Perhaps the most important way to familiarize CVS users with Subversion is to let them continue to work on their projects using the new system. And while that can be somewhat accomplished using a flat import into a Subversion repository of an exported CVS repository, the more thorough solution involves transferring not just the latest snapshot of their data, but all the history behind it as well, from one system to another. This is an extremely difficult problem to solve; it involves deducing changesets in the absence of atomicity and translating between the systems' completely orthogonal branching policies, among other complications. Still, a handful of tools claim to at least partially support the ability to convert existing CVS repositories into Subversion ones.

The most popular (and mature) conversion tool is cvs2svn (http://cvs2svn.tigris.org/), a Python program originally created by members of Subversion's own development community. This tool is meant to run exactly once: it scans your CVS repository multiple times and attempts to deduce commits, branches, and tags as best it can. When it finishes, the result is either a Subversion repository or a portable Subversion dump file representing your code's history. See the web site for detailed instructions and caveats.