Difference Between CVS and SVN (With Table)

Software are the main part of any hardware to become worthy. Version controlling systems are often used in the software world. Well, two of the main versions of control systems are used in today’s world. CVS and SVN. They both have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. However, they are slightly different from each other.


The difference between the concurrent versions system and Apache subversion is that CVS is a free and client-based version controlling system while the SVN is a high-end, advanced and latest version of the controlling system. Also, the releasing date of CVS is 1990, while it’s 2000 of SVN.

The CVS or concurrent versions system is necessary for any complex enterprise application. The main usages of CVS are that it saves the changes made into the file. That gives an upper hand to the developer to compare between various other versions of control systems.

The SVN, on the other hand, is new and latest technology software versions ruled out in 2000 as Apache subversion. It’s a distributed version controlling system. It facilitates the coder or developer to make changes in the code and maintain the past and new versions of files like source code, website pages, and docs. It’s used by several projects like GCC, Pascal, and Apache software foundation.

Comparison Table Between CVS and SVN

Parameters of ComparisonCVSSVN
DefinitionCVS is a free availability, client-oriented version controlling system in software development.SVN is an Apache subversion that is the advanced, hi-tech, and latest technology in software development.
Full formCVS stands for concurrent versions system.SVN stands for Apache subversion.
Developing teamIt is developed by the CVS team and released in 1990.It’s developed by Apache software foundation and released in 2000.
Supporting partsConcurrent versions system does not support atomic commits but supports SSH.Apache Subversion supports atomic commits and also HTTP and HTTPS.
LicenceCVS is GNU General public license.SVN us Apache license 2.0.

What is CVS?

In the field of technology, where everything is almost software-based, it’s important to develop software that eases the work and unload the burden remaining on shoulders. Developers keep working continuously to make eye-catching and high-end software that can meet requirements.

CVS or concurrent versions system is a free of cost, client-based software in the software development world. With CVS, many developers can work on the same project at the same time. This saves the time and capital both. Also, it allows collaboration among the team workers to enhance workability and functionality. This collaboration part plays a major role in bringing the people to work together as a team and eventually raises the bar of development.

CVS is basically following client-server architecture. The main server keeps the record of previous and the current source codes and versions. Also, it allows a client to access these files and can get a copy of the projects and codes as well. Through a local area network or LAN, it’s easy to connect a client and a server machine.

CVS has many local developers who keep constantly working on updating and enhancing the software. Usually, the server works on UNIX and clients run on operation platform like windows, Mac, Linux. It allows the developers to make necessary changes to make the user experience more good and healthy. The client can use the UPDATE command to update their local copies, with the new versions rolling out with time.

What is SVN?

SVN or Apache Subversion is a network software versioning control system that’s distributed. It facilitates the coder to make important changes in the code, keeping the previous and recent source code file intact. SVN is majorly used by many other projects like Apache software foundation, FREE Pascal, GCC, SourceForge, etc. The SVN is one of a kind thing rolled out by the apache software foundation that is facilitating the clients and the developers at the same time.

There are various features SVN incorporate. Like it allows removing files, renaming of files, copying the data and important documents, moving, and many more. There’s a binding language like C#, Java, Python, Perl, Ruby. Also, Apache subversion has a tracking feature knows as merge tracking.

SVN allows three types of repository storage. One of them Is Berkeley DB. The original SVN development used this kind of technology. Well, Berkeley has some limitations. When the database is accessed by a program, it could terminate or crash. FSFS is another type of repository storage that works way faster than the Berkeley DB backend. It takes less disk space in comparison.

The last one is FSX. That one is a new version of FSFS and majorly used as a better alternative since it covers approximately all drawbacks of FSFS. Updates make everything easier and better than before indeed.

Main Differences Between CVS and SVN

  1. The CVS is a concurrent versions system that’s free and client-based software, while the SVN is an Apache subversion that version controlling system and is high-end, new, and has advanced features.
  2. CVS was rolled out in 1990, while the SVN was rolled out after ten years of CVS. That is in 2000.
  3. CVS is developed by the CVS team, while SVN is developed by the Apache software foundation.
  4. CVS has GNU general public license while the SVN us Apache license 2.0.
  5. CVS doesn’t support atomic commits but supports SSH, while the SVN supports atomic commits, HTTP and HTTPS.


Well, everything is all about the need. Hence this necessity makes new things. But the fact is, you can only have those that you need, like CVS and SVN. It’s important to note down the differences before jumping into fulfilling the requirements.

Indeed the software world has been more enhanced. Also, CVS and SVN play a major role in moulding the technology. Developers keep workings to roll out new updates that eliminate the problems sustaining in the previous versions and make the user experience even better and valuable.


  1. https://wiki.lbto.org/pub/FLAO/MiscManuals/cederqvist-1.11.3.pdf
  2. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1161/cir.0b013e3182031a3c

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