Man page for apt-get cvs Command
This tutorial shows the man page for man cvs in linux.
Open terminal with 'su' access and type the command as shown below:
Result of the Command Execution shown below:
cvs Concurrent Versions System
cvs [ cvs_options ]
cvs_command [ command_options ] [ command_args ]
This manpage is a summary of some of the features of cvs. It is auto generated from an appendix of the CVS manual. For more in depth documentation, please
consult the Cederqvist manual (via the info CVS command or otherwise, as described in the SEE ALSO section of this manpage). Cross references in this man
page refer to nodes in the same.
Guide to CVS commands
This appendix describes the overall structure of cvs commands, and describes some commands in detail (others are described elsewhere; for a quick reference
to cvs commands, see node `Invoking CVS' in the CVS manual).
Overall structure of CVS commands
The overall format of all cvs commands is:
cvs [ cvs_options ] cvs_command [ command_options ] [ command_args ]
The name of the cvs program.
Some options that affect all sub commands of cvs. These are described below.
One of several different sub commands. Some of the commands have aliases that can be used instead; those aliases are noted in the reference manual for
that command. There are only two situations where you may omit cvs_command: cvs H elicits a list of available commands, and cvs v displays version
information on cvs itself.
Options that are specific for the command.
Arguments to the commands.
There is unfortunately some confusion between cvs_options and command_options. When given as a cvs_option, some options only affect some of the commands.
When given as a command_option it may have a different meaning, and be accepted by more commands. In other words, do not take the above categorization too
seriously. Look at the documentation instead.
CVS's exit status
cvs can indicate to the calling environment whether it succeeded or failed by setting its exit status. The exact way of testing the exit status will vary
from one operating system to another. For example in a unix shell script the $? variable will be 0 if the last command returned a successful exit status, or
greater than 0 if the exit status indicated failure.
If cvs is successful, it returns a successful status; if there is an error, it prints an error message and returns a failure status. The one exception to
this is the cvs diff command. It will return a successful status if it found no differences, or a failure status if there were differences or if there was
an error. Because this behavior provides no good way to detect errors, in the future it is possible that cvs diff will be changed to behave like the other
Default options and the ~/.cvsrc file
There are some command_options that are used so often that you might have set up an alias or some other means to make sure you always specify that option.
One example (the one that drove the implementation of the .cvsrc support, actually) is that many people find the default output of the diff command to be
very hard to read, and that either context diffs or unidiffs are much easier to understand.
The ~/.cvsrc file is a way that you can add default options to cvs_commands within cvs, instead of relying on aliases or other shell scripts.
The format of the ~/.cvsrc file is simple. The file is searched for a line that begins with the same name as the cvs_command being executed. If a match is
found, then the remainder of the line is split up (at whitespace characters) into separate options and added to the command arguments before any options from
the command line.
If a command has two names (e.g., checkout and co), the official name, not necessarily the one used on the command line, will be used to match against the
file. So if this is the contents of the user's ~/.cvsrc file:
the command cvs checkout foo would have the P option added to the arguments, as well as cvs co foo.
With the example file above, the output from cvs diff foobar will be in unidiff format. cvs diff c foobar will provide context diffs, as usual. Getting
"old" format diffs would be slightly more complicated, because diff doesn't have an option to specify use of the "old" format, so you would need cvs f diff
In place of the command name you can use cvs to specify global options (see node `Global options' in the CVS manual). For example the following line in
causes cvs to use compression level 6.
The available cvs_options (that are given to the left of cvs_command) are:
May be invoked multiple times to specify one legal cvsroot directory with each invocation. Also causes CVS to preparse the configuration file for each
specified root, which can be useful when configuring write proxies, See node `Password authentication server' in the CVS manual & see node `Write proxies'
in the CVS manual.
Authenticate all communication between the client and the server. Only has an effect on the cvs client. As of this writing, this is only implemented when
using a GSSAPI connection (see node `GSSAPI authenticated' in the CVS manual). Authentication prevents certain sorts of attacks involving hijacking the
active tcp connection. Enabling authentication does not enable encryption.
In cvs 1.9.18 and older, this specified that rcs programs are in the bindir directory. Current versions of cvs do not run rcs programs; for compatibility
this option is accepted, but it does nothing.
Use tempdir as the directory where temporary files are located.
The cvs client and server store temporary files in a temporary directory. The path to this temporary directory is set via, in order of precedence:
o The argument to the global T option.
o The value set for TmpDir in the config file (server only see node `config' in the CVS manual).
o The contents of the $TMPDIR environment variable (%TMPDIR% on Windows see node `Environment variables' in the CVS manual).
Temporary directories should always be specified as an absolute pathname. When running a CVS client, T affects only the local process; specifying T
for the client has no effect on the server and vice versa.
Use cvs_root_directory as the root directory pathname of the repository. Overrides the setting of the $CVSROOT environment variable. See node `Reposi
tory' in the CVS manual.
Use editor to enter revision log information. Overrides the setting of the $CVSEDITOR and $EDITOR environment variables. For more information, see node
`Committing your changes' in the CVS manual.
Do not read the ~/.cvsrc file. This option is most often used because of the non orthogonality of the cvs option set. For example, the cvs log option N
(turn off display of tag names) does not have a corresponding option to turn the display on. So if you have N in the ~/.cvsrc entry for log, you may need
to use f to show the tag names.
Display usage information about the specified cvs_command (but do not actually execute the command). If you don't specify a command name, cvs H displays
overall help for cvs, including a list of other help options.
Turns on read only repository mode. This allows one to check out from a read only repository, such as within an anoncvs server, or from a cd rom reposi
Same effect as if the CVSREADONLYFS environment variable is set. Using R can also considerably speed up checkouts over NFS.
Do not change any files. Attempt to execute the cvs_command, but only to issue reports; do not remove, update, or merge any existing files, or create any
Note that cvs will not necessarily produce exactly the same output as without n. In some cases the output will be the same, but in other cases cvs will
skip some of the processing that would have been required to produce the exact same output.
Cause the command to be really quiet; the command will only generate output for serious problems.
Cause the command to be somewhat quiet; informational messages, such as reports of recursion through subdirectories, are suppressed.
Make new working files read only. Same effect as if the $CVSREAD environment variable is set (see node `Environment variables' in the CVS manual). The
default is to make working files writable, unless watches are on (see node `Watches' in the CVS manual).
Set a user variable (see node `Variables' in the CVS manual).
Trace program execution; display messages showing the steps of cvs activity. Particularly useful with n to explore the potential impact of an unfamiliar
Display version and copyright information for cvs.
Make new working files read write. Overrides the setting of the $CVSREAD environment variable. Files are created read write by default, unless $CVSREAD
is set or r is given.
Encrypt all communication between the client and the server. Only has an effect on the cvs client. As of this writing, this is only implemented when
using a GSSAPI connection (see node `GSSAPI authenticated' in the CVS manual) or a Kerberos connection (see node `Kerberos authenticated' in the CVS man
ual). Enabling encryption implies that message traffic is also authenticated. Encryption support is not available by default; it must be enabled using a
special configure option, enable encryption, when you build cvs.
Request compression level for network traffic. cvs interprets level identically to the gzip program. Valid levels are 1 (high speed, low compression) to
9 (low speed, high compression), or 0 to disable compression (the default). Data sent to the server will be compressed at the requested level and the
client will request the server use the same compression level for data returned. The server will use the closest level allowed by the server administrator
to compress returned data. This option only has an effect when passed to the cvs client.
Common command options
This section describes the command_options that are available across several cvs commands. These options are always given to the right of cvs_command. Not
all commands support all of these options; each option is only supported for commands where it makes sense. However, when a command has one of these options
you can almost always count on the same behavior of the option as in other commands. (Other command options, which are listed with the individual commands,
may have different behavior from one cvs command to the other).
Note: the history command is an exception; it supports many options that conflict even with these standard options.
Use the most recent revision no later than date_spec. date_spec is a single argument, a date description specifying a date in the past.
The specification is sticky when you use it to make a private copy of a source file; that is, when you get a working file using D, cvs records the date
you specified, so that further updates in the same directory will use the same date (for more information on sticky tags/dates, see node `Sticky tags' in
the CVS manual).
D is available with the annotate, checkout, diff, export, history, ls, rdiff, rls, rtag, tag, and update commands. (The history command uses this option
in a slightly different way; see node `history options' in the CVS manual).
For a complete description of the date formats accepted by cvs, see node `Date input formats' in the CVS manual.
Remember to quote the argument to the D flag so that your shell doesn't interpret spaces as argument separators. A command using the D flag can look
$ cvs diff D "1 hour ago" cvs.texinfo
When you specify a particular date or tag to cvs commands, they normally ignore files that do not contain the tag (or did not exist prior to the date) that
you specified. Use the f option if you want files retrieved even when there is no match for the tag or date. (The most recent revision of the file will
Note that even with f, a tag that you specify must exist (that is, in some file, not necessary in every file). This is so that cvs will continue to give
an error if you mistype a tag name.
f is available with these commands: annotate, checkout, export, rdiff, rtag, and update.
WARNING: The commit and remove commands also have a f option, but it has a different behavior for those commands. See node `commit options' in the CVS
manual, and see node `Removing files' in the CVS manual.
Override the default processing of RCS keywords other than kb. See node `Keyword substitution' in the CVS manual, for the meaning of kflag. Used with
the checkout and update commands, your kflag specification is sticky; that is, when you use this option with a checkout or update command, cvs associates
your selected kflag with any files it operates on, and continues to use that kflag with future commands on the same files until you specify otherwise.
The k option is available with the add, checkout, diff, export, import, rdiff, and update commands.
WARNING: Prior to CVS version 1.12.2, the k flag overrode the kb indication for a binary file. This could sometimes corrupt binary files. See node
`Merging and keywords' in the CVS manual, for more.
Local; run only in current working directory, rather than recursing through subdirectories.
Available with the following commands: annotate, checkout, commit, diff, edit, editors, export, log, rdiff, remove, rtag, status, tag, unedit, update,
watch, and watchers.
Use message as log information, instead of invoking an editor.
Available with the following commands: add, commit and import.
Do not run any tag program. (A program can be specified to run in the modules database (see node `modules' in the CVS manual); this option bypasses it).
Note: this is not the same as the cvs n program option, which you can specify to the left of a cvs command!
Available with the checkout, commit, export, and rtag commands.
Prune empty directories. See node `Removing directories' in the CVS manual.
Pipe the files retrieved from the repository to standard output, rather than writing them in the current directory. Available with the checkout and update
Process directories recursively. This is the default for all cvs commands, with the exception of ls & rls.
Available with the following commands: annotate, checkout, commit, diff, edit, editors, export, ls, rdiff, remove, rls, rtag, status, tag, unedit, update,
watch, and watchers.
Use the revision specified by the tag argument (and the date argument for the commands which accept it) instead of the default head revision. As well as
arbitrary tags defined with the tag or rtag command, two special tags are always available: HEAD refers to the most recent version available in the reposi
tory, and BASE refers to the revision you last checked out into the current working directory.
The tag specification is sticky when you use this with checkout or update to make your own copy of a file: cvs remembers the tag and continues to use it on
future update commands, until you specify otherwise (for more information on sticky tags/dates, see node `Sticky tags' in the CVS manual).
The tag can be either a symbolic or numeric tag, as described in `Tags' in the CVS manual, or the name of a branch, as described in `Branching and merging'
in the CVS manual. When tag is the name of a branch, some commands accept the optional date argument to specify the revision as of the given date on the
branch. When a command expects a specific revision, the name of a branch is interpreted as the most recent revision on that branch.
Specifying the q global option along with the r command option is often useful, to suppress the warning messages when the rcs file does not contain the
Note: this is not the same as the overall cvs r option, which you can specify to the left of a cvs command!
r tag is available with the commit and history commands.
r tag[:date] is available with the annotate, checkout, diff, export, rdiff, rtag, and update commands.
Specify file names that should be filtered. You can use this option repeatedly. The spec can be a file name pattern of the same type that you can specify
in the .cvswrappers file. Available with the following commands: import, and update.
o Requires: repository, working directory.
o Changes: repository.
o Synonym: rcs
This is the cvs interface to assorted administrative facilities. Some of them have questionable usefulness for cvs but exist for historical purposes.
Some of the questionable options are likely to disappear in the future. This command does work recursively, so extreme care should be used.
On unix, if there is a group named cvsadmin, only members of that group can run cvs admin commands, except for those specified using the UserAdminOptions
configuration option in the CVSROOT/config file. Options specified using UserAdminOptions can be run by any user. See node`config' in the CVS manual for
more on UserAdminOptions.
The cvsadmin group should exist on the server, or any system running the non client/server cvs. To disallow cvs admin for all users, create a group with
no users in it. On NT, the cvsadmin feature does not exist and all users can run cvs admin.
Some of these options have questionable usefulness for cvs but exist for historical purposes. Some even make it impossible to use cvs until you undo the
Might not work together with cvs. Append the access list of oldfile to the access list of the rcs file.
Might not work together with cvs. Append the login names appearing in the comma separated list logins to the access list of the rcs file.
Set the default branch to rev. In cvs, you normally do not manipulate default branches; sticky tags (see node `Sticky tags' in the CVS manual) are a bet
ter way to decide which branch you want to work on. There is one reason to run cvs admin b: to revert to the vendor's version when using vendor branches
(see node `Reverting local changes' in the CVS manual). There can be no space between b and its argument.
Sets the comment leader to string. The comment leader is not used by current versions of cvs or rcs 5.7. Therefore, you can almost surely not worry about
it. See node `Keyword substitution' in the CVS manual.
Might not work together with cvs. Erase the login names appearing in the comma separated list logins from the access list of the RCS file. If logins is
omitted, erase the entire access list. There can be no space between e and its argument.
Run interactively, even if the standard input is not a terminal. This option does not work with the client/server cvs and is likely to disappear in a
future release of cvs.
Useless with cvs. This creates and initializes a new rcs file, without depositing a revision. With cvs, add files with the cvs add command (see node
`Adding files' in the CVS manual).
Set the default keyword substitution to subst. See node `Keyword substitution' in the CVS manual. Giving an explicit k option to cvs update, cvs export,
or cvs checkout overrides this default.
Lock the revision with number rev. If a branch is given, lock the latest revision on that branch. If rev is omitted, lock the latest revision on the
default branch. There can be no space between l and its argument.
This can be used in conjunction with the rcslock.pl script in the contrib directory of the cvs source distribution to provide reserved checkouts (where
only one user can be editing a given file at a time). See the comments in that file for details (and see the README file in that directory for disclaimers
about the unsupported nature of contrib). According to comments in that file, locking must set to strict (which is the default).
Set locking to strict. Strict locking means that the owner of an RCS file is not exempt from locking for checkin. For use with cvs, strict locking must
be set; see the discussion under the l option above.
Replace the log message of revision rev with msg.
Act like n, except override any previous assignment of name. For use with magic branches, see node `Magic branch numbers' in the CVS manual.
Associate the symbolic name name with the branch or revision rev. It is normally better to use cvs tag or cvs rtag instead. Delete the symbolic name if
both : and rev are omitted; otherwise, print an error message if name is already associated with another number. If rev is symbolic, it is expanded before
association. A rev consisting of a branch number followed by a . stands for the current latest revision in the branch. A : with an empty rev stands for
the current latest revision on the default branch, normally the trunk. For example, cvs admin nname: associates name with the current latest revision of
all the RCS files; this contrasts with cvs admin nname:$ which associates name with the revision numbers extracted from keyword strings in the correspond
ing working files.
Deletes (outdates) the revisions given by range.
Note that this command can be quite dangerous unless you know exactly what you are doing (for example see the warnings below about how the rev1:rev2 syntax
If you are short on disc this option might help you. But think twice before using it there is no way short of restoring the latest backup to undo this
command! If you delete different revisions than you planned, either due to carelessness or (heaven forbid) a cvs bug, there is no opportunity to correct
the error before the revisions are deleted. It probably would be a good idea to experiment on a copy of the repository first.
Specify range in one of the following ways:
Collapse all revisions between rev1 and rev2, so that cvs only stores the differences associated with going from rev1 to rev2, not intermediate steps.
For example, after o 1.3::1.5 one can retrieve revision 1.3, revision 1.5, or the differences to get from 1.3 to 1.5, but not the revision 1.4, or the
differences between 1.3 and 1.4. Other examples: o 1.3::1.4 and o 1.3::1.3 have no effect, because there are no intermediate revisions to remove.
Collapse revisions between the beginning of the branch containing rev and rev itself. The branchpoint and rev are left intact. For example, o
::184.108.40.206 deletes revision 220.127.116.11, revision 18.104.22.168, and everything in between, but leaves 1.3 and 22.214.171.124 intact.
Collapse revisions between rev and the end of the branch containing rev. Revision rev is left intact but the head revision is deleted.
Delete the revision rev. For example, o 1.3 is equivalent to o 1.2::1.4.
Delete the revisions from rev1 to rev2, inclusive, on the same branch. One will not be able to retrieve rev1 or rev2 or any of the revisions in between.
For example, the command cvs admin oR_1_01:R_1_02 . is rarely useful. It means to delete revisions up to, and including, the tag R_1_02. But beware!
If there are files that have not changed between R_1_02 and R_1_03 the file will have the same numerical revision number assigned to the tags R_1_02 and
R_1_03. So not only will it be impossible to retrieve R_1_02; R_1_03 will also have to be restored from the tapes! In most cases you want to specify
Delete revisions from the beginning of the branch containing rev up to and including rev.
Delete revisions from revision rev, including rev itself, to the end of the branch containing rev.
None of the revisions to be deleted may have branches or locks.
If any of the revisions to be deleted have symbolic names, and one specifies one of the :: syntaxes, then cvs will give an error and not delete any revi
sions. If you really want to delete both the symbolic names and the revisions, first delete the symbolic names with cvs tag d, then run cvs admin o.
If one specifies the non :: syntaxes, then cvs will delete the revisions but leave the symbolic names pointing to nonexistent revisions. This behavior
is preserved for compatibility with previous versions of cvs, but because it isn't very useful, in the future it may change to be like the :: case.
Due to the way cvs handles branches rev cannot be specified symbolically if it is a branch. See node `Magic branch numbers' in the CVS manual, for an
Make sure that no one has checked out a copy of the revision you outdate. Strange things will happen if he starts to edit it and tries to check it back
in. For this reason, this option is not a good way to take back a bogus commit; commit a new revision undoing the bogus change instead (see node `Merg
ing two revisions' in the CVS manual).
Run quietly; do not print diagnostics.
Useful with cvs. Set the state attribute of the revision rev to state. If rev is a branch number, assume the latest revision on that branch. If rev is
omitted, assume the latest revision on the default branch. Any identifier is acceptable for state. A useful set of states is Exp (for experimental), Stab
(for stable), and Rel (for released). By default, the state of a new revision is set to Exp when it is created. The state is visible in the output from
cvs log (see node `log' in the CVS manual), and in the $Log$ and $State$ keywords (see node `Keyword substitution' in the CVS manual). Note that cvs uses
the dead state for its own purposes (see node `Attic' in the CVS manual); to take a file to or from the dead state use commands like cvs remove and cvs add
(see node `Adding and removing' in the CVS manual), not cvs admin s.
Useful with cvs. Write descriptive text from the contents of the named file into the RCS file, deleting the existing text. The file pathname may not
begin with . The descriptive text can be seen in the output from cvs log (see node `log' in the CVS manual). There can be no space between t and its
If file is omitted, obtain the text from standard input, terminated by end of file or by a line containing . by itself. Prompt for the text if interaction
is possible; see I.
Similar to tfile. Write descriptive text from the string into the rcs file, deleting the existing text. There can be no space between t and its argu
Set locking to non strict. Non strict locking means that the owner of a file need not lock a revision for checkin. For use with cvs, strict locking must
be set; see the discussion under the l option above.
See the option l above, for a discussion of using this option with cvs. Unlock the revision with number rev. If a branch is given, unlock the latest
revision on that branch. If rev is omitted, remove the latest lock held by the caller. Normally, only the locker of a revision may unlock it; somebody
else unlocking a revision breaks the lock. This causes the original locker to be sent a commit notification (see node `Getting Notified' in the CVS man
ual). There can be no space between u and its argument.
In previous versions of cvs, this option meant to write an rcs file which would be acceptable to rcs version n, but it is now obsolete and specifying it
will produce an error.
In previous versions of cvs, this was documented as a way of specifying the names of the rcs files. However, cvs has always required that the rcs files
used by cvs end in ,v, so this option has never done anything useful.
What revision modified each line of a file?
o Synopsis: annotate [options] files...
o Requires: repository.
o Changes: nothing.
For each file in files, print the head revision of the trunk, together with information on the last modification for each line.
These standard options are supported by annotate (see node `Common options' in the CVS manual, for a complete description of them):
Local directory only, no recursion.
Process directories recursively.
Use head revision if tag/date not found.
Annotate binary files.
Annotate file as of specified revision/tag or, when date is specified and tag is a branch tag, the version from the branch tag as it existed on date. See
node `Common options' in the CVS manual.
Annotate file as of specified date.
$ cvs annotate ssfile
Annotations for ssfile
1.1 (mary 27 Mar 96): ssfile line 1
1.2 (joe 28 Mar 96): ssfile line 2
The file ssfile currently contains two lines. The ssfile line 1 line was checked in by mary on March 27. Then, on March 28, joe added a line ssfile line 2,
without modifying the ssfile line 1 line. This report doesn't tell you anything about lines which have been deleted or replaced; you need to use cvs diff
for that (see node `diff' in the CV