How To Get Set Up To Use CVS (To Check-Out And Check-In) From A Windows Platform

Setting up CVS to work on a Windows platform and to use SSH is not straightforward.  For this reason, we present a complete guide here.  Major sections are separated by horizontal lines.

Why SSH And SCP (Secure Protocols) Are Required For Accessing SourceForge

SourceForge has a page explaining this, which is very informative.  This page is recommended reading.  (If this page ever disappears, here is a .PDF snapshot of this page as of 06/2001.)

Warning:  There Are Different Distributions And Implementations Of SSH And SCP

There are several distributions of SSH and SCP clients.  They are not all compatible with CVS.  We do not know the reasons for this, but please be aware of this.  We do not understand the interface between CVS and SSH (i.e. how CVS uses SSH), or why individual distributions do or do not work.

Here are the distributions that we are aware of:

We discuss how to work around these limitations in a little bit more detail elsewhere in this document.

Obtaining And Setting Up The Recommended Distributions Of SSH And CVS For Use With SourceForge

This section describes the steps to set up SSH and CVS on a Windows platform for use with SourceForge.  We do not claim that this is the only way to do this.  We use only the command-line interface (products like WinCVS are not discussed).  Also, because hard drives are so large now, most users can place all CVS'd materials on their C: drive.  For this reason, only the C: drive is discussed.


but on other versions of Windows this directory containing common command-line utilities might be a different one.

mkdir c:\home

mkdir c:\etc


set USERNAME=username


set HOME=\home 

set HOMEPATH=\home

set CVS_RSH=ssh

where username and projectname should be substituted as described above.

ssh -l username

where username is your SourceForge login ID and projectname is the name assigned to your project.  At this point you should be prompted for your password (the same password you use to log into SourceForge).  After you enter your password, you should then receive the traditional Linux login messages and prompt.  If you cannot log in, it is pointless to try to use CVS because that cannot work either.  This test must pass.  You must be able to login using this method before you can go further in these instructions.

If you were able to log in, use CTRL-D to logout, but leave the DOS box open.

This site is maintained by Dave Ashley (