CVS Mini Howto
This Howto describes how to access a CVS repository in Linux/Unix.
The examples I used are the settings for Kmud
but it should be easy to adapt it for other repositories.
First make sure that you have the cvs
Then set an environment variable (for bash: export
) named CVSROOT with the value
The account@.. means you'll connect as user "account". Change it to your username
of the account created for you. This is just a
CVS account, no real login to the machine. barney.cs.uni-potsdam.de is the CVS server
and /home/cvs/kmud the directory of the repository there.
To log in just type cvs login
. The password you are asked for is your chosen (or given) CVS
password. Note: this is nothing really top secret, with CVS nobody can really delete
something. It's always possible to restore files to an old state.
Now chose a subdirectory where you want to work on the sources. Go into
that directory and type cvs checkout kmud2
. This downloads a complete
new copy of the files. "kmud2" is the module called in the repository
(it's possible to create any number of modules). Now there should be a directory
and one named kmud2
. In kmud2
again a subdirectory CVS
and a number
of files. In the CVS
directories are some information stored for CVS. Do not
delete or change something there.
The files in the kmud2
directory are the ones of interest and which you can
modify now. If you want to apply changes of your local files to the CVS
repository, then type cvs commit
. You'll be in a vi-like editor (or whatever you set
as $EDITOR) where you can comment on what you have changed. Please always
do so (and describe exactly) so that others know what you did.
Now if somebody else changed something, and you want to have these changes in
your local directory, then type cvs update -dP
. That way all files (in the
directory where you are and below) will be synched with the server. This means
also that files which didn't exist before (either because they were added
to the cvs or you deleted them locally) will be created. So if you messed up
a file in a way that you wish you would have the original file again, then just
remove the file and make an update. This update should be done every time
you start working on the files and once before you commit changes.
When you created a new file and you want this file go into CVS, then type
cvs add file
. It will be sent to the CVS server with the next commit.
is the matching opposite to add. Before you can cvs remove a file
you have to delete it (physically, from harddisk) before.
Well, that are the main and most important commands. For paranoia-freaks there
is also a cvs logout
. After a cvs login your password will be stored in
~/.cvspass (only hashed, no strong encryption). But if you logout you have to login next
time again and because nobody can do much harm (other than making changes
as your account, which can be reverted) you can save the keystrokes and
keep logged in. Alternatively to the $CVSROOT environment variable you can
also set the option "-d :pserver:firstname.lastname@example.org:/home/cvs/kmud".
For more extended information there is the cvs manpage and a very good
There are graphical frontends for CVS. I know for example Cervisia
It's great for visualizing certain things (like what has changed between version
X and Y) but I prefer the command line tool for the day to day work.