Software you need - and where to get itThe only real way to access the repository is to use a cvs program. Think of the cvs program replacing your FTP client program.
The original CVS package was made at various stages by Dick Grune, Brian Berliner, Jeff Polk, and, nowadays, Jim Kingdon, who also operates "CVS' home" at Cyclic Software. This is also the starting point if you are looking for the newest version, FAQs, ports, or anything else on CVS.
Unix / Linux /Mac OS XCVS was written for Unix and is readily available for virtually all Unix variants. All the free Linux and BSD distributions come with the cvs command already installed or at least have it on their accompagnying CD-ROMs. Mac OS X has it among its developer tools. If "man cvs" or "info cvs" or "cvs --help" elicit the instructions, you already have it.
CVS can also be found on countless FTP servers, most likely in the GNU section. Of course, Cyclic Software has always an authorative set of sources. You can also get the cvs sources from the juggle ftp server. Note that these are the sources, not ready-to-run binaries.
MacIntosh and Windows95/98 and /NT 3/4/5b
For Win32, you have the choice between the command line "cvs.exe" (which works exactly like the Unix one) and several graphical frontends. I'd recommend the command line one -- its extremely simple to install and I can give better assistence in case of trouble. You can download CVS 1.11 here from juggle. (It's not the newest version but works fine.)
The best GUI-based CVS port is done for both Windows and the Mac and used to be called "WinCvs/MacCvs". It is now called "GuiCVS". Download your respective version here.
I used to use WinCVS until they finally dropped Win95 support. I am not all familiar with the new (better) menu structure of current WinCVS versions, so you are on your own there.) It is, all in all, a fine piece of work. If you really loathe command line interfaces, go for it.
I was truly impressed by this port, it's rock-solid work. On a standard Windows95 system, you'll also have to install a required ctl3d32.dll file. Since Microsoft is distributing it with various free packages, I feel free to offer it here, too.
The binary of MacCvs above is prepacked for the PowerPC only. If you have a 68K based Mac and lack the capabilities to build MacCvs from the C sources, get "MacCvsClient". Start here and make sure you also download the excellent documentation.
If you do have a PowerPC-based Mac, the MacCvs versions 3.1 and 3.1.1 from before 1999-09-06 will require InternetConfig-2.0 to be installed. Get that here.