT as requiring a 5% take-up rate of the Premium Edition to be economical. If only one percent (1%) of people downloading CVSNT from our own web site in one (1) year bought one (1) copy of CVS Suite we could quadruple our staff and provide much more innovation.

The decision to take the advice of the Free Software Foundation as of June 30, 2010 was made for many reasons, including:

  • CVSNT has many productivity features that comparable SCCM tools do not have, however:
    • People who use CVSNT Community Edition cannot identify these and do not use them primarily due to the lack of integration and documentation which has been available in CVS Suite for several years
    • The CVSNT development team need additional resources to implement even better productivity enhancements
  • Continued strong demand for CVSNT, low community participation and insufficient response to our numerous requests for voluntary payments (1, 2, 3, 4)
  • Feedback from the website that most people downloading CVSNT Community edition were unsatisfied because they required the features in CVS Suite (e.g.: support, reliability, documentation). i.e.: Visitors were unable to identify the correct software to download.
  • Feedback from active community participants that they did not require the supplied packages because they build from source
  • More below

Component parts of CVSNT (CVSAPI, CVSTOOLS, CVSFS) are licensed under the GNU Library General Public License (LGPL) which allows 3rd party plugins to be created using any available license.

March Hare Software will continue to produce such plugins under commercial license terms as well as continue to develop CVS Suite and CM Suite for customers who will or who have purchased those products.

Other Free Software (including MySQL and SVN) charge too


After we announced our decision to begin following the Free Software Foundations advice and charge for distributing CVSNT on June 30th 2010 - we were contacted by some people who contrasted our decision with how MySQL and SVN projects are run in regards to openness and pricing.

March Hare Software believe that MySQL and SVN projects are run well and they are great pieces of software. We also believe they have struggled with the same problems of funding future development that CVSNT has.

MySQL

Up to and including verison 3.23 of MySQL was licensed under the LGPL, however after this all future releases (including current releases) are dual licensed under GPL and a commercial license. To connect to MySQL server you must use the MySQL client library, and releases after 3.23 require that the application connecting to the server either GPLs their entire code (and the code of 3rd party plugins) or pays a license fee.

If the CVSNT project did this then it would mean that vendors of IDEs like Oracle Developer, Toad, SQL Navigator and even Eclipse (Rational Application Developer etc.) would need to pay us license fees to include CVSNT integration - even if it is not used by customers. We considered and discarded this approach.

We have also always considered that the openness of CVSNT was important - we use open protocols and with CVSNT 3.x (EVSCM) we even allow non-CVS protocols to connect to the server (SVN, WebDAV and TeamSystem). Restricting the server to only clients that are licensed in a particular way would severely alter the open nature of CVSNT.

SVN

If you are implementing a Change Management system in your organisation then the software must do a lot more than checkin/checkout. Collabnet understand this and provide a proprietary commercial solution - a very small part of which is SVN.

We considered and discarded this approach. The CVSNT Project has always striven to deliver a comprehensive change management solution - where all the business logic is open source (LGPL). This gives our customers access to the primary benefit of free software: the freedom to enhance the software and customise it to work best with their other systems and business practice. Funding the development of CVSNT means we can continue to enhance Free Software.

The research that has informed the devlopment of CVSNT from release 2.0.51 tells us that to obtain the benefits of change management the systems must do much more than check-in and check-out. If we avoided putting features like failsafe audit, user-defined change sets, file and branch level access control, token based active-directory authentication, promotion levels, multi-site redundancy etc. into the core open source engine then we would be encouraging people to do SCCM poorly where they have all the costs but few benefits. Instead we have always put these features in the core to encourage the use of SCCM best practice.

Conclusion

If you are contrasting project xyz with CVSNT we believe that weve done a poor job of explaining our initial reasons for this change in distribution.

The CVSNT project delivers SCCM functionality that no other Free and Open Source software does, and many key features appeared in CVSNT years ahead of other popular tools. The development team have many many more features we want to deliver (licensed under a Free and Open Source license) to help people manage change better, but we need more staff - and to fund this we have made these changes to the distribution model following the advice of the Free Software Foundation.

Why is SCCM with zero-dollar price tag a good thing?


March Hare Software and many other companies give away copies of Software Change and Configuration Management and Version Control software. Giving away the source code and compiled installers has nothing to do with ensuring that the license the software is supplied with guarantees certain freedoms to the people who use it (Free Software). This FAQ is about the choice to offer SCCM with a zero-dollar price tag.

Offering SCCM with a zero-dollar price tag has both advantages and disadvantages to those who write it and those who use it, this is our top list:

1. builds awareness.

This is possibly the oldest marketing trick in the book - people are reluctant to try something new so by giving it to you for zero-dollars then we reduce the barriers to entry and you are likely to try it. If the product solves problems for you or reduces your costs of doing business or increases your income then you are likely to keep using it even if other products are also offered for zero-dollars.

2. encourages use of SCCM

People who write SCCM / Version Control software generally do so because they believe that SCCM is useful. In the software industry (and IT departments of non-Software industries) the implementation of change control has traditionally been ignored because it is considered not-useful (a should do rather than helpful to do). Those that write the tools would rather be giving away copies than have them sit unused on shelves if it means that people have the opportunity to realise that the tools are not a chore but a benefit.

3. reciprocity, generosity and philanthropy

Some people will not be able to afford to purchase these tools at market rates, eg: they are students, they live in a 3rd world country, they are in a one-man dot-com startup funded by a second mortgage or the generosity of others.

Giving to these people has no net cost (because a sale was never possible) but builds a debt of reciprocity - when they are no longer students or when their business is successful they will have an ethical obligation to support those who supported them.

Regardless of how good a business idea it is to give something away - someone will never do it unless they are generous.

Why is zero-dollar price tag bad for CVSNT?


Over the past six years that March Hare Software have been the primary sponsors of the CVSNT project and been giving CVSNT Source and Binary Installers away for zero-dollars we have spoken to many people who use the software. We have been on site to companies using the software: we have been asked there to help, we have been asked there to work on unrelated things - but we have never missed an opportunity to ask people about it. Through online forums we have corresponded with many people that have used, evaluated and written reviews and reports on the software.

The picture that we have built up over this time indicates that whilst the benefits of a zero-dollar price tag for CVSNT may have once outweighed the disadvantages - that has not been true for a long time. Today in June of 2010 giving away copies of CVSNT causes enormous problems.

The decision to take the advice of the Free Software Foundation as of June 30, 2010 was made for many reasons, including:

  • CVSNT has many productivity features that comparable SCCM tools do not have, however:
    • People who use CVSNT Community Edition cannot identify these and do not use them primarily due to the lack of integration and documentation which has been available in CVS Suite for several years
    • The CVSNT development team need additional resources to implement even better productivity enhancements
  • Continued strong demand for CVSNT, low community participation and insufficient response to our numerous requests for voluntary payments (1, 2, 3, 4)
  • Feedback from the website that most people downloading CVSNT Community edition were unsatisfied because they required the features in CVS Suite (e.g.: support, reliability, documentation). i.e.: Visitors were unable to identify the correct software to download.
  • Feedback from active community participants that they did not require the supplied packages because they build from source

More detailed reasons are given below.

1. No up-front-cost; no benefit analysis

Many people who we speak with using CVSNT express an interest in switching to another zero-cost SCCM system in the near future. Analysis by firms such as the Configuration Management Institute and even the Financial Times show that there is an enormous cost to switching IT systems.

Clearly the cost of switching systems is being discounted due to the zero-cost of the software. Since the total cost of switching is not analysed neither is the business benefit of one tool versus another or the underlying benefits of the SCCM methodologies supported by one tool versus another.

2. Features not invested in, benefits not received

If CVSNT is chosen as the basis for an SCCM implementation without any consideration of the cost/benefit of different SCCM methodologies then there is a very high likelihood that when senior management want to implement a different SCCM methodology they will be told incorrectly that CVSNT needs to be replaced.

The failure of many people to use the advanced features of CVSNT such as failsafe auditing, merge tracking, user defined change sets (integrated with change control), Access Control Lists, Promotion Levels etc mean that when Management look for the reports that this information provide they wont find it - and will either assume or be incorrectly informed that CVSNT cannot do this.

When CVSNT is replaced with a proprietary system everyone loses out:
a) we who wrote the software and the free software community lose out on the funding that is given to some proprietary software vendor
b) the organisation loses the benefits of the freedom and flexibility of free software
c) the programmers lose out on using the tool they found lightweight and useful
d) the organisation loses out on large costs in re-training and inevitably in people working around the new system with other free software tools

3. We cannot help

For us far too many days begin with a phone call from a non-customer with a large team of people using CVSNT and they cannot get any work done due to some problem.

They patiently explain that they have paid someone else an amount of money to set the system up, or perform multi-site repository replication with proprietary software or paid someone for a proprietary graphical tool - so now they have no budget and they would like our help.

But we cannot help.

If we want our programmers to continue to work for us and the telephone company to keep the internet connected we need to pay them. If we give the software away for zero-dollars then we have to raise the money from elsewhere, almost exclusively support.

By giving the software away we are actually making it harder for people to get help - right at the point when they are experiencing the most problems is the point that we need to ask for money.

4. Insufficient funding for more great things

Many different teams create SCCM tools under Free Software licenses and we are all very aware of what each other are doing. Most SCCM features useful to commercial software developers were added to CVSNT years before they were added to other similar tools - our team of programmers and analysts have inspired many to create more useful software.

With more money our team can be more productive.

A few times in the past few years people using CVSNT have told us that they have spent their budget on graphical tools or other CVSNT add ons because they needed those features.

When we have explained that we already provide those features (or could easily have extended our products to include them) they are embarrassed that they lost the opportunity to help the team that has helped them and instead helped a team that provided nothing of value until they were first paid.

A better funded team here means better software and better tools for you.

Why dont CVSNT accept donations?


In different countries and cultures a donation has specific implied and often conflicting meanings. We believe that this is confusing and so offering a product with defined features for a price is more honest. When people pay the requested fee they know exactly what they will get in return.

Accepting donations in most countries requires a different legal framework than how March Hare Software is incorporated. The additional costs of setting this up and administering it would far outweigh any possible benefit to the programmers, technical support and administrative team who bring CVSNT to you.

Why does March Hare charge for CVS Suite?


March Hare Software charges for CVS Suite for several reasons, the top three are:

1.
There are many users of CVSNT who would like to contibute to the project but do not have the time to contribute to the code, documentation and testing and that for the price of the CVS Suite they can contribute and also get the benefit of some support and some great add on software for CVSNT.

2.
CVSNT and CVS Suite cost March Hare Software a lot of time and money to create. The enhanced TortoiseCVS, Workspace Manager, Release Manager and the Bugzilla and Build integrations make using CVSNT much easier which helps you be more productive.

3.
There are many people who would like to begin using version control and will benefit from the software however find it difficult to find all the information required to get started and if they do find it then it is difficult to understand or implement. CVS Suite solves this problem by matching a version of the documentation with versions of the software in a single package.

Where is CVSNT for iSeries?


CVSNT for iSeries consists of a specially adapted version of the CVS client and a front end program which allows CVS to version Source Physical files such as RPG and COBOL source code.

March Hare Software license the iSeries front end separately to the client and it is not available without a support contract.

Can I integrate CVSNT with some other software


Yes you can integrate CVSNT with other software, including open source (GPL) and commercial software. The recommended method of integration is by using the CVSNT client as a spawned process (sub-process). There are mechanisms to facilitate this including the CVSGUI protocol. This is the same technique that WinCVS and TortoiseCVS use to integrate with CVSNT.

March Hare Software can assist you in integrating your application with CVSNT by:

  • Access to the CVSNT Development Manager, Product Manager and other technical staff
  • Code samples of how to implement integration
  • Features to make integrating easier
  • Write the integration on your behalf

If your project is open source licensed (GPL or similar) then your best approach is to send a request for development assistance to the open source CVSNT newsgroup. To contact the newsgroup you can subscribe here or if you have a news browser installed you can click here.

If your project is commercially licensed or you wish for March Hare Software to provide some assistance then you will need to have a Professional Support contract. The correct level contract will depend on the amount of assistance you require, contact a sales representative for more information.

Why do March Hare collect so much information when I download CVSNT?


This is usually asked by people who download CVSNT using the page http://march-hare.com/downloads/. You can download CVS Suite Trials and CM Suite Trials without supplying any contact information from the main download page at http://march-hare.com/cvspro.

The page http://march-hare.com/downloads/ is the only place you can download the community editions and the evaluation edition of UD6 because these installers require a product key to install and the main download page automatically will e-mail you this key.

The source code for CVSNT community editions can be downloaded from the project repository - see the project web site for details.

Are the commercial releases of CVS Suite the same as the free CVSNT?


No.

The changes in the community editions of CVSNT are driven by the requirements of the open source developers, whereas the changes in the CVS Suite are driven by our customers. Features only available in CVS Suite include:

  • CVS Suite High Performance Server Service
  • Bugzilla, Mantis and Atlassian Jira Integration
  • Multi-Site unison synchronisation
  • Visual Studio Integration (SCCI)
  • CVS Suite Studio - Graphical CVS Client
  • Release Manager
  • Install Guide / eBook
  • Using CVS Suite with Eclipse guide
  • Using CVS Suite with SQL Navigator and Oracle Guide

Generally this CVSNT Community Edition supports newer versions of Open Source Linux libraries and has cutting edge experimental features, and the CVS Suite works with and is tested with Commercial Linux, Windows and Unix distributions and is more stable and has features commercial software developers require.

Between CVSNT 2.0.51 and CVSNT 2.5.02 we did try and keep the two releases very similar - however from CVSNT 2.5.03 it became clear that the community of open source developers wanted to use much newer technologies (like libxml2 versus expat) than most commercial operating systems supported.

The source code for all versions of CVSNT are available from the CVSNT repository, and all builds are available at some time from the open source web site. However the open source CVSNT web site only keeps one build of CVSNT available at any time. Open source developers can "checkout" any version from the repository and build it at any time.

March Hare Software provide five levels of commercial support, and all levels have access to the latest software at the time of purchase.

Silver, Gold and Platinum Annual Software Maintenance and Support customers have access to the entire history of stable and patched releases of CVS Suite.

CVS Suite (no Annual Software Maintenance and Support) customers have access to the latest stable and patched versions at the time of purchase.

All Annual Software Maintenance and Support customers receive patched versions of CVSNT as frequently as every fortnight (but not usually so - since there are many fortnights with no bugs reported).

All CVS Suite customers also receive some plugins and client applications which are not licensed under the GPL and are not available for free. The source code for these is not available in the CVSNT repository.

Conversely not all versions of CVSNT are made available to professional and basic support customers. Releases of CVSNT made to customers undergo additional quality assurance and release procedures.

The following data was generated using David A. Wheelers SLOCCount:

  • TOTAL SUITE CODE: 794,361 lines
  • DIRECTLY FROM CVSNT PROJECT: 443,003 (56%) lines
  • AVAILABLE IN SUITE ONLY (NON-GPL): 35,324 (4%) lines

Low Performance CVSNT versus High Performance CVS Suite


With the release of CVS Suite 2009 ( CVSNT 2.8.01 ) there is a major architectural difference in the CVSNT Server used in the community edition versus the commercial edition of CVSNT.

The commercial implementation is faster but also uses a manager process that is not open source. This provides:

  • reduced lag on client performance while servers start
  • allows the server processes to share information to improve performance

It is not possible to use CVSNT 2.8 Server without the manager process.

How much of the code is Free/Open Source


March Hare Software believe that open source software has many advantages over closed source software - and we would like to release all the CVSNT software as open source. However some large enterprises who use CVSNT as a core part of their IT (eg: 3000+ users) have told us that they have budget to spend on CVSNT but cannot use it to support the project whilst 100% of the code is free/open source.

Therefore to help them we make a deliberate decision to keep a small but extremely useful part of the code non-open source.

We have NOT removed any features or documentation from the Community edition of CVSNT, but included in the CVS Suite these additional components:

  • CVS Suite High Performance Server Service
  • Bugzilla, Mantis and Atlassian Jira Integration
  • Multi-Site unison synchronisation
  • Visual Studio Integration (SCCI)
  • CVS Suite Studio - Graphical CVS Client
  • Release Manager
  • Install Guide / eBook
  • Using CVS Suite with Eclipse guide
  • Using CVS Suite with SQL Navigator and Oracle Guide

NOTE: The majority of code in the CVSNT Project is Copyright March Hare Software Ltd, with some code Copyright March Hare Software Ltd and Tony Hoyle.

The following data was generated using David A. Wheelers SLOCCount and CVS Suite 2009:

  • TOTAL SUITE CODE: 794,361 lines
  • CVSNT PROJECT: 443,003 (56%) lines
  • AVAILABLE IN SUITE ONLY (NON-GPL): 35,324 (4%) lines

CVSNT ONLY

  • ansic: 224603 (55.09%)
  • cpp: 123608 (30.32%)
  • sh: 48791 (11.97%)
  • asm: 3495 (0.86%)
  • ada: 1681 (0.41%)
  • perl: 1493 (0.37%)
  • pascal: 1089 (0.27%)
  • cs: 1008 (0.25%)
  • python: 918 (0.23%)
  • yacc: 805 (0.20%)
  • sed: 181 (0.04%)
  • lisp: 7 (0.00%)
  • Total Physical Source Lines of Code (SLOC) = 407,679

cvsnt + winmerge + tortoisecvs + wincvs:

  • cpp: 436878 (57.56%)
  • ansic: 255095 (33.61%)
  • sh: 50251 (6.62%)
  • asm: 5570 (0.73%)
  • perl: 2234 (0.29%)
  • cs: 1887 (0.25%)
  • ada: 1681 (0.22%)
  • yacc: 1559 (0.21%)
  • pascal: 1289 (0.17%)
  • python: 962 (0.13%)
  • php: 726 (0.10%)
  • exp: 692 (0.09%)
  • sed: 181 (0.02%)
  • ruby: 25 (0.00%)
  • lisp: 7 (0.00%)
  • Total Physical Source Lines of Code (SLOC) = 759,037

COMMERCIAL SUITE CODE ONLY:

  • cpp: 26524 (75.09%)
  • sh: 8800 (24.91%)
  • Total Physical Source Lines of Code (SLOC) = 35,324

  » Return to section list

About Us | Customer Area | Press Releases | Contact us | Prices & Ordering | Feedback | Privacy Policy

Copyright © 2000. March Hare Pty Ltd
All rights reserved.