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2.4 Accessing Remote Repositories

There are several ways to access a remote repository. This quickstart guide uses the ext method with the SSH protocol, but if your system administrator gives you different instructions, follow those. Chapter 8 explains the use of remote repositories in detail. The ext and SSH approach uses the ext repository access method, with an SSH client as the program that performs the connection. These are also explained in Chapter 8.

Your first step, at least the first step that I recommend, is to install SSH on the client machine. Make sure that the client-end SSH protocol matches the server's SSH protocol. Set up SSH keys or passwords and test the connection. Using SSH enables you to create a secure connection to the remote repository.

Next, if you're on a Unix or Linux system, set the CVS_RSH environment variable on your client machine to the name of your SSH program, usually ssh or ssh2. Graphical clients that support the ext and SSH approach may have ssh as an authentication type option in the dialog that requests the repository path. Check the documentation for your client.

In WinCVS and gCVS, call up the Preferences dialog under the Admin menu and select "ssh" as the Authentication method under the General tab. In MacCVSX (for OS X), ssh is available under the MacCVSX menu. MacCVS for OS 9 and earlier versions do not support SSH as a standard option. Instead, you can make use of SSH from MacCVS via port tunnelling, as described in Appendix A.

If the repository is on the same machine as the client, the repository path is simply the full path to the repository's root directory. On a remote machine, the repository path takes the form:

[:method:][[[user][:password]@]hostname[:[port]]]/path

The method is the protocol used to connect to the repository. To use SSH, use ext as the method. Include the username and the @ if the username on the server differs from the username on the client. If you don't have an SSH key on the host, the system asks you for a password when you try to log in.

The ext method doesn't use the password or port portions of the repository path.

Use the following command from your operating-system prompt to run a CVS command against the remote repository:

cvs -d repository_path command 

For instance, Example 2-9 shows how to import a project into a remote CVS repository.

Example 2-9. Remote repository import
bash-2.05a$ cvs -d cvs:/home/cvs import example no-vendor release-0
N example/file1h" 5L, 241C written
No conflicts created by this import
bash-2.05a$

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