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3. Starting a project with CVS

Because renaming files and moving them between directories is somewhat inconvenient, the first thing you do when you start a new project should be to think through your file organization. It is not impossible to rename or move files, but it does increase the potential for confusion and CVS does have some quirks particularly in the area of renaming directories. See section Moving and renaming files.

What to do next depends on the situation at hand.

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3.1 Setting up the files

The first step is to create the files inside the repository. This can be done in a couple of different ways.

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3.1.1 Creating a directory tree from a number of files

When you begin using CVS, you will probably already have several projects that can be put under CVS control. In these cases the easiest way is to use the import command. An example is probably the easiest way to explain how to use it. If the files you want to install in CVS reside in `wdir', and you want them to appear in the repository as `$CVSROOT/yoyodyne/rdir', you can do this:

$ cd wdir
$ cvs import -m "Imported sources" yoyodyne/rdir yoyo start

Unless you supply a log message with the `-m' flag, CVS starts an editor and prompts for a message. The string `yoyo' is a vendor tag, and `start' is a release tag. They may fill no purpose in this context, but since CVS requires them they must be present. See section Tracking third-party sources, for more information about them.

You can now verify that it worked, and remove your original source directory.

$ cd ..
$ cvs checkout yoyodyne/rdir       # Explanation below
$ diff -r wdir yoyodyne/rdir
$ rm -r wdir

Erasing the original sources is a good idea, to make sure that you do not accidentally edit them in wdir, bypassing CVS. Of course, it would be wise to make sure that you have a backup of the sources before you remove them.

The checkout command can either take a module name as argument (as it has done in all previous examples) or a path name relative to $CVSROOT, as it did in the example above.

It is a good idea to check that the permissions CVS sets on the directories inside $CVSROOT are reasonable, and that they belong to the proper groups. See section File permissions.

If some of the files you want to import are binary, you may want to use the wrappers features to specify which files are binary and which are not. See section The cvswrappers file.

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3.1.2 Creating Files From Other Version Control Systems

If you have a project which you are maintaining with another version control system, such as RCS, you may wish to put the files from that project into CVS, and preserve the revision history of the files.

From RCS

If you have been using RCS, find the RCS files--usually a file named `foo.c' will have its RCS file in `RCS/foo.c,v' (but it could be other places; consult the RCS documentation for details). Then create the appropriate directories in CVS if they do not already exist. Then copy the files into the appropriate directories in the CVS repository (the name in the repository must be the name of the source file with `,v' added; the files go directly in the appropriate directory of the repository, not in an `RCS' subdirectory). This is one of the few times when it is a good idea to access the CVS repository directly, rather than using CVS commands. Then you are ready to check out a new working directory.

The RCS file should not be locked when you move it into CVS; if it is, CVS will have trouble letting you operate on it.

From another version control system

Many version control systems have the ability to export RCS files in the standard format. If yours does, export the RCS files and then follow the above instructions.

Failing that, probably your best bet is to write a script that will check out the files one revision at a time using the command line interface to the other system, and then check the revisions into CVS. The `sccs2rcs' script mentioned below may be a useful example to follow.


There is a script in the `contrib' directory of the CVS source distribution called `sccs2rcs' which converts SCCS files to RCS files. Note: you must run it on a machine which has both SCCS and RCS installed, and like everything else in contrib it is unsupported (your mileage may vary).


There is a script in the `contrib' directory of the CVS source distribution called `pvcs_to_rcs' which converts PVCS archives to RCS files. You must run it on a machine which has both PVCS and RCS installed, and like everything else in contrib it is unsupported (your mileage may vary). See the comments in the script for details.

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3.1.3 Creating a directory tree from scratch

For a new project, the easiest thing to do is probably to create an empty directory structure, like this:

$ mkdir tc
$ mkdir tc/man
$ mkdir tc/testing

After that, you use the import command to create the corresponding (empty) directory structure inside the repository:

$ cd tc
$ cvs import -m "Created directory structure" yoyodyne/dir yoyo start

This will add yoyodyne/dir as a directory under $CVSROOT.

Use checkout to get the new project. Then, use add to add files (and new directories) as needed.

$ cd ..
$ cvs co yoyodyne/dir

Check that the permissions CVS sets on the directories inside $CVSROOT are reasonable.

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3.2 Defining the module

The next step is to define the module in the `modules' file. This is not strictly necessary, but modules can be convenient in grouping together related files and directories.

In simple cases these steps are sufficient to define a module.

  1. Get a working copy of the modules file.
    $ cvs checkout CVSROOT/modules
    $ cd CVSROOT
  2. Edit the file and insert a line that defines the module. See section The administrative files, for an introduction. See section The modules file, for a full description of the modules file. You can use the following line to define the module `tc':
    tc   yoyodyne/tc
  3. Commit your changes to the modules file.
    $ cvs commit -m "Added the tc module." modules
  4. Release the modules module.
    $ cd ..
    $ cvs release -d CVSROOT

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