The aim here is not to create a comprehensive list of CVS clients, but to gather user comments and recommendations on them.

Command line clients#

The standard CVS command line client from also compiles on Windows, so you use it too, if you fancy. Most Windows users tend to prefer graphical clients, though.

DuncanMcGregor: I've had much better success with CVSNT, which also does a more than passable job of being a CVS server.

ArthurBarrett: Note: many Graphical CVS clients use CVSNT as the actual processor, and as such they work best with CVSNT Server on Unix/Linux/Windows or Mac.

NicolasCorreard: you can also use cygwin (a sort of linux emulation for Windows), and just use the cvs as you would on linux/unix. Probably not the most user friendly, I have to admit.

Graphical clients#

CVS Suite#

A commercially supported but open source based CVS Graphical Client and Server for Windows and Mac. The vendor is the major contributor of code to the CVSNT Open Source project (as well as a minor contributor to WinCVS and TortoiseCVS and WinMerge) so by purchasing this client you directly help the open source project and encourage other companies to get involved.


A Java-based client, which naturally runs everywhere you can run Java.

At least the earlier incarnations weren't too good - the UI is very confusing. --Janne.

I got the HTMLClient to run with jCVSlet and it works, but is was a hard job --> Boerries


SmartCVS is also a pretty good client. It's not 'free' as in speech but it does have a 'free' as in beer version that works pretty well.

--AnonymousCoward, 23-Jan-2007


A TCL/TK based client for Windows 9x and NT. Runs also on UNIX.


JanneJalkanen: I have no experience in this, but it seems fairly logical: it integrates itself with Windows Explorer, and allows you to access the version control system directly from the context menus. Anyone know this?

DanKirkpatrick: Yes, Tortoise works very nicely. IMHO, it provides the nicest, most intuitive interface for Windows users to the basic functionality for CVS (checkin, update, checkout). I prefer other tools for merging, branching, etc.

RayH: just downloaded Tortoise 1.8.22 and installed on XP. Seems to work fine together with cvsd (pserver) on Ubuntu Linux including compression. Pretty intuitive I must say. Certainly more so than the server side.


This is a port of the MacCVS client to Windows. It seems to be the most popular one, but it is not exactly easy to use. For example, you can easily forget to commit some of your changes, since changed files are not immediately obvious.

LinCVS (CrossVS XXL)#

LinCVS (or CrossVS XXL for Windows) - in principle works in Win/Lin/Mac but when tested in Windows, didn't work right. Why? No idea, stucked somewhere on PuTTY secure key dialog.

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« This page (revision-13) was last changed on 15-Sep-2008 08:47 by Arthur Barrett