I finally got around trying Sam's suggestion above.
I ran cvs -q up -dP -r rel-2-1-patches as root in /opt/webwork2. It produced the following:
The immediate response was the following warning
cvs update: warning: failed to open /root/.cvspass for reading: No such file or directory
It continued for awhile and then issued the following
cvs update: warning: cannot open /webwork/cvs/system/CVSROOT/val-tags read/write: Permission denied
Again, it continued until the following
Warning: Permanently added 'cvs.webwork.rochester.edu,220.127.116.11' (DSA) to the list of known hosts.
Permission denied, please try again.
I didn't know the password, so it aborted.
Any suggestions? I can send you the entire response to the command, if you think that might help.
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