After much gnashing of teeth, I got CVS running as a service on my laptop and am able to access it using the CVS client Eclipse plug-in. The key was finding this page posted, at least in part, by Glenn Robitaille. Without it, I suspect I would still be poring over the CVS and xinetd documentation. One change I had to make that I didn’t see listed on the page was to change the owner of /usr/bin/cvs to the cvs user.
I was surprised how difficult it was to setup CVS. I think I’m already beginning to learn why people dislike CVS so much. With this rite of passage complete, next up on my source code control system investigation is Subversion with Subclipse.