How CVS Differs from Microsoft Visual Source Safe

TortoiseCVS differs from Visual Source Safe™ (VSS) in many ways. The most apparent difference may be that TortoiseCVS does not require users to lock the files they are working on, as VSS does by default. In fact, the CVS documentation even encourages users not to use file locking. In the rare occasion where several people have changed the same file at the same time, CVS will normally be able to merge their changes. If two or more developers have changed the same few lines, TortoiseCVS will report a conflict, insert directives in the file, and leave it to the developers to decide what to do. Such conflicts are very rare, as they normally occur as a result of lacking communication between the developers (eg. two people trying to fix the same problem).

Another important difference is that VSS gives you a server view, while TortoiseCVS shows a client view. In practice this means that, unlike VSS, TortoiseCVS will not tell you about changes in the repository until you do an update, or explicitly query the status of selected files. Changes reported by TortoiseCVS reflect modifications done by you after the last checkout, update or commit.