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CVS Client/Server

This document describes the client/server protocol used by CVS. It does not describe how to use or administer client/server CVS; see the regular CVS manual for that. This is version 1.12.13 of the protocol specification—See Introduction, for more on what this version number means.


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1 Introduction

CVS is a version control system (with some additional configuration management functionality). It maintains a central repository which stores files (often source code), including past versions, information about who modified them and when, and so on. People who wish to look at or modify those files, known as developers, use CVS to check out a working directory from the repository, to check in new versions of files to the repository, and other operations such as viewing the modification history of a file. If developers are connected to the repository by a network, particularly a slow or flaky one, the most efficient way to use the network is with the CVS-specific protocol described in this document.

Developers, using the machine on which they store their working directory, run the CVS client program. To perform operations which cannot be done locally, it connects to the CVS server program, which maintains the repository. For more information on how to connect see Connection and Authentication.

This document describes the CVS protocol. Unfortunately, it does not yet completely document one aspect of the protocol—the detailed operation of each CVS command and option—and one must look at the CVS user documentation, cvs.texinfo, for that information. The protocol is non-proprietary (anyone who wants to is encouraged to implement it) and an implementation, known as CVS, is available under the GNU General Public License. The CVS distribution, containing this implementation, cvs.texinfo, and a copy (possibly more or less up to date than what you are reading now) of this document, cvsclient.texi, can be found at the usual GNU FTP sites, with a filename such as cvs-version.tar.gz.

This is version 1.12.13 of the protocol specification. This version number is intended only to aid in distinguishing different versions of this specification. Although the specification is currently maintained in conjunction with the CVS implementation, and carries the same version number, it also intends to document what is involved with interoperating with other implementations (such as other versions of CVS); see Requirements. This version number should not be used by clients or servers to determine what variant of the protocol to speak; they should instead use the valid-requests and Valid-responses mechanism (see Protocol), which is more flexible.


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2 Goals


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3 How to Connect to and Authenticate Oneself to the CVS server

Connection and authentication occurs before the CVS protocol itself is started. There are several ways to connect.

server
If the client has a way to execute commands on the server, and provide input to the commands and output from them, then it can connect that way. This could be the usual rsh (port 514) protocol, Kerberos rsh, SSH, or any similar mechanism. The client may allow the user to specify the name of the server program; the default is cvs. It is invoked with one argument, server. Once it invokes the server, the client proceeds to start the cvs protocol.
kserver
The kerberized server listens on a port (in the current implementation, by having inetd call "cvs kserver") which defaults to 1999. The client connects, sends the usual kerberos authentication information, and then starts the cvs protocol. Note: port 1999 is officially registered for another use, and in any event one cannot register more than one port for CVS, so GSS-API (see below) is recommended instead of kserver as a way to support kerberos.
pserver
The name pserver is somewhat confusing. It refers to both a generic framework which allows the CVS protocol to support several authentication mechanisms, and a name for a specific mechanism which transfers a username and a cleartext password. Servers need not support all mechanisms, and in fact servers will typically want to support only those mechanisms which meet the relevant security needs.

The pserver server listens on a port (in the current implementation, by having inetd call "cvs pserver") which defaults to 2401 (this port is officially registered). The client connects, and sends the following:

The client must send the identical string for cvs root both here and later in the Root request of the cvs protocol itself. Servers are encouraged to enforce this restriction. The possible server responses (each of which is followed by a linefeed) are the following. Note that although there is a small similarity between this authentication protocol and the cvs protocol, they are separate.

I LOVE YOU
The authentication is successful. The client proceeds with the cvs protocol itself.
I HATE YOU
The authentication fails. After sending this response, the server may close the connection. It is up to the server to decide whether to give this response, which is generic, or a more specific response using `E' and/or `error'.
E text
Provide a message for the user. After this reponse, the authentication protocol continues with another response. Typically the server will provide a series of `E' responses followed by `error'. Compatibility note: cvs 1.9.10 and older clients will print unrecognized auth response and text, and then exit, upon receiving this response.
error code text
The authentication fails. After sending this response, the server may close the connection. The code is a code describing why it failed, intended for computer consumption. The only code currently defined is `0' which is nonspecific, but clients must silently treat any unrecognized codes as nonspecific. The text should be supplied to the user. Compatibility note: cvs 1.9.10 and older clients will print unrecognized auth response and text, and then exit, upon receiving this response. Note that text for this response, or the text in an E response, is not designed for machine parsing. More vigorous use of code, or future extensions, will be needed to prove a cleaner machine-parseable indication of what the error was.

If the client wishes to merely authenticate without starting the cvs protocol, the procedure is the same, except BEGIN AUTH REQUEST is replaced with BEGIN VERIFICATION REQUEST, END AUTH REQUEST is replaced with END VERIFICATION REQUEST, and upon receipt of I LOVE YOU the connection is closed rather than continuing.

Another mechanism is GSSAPI authentication. GSSAPI is a generic interface to security services such as kerberos. GSSAPI is specified in RFC2078 (GSSAPI version 2) and RFC1508 (GSSAPI version 1); we are not aware of differences between the two which affect the protocol in incompatible ways, so we make no attempt to specify one version or the other. The procedure here is to start with `BEGIN GSSAPI REQUEST'. GSSAPI authentication information is then exchanged between the client and the server. Each packet of information consists of a two byte big endian length, followed by that many bytes of data. After the GSSAPI authentication is complete, the server continues with the responses described above (`I LOVE YOU', etc.).

future possibilities
There are a nearly unlimited number of ways to connect and authenticate. One might want to allow access based on IP address (similar to the usual rsh protocol but with different/no restrictions on ports < 1024), to adopt mechanisms such as Pluggable Authentication Modules (PAM), to allow users to run their own servers under their own usernames without root access, or any number of other possibilities. The way to add future mechanisms, for the most part, should be to continue to use port 2401, but to use different strings in place of `BEGIN AUTH REQUEST'.


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4 Password scrambling algorithm

The pserver authentication protocol, as described in Connection and Authentication, trivially encodes the passwords. This is only to prevent inadvertent compromise; it provides no protection against even a relatively unsophisticated attacker. For comparison, HTTP Basic Authentication (as described in RFC2068) uses BASE64 for a similar purpose. CVS uses its own algorithm, described here.

The scrambled password starts with `A', which serves to identify the scrambling algorithm in use. After that follows a single octet for each character in the password, according to a fixed encoding. The values are shown here, with the encoded values in decimal. Control characters, space, and characters outside the invariant ISO 646 character set are not shown; such characters are not recommended for use in passwords. There is a long discussion of character set issues in Protocol Notes.

             0 111           P 125           p  58
     ! 120   1  52   A  57   Q  55   a 121   q 113
     "  53   2  75   B  83   R  54   b 117   r  32
             3 119   C  43   S  66   c 104   s  90
             4  49   D  46   T 124   d 101   t  44
     % 109   5  34   E 102   U 126   e 100   u  98
     &  72   6  82   F  40   V  59   f  69   v  60
     ' 108   7  81   G  89   W  47   g  73   w  51
     (  70   8  95   H  38   X  92   h  99   x  33
     )  64   9  65   I 103   Y  71   i  63   y  97
     *  76   : 112   J  45   Z 115   j  94   z  62
     +  67   ;  86   K  50           k  93
     , 116   < 118   L  42           l  39
     -  74   = 110   M 123           m  37
     .  68   > 122   N  91           n  61
     /  87   ? 105   O  35   _  56   o  48


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5 The CVS client/server protocol

In the following, `\n' refers to a linefeed and `\t' refers to a horizontal tab; requests are what the client sends and responses are what the server sends. In general, the connection is governed by the client—the server does not send responses without first receiving requests to do so; see Response intro for more details of this convention.

It is typical, early in the connection, for the client to transmit a Valid-responses request, containing all the responses it supports, followed by a valid-requests request, which elicits from the server a Valid-requests response containing all the requests it understands. In this way, the client and server each find out what the other supports before exchanging large amounts of data (such as file contents).

General protocol conventions:

The protocol itself:

An example session, and some further observations:


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5.1 Entries Lines

Entries lines are transmitted as:

     / name / version / conflict / options / tag_or_date

tag_or_date is either `T' tag or `D' date or empty. If it is followed by a slash, anything after the slash shall be silently ignored.

version can be empty, or start with `0' or `-', for no user file, new user file, or user file to be removed, respectively.

conflict, if it starts with `+', indicates that the file had conflicts in it. The rest of conflict is `=' if the timestamp matches the file, or anything else if it doesn't. If conflict does not start with a `+', it is silently ignored.

options signifies the keyword expansion options (for example `-ko'). In an Entry request, this indicates the options that were specified with the file from the previous file updating response (see Response intro, for a list of file updating responses); if the client is specifying the `-k' or `-A' option to update, then it is the server which figures out what overrides what.


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5.2 File Modes

A mode is any number of repetitions of

     mode-type = data

separated by `,'.

mode-type is an identifier composed of alphanumeric characters. Currently specified: `u' for user, `g' for group, `o' for other (see below for discussion of whether these have their POSIX meaning or are more loose). Unrecognized values of mode-type are silently ignored.

data consists of any data not containing `,', `\0' or `\n'. For `u', `g', and `o' mode types, data consists of alphanumeric characters, where `r' means read, `w' means write, `x' means execute, and unrecognized letters are silently ignored.

The two most obvious ways in which the mode matters are: (1) is it writeable? This is used by the developer communication features, and is implemented even on OS/2 (and could be implemented on DOS), whose notion of mode is limited to a readonly bit. (2) is it executable? Unix CVS users need CVS to store this setting (for shell scripts and the like). The current CVS implementation on unix does a little bit more than just maintain these two settings, but it doesn't really have a nice general facility to store or version control the mode, even on unix, much less across operating systems with diverse protection features. So all the ins and outs of what the mode means across operating systems haven't really been worked out (e.g. should the VMS port use ACLs to get POSIX semantics for groups?).


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5.3 Conventions regarding transmission of file names

In most contexts, `/' is used to separate directory and file names in filenames, and any use of other conventions (for example, that the user might type on the command line) is converted to that form. The only exceptions might be a few cases in which the server provides a magic cookie which the client then repeats verbatim, but as the server has not yet been ported beyond unix, the two rules provide the same answer (and what to do if future server ports are operating on a repository like e:/foo or CVS_ROOT:[FOO.BAR] has not been carefully thought out).

Characters outside the invariant ISO 646 character set should be avoided in filenames. This restriction may need to be relaxed to allow for characters such as `[' and `]' (see above about non-unix servers); this has not been carefully considered (and currently implementations probably use whatever character sets that the operating systems they are running on allow, and/or that users specify). Of course the most portable practice is to restrict oneself further, to the POSIX portable filename character set as specified in POSIX.1.


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5.4 File transmissions

File contents (noted below as file transmission) can be sent in one of two forms. The simpler form is a number of bytes, followed by a linefeed, followed by the specified number of bytes of file contents. These are the entire contents of the specified file. Second, if both client and server support `gzip-file-contents', a `z' may precede the length, and the `file contents' sent are actually compressed with `gzip' (RFC1952/1951) compression. The length specified is that of the compressed version of the file.

In neither case are the file content followed by any additional data. The transmission of a file will end with a linefeed iff that file (or its compressed form) ends with a linefeed.

The encoding of file contents depends on the value for the `-k' option. If the file is binary (as specified by the `-kb' option in the appropriate place), then it is just a certain number of octets, and the protocol contributes nothing towards determining the encoding (using the file name is one widespread, if not universally popular, mechanism). If the file is text (not binary), then the file is sent as a series of lines, separated by linefeeds. If the keyword expansion is set to something other than `-ko', then it is expected that the file conform to the RCS expectations regarding keyword expansion—in particular, that it is in a character set such as ASCII in which 0x24 is a dollar sign (`$').


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5.5 Strings

In various contexts, for example the Argument request and the M response, one transmits what is essentially an arbitrary string. Often this will have been supplied by the user (for example, the `-m' option to the ci request). The protocol has no mechanism to specify the character set of such strings; it would be fairly safe to stick to the invariant ISO 646 character set but the existing practice is probably to just transmit whatever the user specifies, and hope that everyone involved agrees which character set is in use, or sticks to a common subset.


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5.6 Dates

The protocol contains times and dates in various places.

For the `-D' option to the annotate, co, diff, export, history, rannotate, rdiff, rtag, tag, and update requests, the server should support two formats:

     26 May 1997 13:01:40 -0000  ; RFC 822 as modified by RFC 1123
     5/26/1997 13:01:40 GMT    ; traditional

The former format is preferred; the latter however is sent by the CVS command line client (versions 1.5 through at least 1.9).

For the `-d' option to the log and rlog requests, servers should at least support RFC 822/1123 format. Clients are encouraged to use this format too (the command line CVS client, version 1.10 and older, just passed along the date format specified by the user, however).

The Mod-time response and Checkin-time request use RFC 822/1123 format (see the descriptions of that response and request for details).

For Notify, see the description of that request.


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5.7 Request intro

By convention, requests which begin with a capital letter do not elicit a response from the server, while all others do – save one. The exception is `gzip-file-contents'. Unrecognized requests will always elicit a response from the server, even if that request begins with a capital letter.

The term command means a request which expects a response (except valid-requests). The general model is that the client transmits a great number of requests, but nothing happens until the very end when the client transmits a command. Although the intention is that transmitting several commands in one connection should be legal, existing servers probably have some bugs with some combinations of more than one command, and so clients may find it necessary to make several connections in some cases. This should be thought of as a workaround rather than a desired attribute of the protocol.


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5.8 Requests

Here are the requests:

Root pathname \n
Response expected: no. Tell the server which CVSROOT to use. Note that pathname is a local directory and not a fully qualified CVSROOT variable. pathname must already exist; if creating a new root, use the init request, not Root. pathname does not include the hostname of the server, how to access the server, etc.; by the time the CVS protocol is in use, connection, authentication, etc., are already taken care of.

The Root request must be sent only once, and it must be sent before any requests other than Valid-responses, valid-requests, UseUnchanged, Set, Global_option, init, noop, or version.

Valid-responses request-list \n
Response expected: no. Tell the server what responses the client will accept. request-list is a space separated list of tokens. The Root request need not have been previously sent.
valid-requests \n
Response expected: yes. Ask the server to send back a Valid-requests response. The Root request need not have been previously sent.
Command-prep command \n
Response expected: yes. Notify the server of the command that we are leading up to. Intended to allow the server to send a redirect for write operations. Requires either an ok or Redirect respnose.
Referrer CVSROOT \n
Response expected: no. Notify a primary server of a server which referred us. Intended to allow a primary (write) server to update the read-only mirror a client is using for reads to minimize races on any subsequent updates from the client.
Directory local-directory \n
Relative-directory local-directory \n
Additional data: repository \n. Response expected: no. Tell the server what directory to use.

The repository should be a directory name from a previous server response and may be specified either relative to the pathname provided with the Root request or absolute. Relative or absolute, it must specify a path within pathname.

Prior to cvs version FIXME - release number 1.12.10?, repository had to be absolute and Relative-directory was not a valid request. The Relative-directory request is synonymous with Directory and is provided to alert modern clients that a relative repository is acceptable.

Note that this both gives a default for Entry and Modified and also for ci and the other commands; normal usage is to send Directory for each directory in which there will be an Entry or Modified, and then a final Directory for the original directory, then the command. The local-directory is relative to the top level at which the command is occurring (i.e. the last Directory which is sent before the command); to indicate that top level, `.' should be sent for local-directory.

Here is an example of where a client gets repository and local-directory. Suppose that there is a module defined by

          moddir 1dir
     

That is, one can check out moddir and it will take 1dir in the repository and check it out to moddir in the working directory. Then an initial check out could proceed like this:

          C: Root /home/kingdon/zwork/cvsroot
          . . .
          C: Argument moddir
          C: Directory .
          C: .
          C: co
          S: Clear-sticky moddir/
          S: 1dir/
          . . .
          S: ok
     

In this example the response shown is Clear-sticky, but it could be another response instead. Note that it returns two pathnames. The first one, moddir/, indicates the working directory to check out into. The second one, ending in 1dir/, indicates the directory to pass back to the server in a subsequent Directory request. For example, a subsequent update request might look like:

          C: Directory moddir
          C: 1dir
          . . .
          C: update
     

For a given local-directory, the repository will be the same for each of the responses, so one can use the repository from whichever response is most convenient. Typically a client will store the repository along with the sources for each local-directory, use that same setting whenever operating on that local-directory, and not update the setting as long as the local-directory exists.

A client is free to rename a local-directory at any time (for example, in response to an explicit user request). While it is true that the server supplies a local-directory to the client, as noted above, this is only the default place to put the directory. Of course, the various Directory requests for a single command (for example, update or ci request) should name a particular directory with the same local-directory.

Each Directory request specifies a brand-new local-directory and repository; that is, local-directory and repository are never relative to paths specified in any previous Directory request.

Here's a more complex example, in which we request an update of a working directory which has been checked out from multiple places in the repository.

          C: Argument dir1
          C: Directory dir1
          C: mod1
          . . .
          C: Argument dir2
          C: Directory dir2
          C: mod2
          . . .
          C: Argument dir3
          C: Directory dir3/subdir3
          C: mod3
          . . .
          C: update
     

While directories dir1 and dir2 will be handled in similar fashion to the other examples given above, dir3 is slightly different from the server's standpoint. Notice that module mod3 is actually checked out into dir3/subdir3, meaning that directory dir3 is either empty or does not contain data checked out from this repository.

The above example will work correctly in cvs 1.10.1 and later. The server will descend the tree starting from all directories mentioned in Argument requests and update those directories specifically mentioned in Directory requests.

Previous versions of cvs (1.10 and earlier) do not behave the same way. While the descent of the tree begins at all directories mentioned in Argument requests, descent into subdirectories only occurs if a directory has been mentioned in a Directory request. Therefore, the above example would succeed in updating dir1 and dir2, but would skip dir3 because that directory was not specifically mentioned in a Directory request. A functional version of the above that would run on a 1.10 or earlier server is as follows:

          C: Argument dir1
          C: Directory dir1
          C: mod1
          . . .
          C: Argument dir2
          C: Directory dir2
          C: mod2
          . . .
          C: Argument dir3
          C: Directory dir3
          C: .
          . . .
          C: Directory dir3/subdir3
          C: mod3
          . . .
          C: update
     

Note the extra Directory dir3 request. It might be better to use Emptydir as the repository for the dir3 directory, but the above will certainly work.

One more peculiarity of the 1.10 and earlier protocol is the ordering of Directory arguments. In order for a subdirectory to be registered correctly for descent by the recursion processor, its parent must be sent first. For example, the following would not work to update dir3/subdir3:

          . . .
          C: Argument dir3
          C: Directory dir3/subdir3
          C: mod3
          . . .
          C: Directory dir3
          C: .
          . . .
          C: update
     

The implementation of the server in 1.10 and earlier writes the administration files for a given directory at the time of the Directory request. It also tries to register the directory with its parent to mark it for recursion. In the above example, at the time dir3/subdir3 is created, the physical directory for dir3 will be created on disk, but the administration files will not have been created. Therefore, when the server tries to register dir3/subdir3 for recursion, the operation will silently fail because the administration files do not yet exist for dir3.

Max-dotdot level \n
Response expected: no. Tell the server that level levels of directories above the directory which Directory requests are relative to will be needed. For example, if the client is planning to use a Directory request for ../../foo, it must send a Max-dotdot request with a level of at least 2. Max-dotdot must be sent before the first Directory request.
Static-directory \n
Response expected: no. Tell the server that the directory most recently specified with Directory should not have additional files checked out unless explicitly requested. The client sends this if the Entries.Static flag is set, which is controlled by the Set-static-directory and Clear-static-directory responses.
Sticky tagspec \n
Response expected: no. Tell the server that the directory most recently specified with Directory has a sticky tag or date tagspec. The first character of tagspec is `T' for a tag, `D' for a date, or some other character supplied by a Set-sticky response from a previous request to the server. The remainder of tagspec contains the actual tag or date, again as supplied by Set-sticky.

The server should remember Static-directory and Sticky requests for a particular directory; the client need not resend them each time it sends a Directory request for a given directory. However, the server is not obliged to remember them beyond the context of a single command.

Checkin-prog program \n
Response expected: no. Tell the server that the directory most recently specified with Directory has a checkin program program. Such a program would have been previously set with the Set-checkin-prog response.
Update-prog program \n
Response expected: no. Tell the server that the directory most recently specified with Directory has an update program program. Such a program would have been previously set with the Set-update-prog response.
Entry entry-line \n
Response expected: no. Tell the server what version of a file is on the local machine. The name in entry-line is a name relative to the directory most recently specified with Directory. If the user is operating on only some files in a directory, Entry requests for only those files need be included. If an Entry request is sent without Modified, Is-modified, or Unchanged, it means the file is lost (does not exist in the working directory). If both Entry and one of Modified, Is-modified, or Unchanged are sent for the same file, Entry must be sent first. For a given file, one can send Modified, Is-modified, or Unchanged, but not more than one of these three.
Kopt option \n
This indicates to the server which keyword expansion options to use for the file specified by the next Modified or Is-modified request (for example `-kb' for a binary file). This is similar to Entry, but is used for a file for which there is no entries line. Typically this will be a file being added via an add or import request. The client may not send both Kopt and Entry for the same file.
Checkin-time time \n
For the file specified by the next Modified request, use time as the time of the checkin. The time is in the format specified by RFC822 as modified by RFC1123. The client may specify any timezone it chooses; servers will want to convert that to their own timezone as appropriate. An example of this format is:
          26 May 1997 13:01:40 -0400
     

There is no requirement that the client and server clocks be synchronized. The client just sends its recommendation for a timestamp (based on file timestamps or whatever), and the server should just believe it (this means that the time might be in the future, for example).

Note that this is not a general-purpose way to tell the server about the timestamp of a file; that would be a separate request (if there are servers which can maintain timestamp and time of checkin separately).

This request should affect the import request, and may optionally affect the ci request or other relevant requests if any.

Modified filename \n
Response expected: no. Additional data: mode, \n, file transmission. Send the server a copy of one locally modified file. filename is a file within the most recent directory sent with Directory; it must not contain `/'. If the user is operating on only some files in a directory, only those files need to be included. This can also be sent without Entry, if there is no entry for the file.
Is-modified filename \n
Response expected: no. Additional data: none. Like Modified, but used if the server only needs to know whether the file is modified, not the contents.

The commands which can take Is-modified instead of Modified with no known change in behavior are: admin, diff (if and only if two `-r' or `-D' options are specified), watch-on, watch-off, watch-add, watch-remove, watchers, editors, log, and annotate.

For the status command, one can send Is-modified but if the client is using imperfect mechanisms such as timestamps to determine whether to consider a file modified, then the behavior will be different. That is, if one sends Modified, then the server will actually compare the contents of the file sent and the one it derives from to determine whether the file is genuinely modified. But if one sends Is-modified, then the server takes the client's word for it. A similar situation exists for tag, if the `-c' option is specified.

Commands for which Modified is necessary are co, ci, update, and import.

Commands which do not need to inform the server about a working directory, and thus should not be sending either Modified or Is-modified: rdiff, rtag, history, init, and release.

Commands for which further investigation is warranted are: remove, add, and export. Pending such investigation, the more conservative course of action is to stick to Modified.

Unchanged filename \n
Response expected: no. Tell the server that filename has not been modified in the checked out directory. The filename is a file within the most recent directory sent with Directory; it must not contain `/'.
UseUnchanged \n
Response expected: no. To specify the version of the protocol described in this document, servers must support this request (although it need not do anything) and clients must issue it. The Root request need not have been previously sent.
Notify filename \n
Response expected: no. Tell the server that an edit or unedit command has taken place. The server needs to send a Notified response, but such response is deferred until the next time that the server is sending responses. The filename is a file within the most recent directory sent with Directory; it must not contain `/'. Additional data:
          notification-type \t time \t clienthost \t
          working-dir \t watches \n
     

where notification-type is `E' for edit, `U' for unedit, undefined behavior if `C', and all other letters should be silently ignored for future expansion. time is the time at which the edit or unedit took place, in a user-readable format of the client's choice (the server should treat the time as an opaque string rather than interpreting it). clienthost is the name of the host on which the edit or unedit took place, and working-dir is the pathname of the working directory where the edit or unedit took place. watches are the temporary watches, zero or more of the following characters in the following order: `E' for edit, `U' for unedit, `C' for commit, and all other letters should be silently ignored for future expansion. If notification-type is `E' the temporary watches are set; if it is `U' they are cleared. If watches is followed by \t then the \t and the rest of the line should be ignored, for future expansion.

The time, clienthost, and working-dir fields may not contain the characters `+', `,', `>', `;', or `='.

Note that a client may be capable of performing an edit or unedit operation without connecting to the server at that time, and instead connecting to the server when it is convenient (for example, when a laptop is on the net again) to send the Notify requests. Even if a client is capable of deferring notifications, it should attempt to send them immediately (one can send Notify requests together with a noop request, for example), unless perhaps if it can know that a connection would be impossible.

Questionable filename \n
Response expected: no. Additional data: no. Tell the server to check whether filename should be ignored, and if not, next time the server sends responses, send (in a M response) `?' followed by the directory and filename. filename must not contain `/'; it needs to be a file in the directory named by the most recent Directory request.
Case \n
Response expected: no. Tell the server that filenames should be matched in a case-insensitive fashion. Note that this is not the primary mechanism for achieving case-insensitivity; for the most part the client keeps track of the case which the server wants to use and takes care to always use that case regardless of what the user specifies. For example the filenames given in Entry and Modified requests for the same file must match in case regardless of whether the Case request is sent. The latter mechanism is more general (it could also be used for 8.3 filenames, VMS filenames with more than one `.', and any other situation in which there is a predictable mapping between filenames in the working directory and filenames in the protocol), but there are some situations it cannot handle (ignore patterns, or situations where the user specifies a filename and the client does not know about that file).

Though this request will be supported into the forseeable future, it has been the source of numerous bug reports in the past due to the complexity of testing this functionality via the test suite and client developers are encouraged not to use it. Instead, please consider munging conflicting names and maintaining a map for communicating with the server. For example, suppose the server sends files case, CASE, and CaSe. The client could write all three files to names such as, case, case_prefix_case, and case_prefix_2_case and maintain a mapping between the file names in, for instance a new CVS/Map file.

Argument text \n
Response expected: no. Save argument for use in a subsequent command. Arguments accumulate until an argument-using command is given, at which point they are forgotten.
Argumentx text \n
Response expected: no. Append \n followed by text to the current argument being saved.
Global_option option \n
Response expected: no. Transmit one of the global options `-q', `-Q', `-l', `-t', `-r', or `-n'. option must be one of those strings, no variations (such as combining of options) are allowed. For graceful handling of valid-requests, it is probably better to make new global options separate requests, rather than trying to add them to this request. The Root request need not have been previously sent.
Gzip-stream level \n
Response expected: no. Use zlib (RFC 1950/1951) compression to compress all further communication between the client and the server. As of cvs 1.12.13, this request needs to be sent as the first non-rootless request if the server is configured with compression level restrictions and level is outside the restricted range. After this request is sent, all further communication must be compressed. All further data received from the server will also be compressed. The level argument suggests to the server the level of compression that it should apply; it should be an integer between 0 and 9, inclusive, where `0' means no compression and higher numbers indicate more compression.
Kerberos-encrypt \n
Response expected: no. Use Kerberos encryption to encrypt all further communication between the client and the server. This will only work if the connection was made over Kerberos in the first place. If both the Gzip-stream and the Kerberos-encrypt requests are used, the Kerberos-encrypt request should be used first. This will make the client and server encrypt the compressed data, as opposed to compressing the encrypted data. Encrypted data is generally incompressible.

Note that this request does not fully prevent an attacker from hijacking the connection, in the sense that it does not prevent hijacking the connection between the initial authentication and the Kerberos-encrypt request.

Gssapi-encrypt \n
Response expected: no. Use GSSAPI encryption to encrypt all further communication between the client and the server. This will only work if the connection was made over GSSAPI in the first place. See Kerberos-encrypt, above, for the relation between Gssapi-encrypt and Gzip-stream.

Note that this request does not fully prevent an attacker from hijacking the connection, in the sense that it does not prevent hijacking the connection between the initial authentication and the Gssapi-encrypt request.

Gssapi-authenticate \n
Response expected: no. Use GSSAPI authentication to authenticate all further communication between the client and the server. This will only work if the connection was made over GSSAPI in the first place. Encrypted data is automatically authenticated, so using both Gssapi-authenticate and Gssapi-encrypt has no effect beyond that of Gssapi-encrypt. Unlike encrypted data, it is reasonable to compress authenticated data.

Note that this request does not fully prevent an attacker from hijacking the connection, in the sense that it does not prevent hijacking the connection between the initial authentication and the Gssapi-authenticate request.

Set variable=value \n
Response expected: no. Set a user variable variable to value. The Root request need not have been previously sent.
Hostname hostname \n
Response expected: no. Set the client hostname for an upcoming edit request.
LocalDir hostname \n
Response expected: no. Set the local client directory name for an upcoming edit request.
expand-modules \n
Response expected: yes. Expand the modules which are specified in the arguments. Returns the data in Module-expansion responses. Note that the server can assume that this is checkout or export, not rtag or rdiff; the latter do not access the working directory and thus have no need to expand modules on the client side.

Expand may not be the best word for what this request does. It does not necessarily tell you all the files contained in a module, for example. Basically it is a way of telling you which working directories the server needs to know about in order to handle a checkout of the specified modules.

For example, suppose that the server has a module defined by

          aliasmodule -a 1dir
     

That is, one can check out aliasmodule and it will take 1dir in the repository and check it out to 1dir in the working directory. Now suppose the client already has this module checked out and is planning on using the co request to update it. Without using expand-modules, the client would have two bad choices: it could either send information about all working directories under the current directory, which could be unnecessarily slow, or it could be ignorant of the fact that aliasmodule stands for 1dir, and neglect to send information for 1dir, which would lead to incorrect operation.

With expand-modules, the client would first ask for the module to be expanded:

          C: Root /home/kingdon/zwork/cvsroot
          . . .
          C: Argument aliasmodule
          C: Directory .
          C: .
          C: expand-modules
          S: Module-expansion 1dir
          S: ok
     

and then it knows to check the 1dir directory and send requests such as Entry and Modified for the files in that directory.

ci \n
diff \n
list \n
tag \n
status \n
admin \n
history \n
watchers \n
editors \n
annotate \n
Response expected: yes. Actually do a cvs command. This uses any previous Argument, Directory, Entry, or Modified requests, if they have been sent. The last Directory sent specifies the working directory at the time of the operation. No provision is made for any input from the user. This means that ci must use a -m argument if it wants to specify a log message.
log \n
Response expected: yes. Show information for past revisions. This uses any previous Directory, Entry, or Modified requests, if they have been sent. The last Directory sent specifies the working directory at the time of the operation. Also uses previous Argument's of which the canonical forms are the following (cvs 1.10 and older clients sent what the user specified, but clients are encouraged to use the canonical forms and other forms are deprecated):
-b, -h, -l, -N, -R, -t
These options go by themselves, one option per Argument request.
-d date1<date2
Select revisions between date1 and date2. Either date may be omitted in which case there is no date limit at that end of the range (clients may specify dates such as 1 Jan 1970 or 1 Jan 2038 for similar purposes but this is problematic as it makes assumptions about what dates the server supports). Dates are in RFC822/1123 format. The `-d' is one Argument request and the date range is a second one.
-d date1<=date2
Likewise but compare dates for equality.
-d singledate
Select the single, latest revision dated singledate or earlier.

To include several date ranges and/or singledates, repeat the `-d' option as many times as necessary.

-rrev1:rev2
-rbranch
-rbranch.
-r
Specify revisions (note that rev1 or rev2 can be omitted, or can refer to branches). Send both the `-r' and the revision information in a single Argument request. To include several revision selections, repeat the `-r' option.
-s state
-w
-wlogin
Select on states or users. To include more than one state or user, repeat the option. Send the `-s' option as a separate argument from the state being selected. Send the `-w' option as part of the same argument as the user being selected.

co \n
Response expected: yes. Get files from the repository. This uses any previous Argument, Directory, Entry, or Modified requests, if they have been sent. Arguments to this command are module names; the client cannot know what directories they correspond to except by (1) just sending the co request, and then seeing what directory names the server sends back in its responses, and (2) the expand-modules request.
export \n
Response expected: yes. Get files from the repository. This uses any previous Argument, Directory, Entry, or Modified requests, if they have been sent. Arguments to this command are module names, as described for the co request. The intention behind this command is that a client can get sources from a server without storing CVS information about those sources. That is, a client probably should not count on being able to take the entries line returned in the Created response from an export request and send it in a future Entry request. Note that the entries line in the Created response must indicate whether the file is binary or text, so the client can create it correctly.
ls \n
rannotate \n
rdiff \n
rlist \n
rlog \n
rtag \n
Response expected: yes. Actually do a cvs command. This uses any previous Argument requests, if they have been sent. The client should not send Directory, Entry, or Modified requests for these commands; they are not used. Arguments to these commands are module names, as described for co. ls is a synonym for rlist, for compatibility with CVSNT.
init root-name \n
Response expected: yes. If it doesn't already exist, create a cvs repository root-name. Note that root-name is a local directory and not a fully qualified CVSROOT variable. The Root request need not have been previously sent.
update \n
Response expected: yes. Actually do a cvs update command. This uses any previous Argument, Directory, Entry, or Modified requests, if they have been sent. The last Directory sent specifies the working directory at the time of the operation. The -I option is not used–files which the client can decide whether to ignore are not mentioned and the client sends the Questionable request for others.
import \n
Response expected: yes. Actually do a cvs import command. This uses any previous Argument, Directory, Entry, or Modified requests, if they have been sent. The last Directory sent specifies the working directory at the time of the operation - unlike most commands, the repository field of each Directory request is ignored (it merely must point somewhere within the root). The files to be imported are sent in Modified requests (files which the client knows should be ignored are not sent; the server must still process the CVSROOT/cvsignore file unless -I ! is sent). A log message must have been specified with a -m argument.
add \n
Response expected: yes. Add a file or directory. This uses any previous Argument, Directory, Entry, or Modified requests, if they have been sent. The last Directory sent specifies the working directory at the time of the operation.

To add a directory, send the directory to be added using Directory and Argument requests. For example:

          C: Root /u/cvsroot
          . . .
          C: Argument nsdir
          C: Directory nsdir
          C: 1dir/nsdir
          C: Directory .
          C: 1dir
          C: add
          S: M Directory /u/cvsroot/1dir/nsdir put under version control
          S: ok
     

You will notice that the server does not signal to the client in any particular way that the directory has been successfully added. The client is supposed to just assume that the directory has been added and update its records accordingly. Note also that adding a directory is immediate; it does not wait until a ci request as files do.

To add a file, send the file to be added using a Modified request. For example:

          C: Argument nfile
          C: Directory .
          C: 1dir
          C: Modified nfile
          C: u=rw,g=r,o=r
          C: 6
          C: hello
          C: add
          S: E cvs server: scheduling file `nfile' for addition
          S: Mode u=rw,g=r,o=r
          S: Checked-in ./
          S: /u/cvsroot/1dir/nfile
          S: /nfile/0///
          S: E cvs server: use 'cvs commit' to add this file permanently
          S: ok
     

Note that the file has not been added to the repository; the only effect of a successful add request, for a file, is to supply the client with a new entries line containing `0' to indicate an added file. In fact, the client probably could perform this operation without contacting the server, although using add does cause the server to perform a few more checks.

The client sends a subsequent ci to actually add the file to the repository.

Another quirk of the add request is that with CVS 1.9 and older, a pathname specified in an Argument request cannot contain `/'. There is no good reason for this restriction, and in fact more recent CVS servers don't have it. But the way to interoperate with the older servers is to ensure that all Directory requests for add (except those used to add directories, as described above), use `.' for local-directory. Specifying another string for local-directory may not get an error, but it will get you strange Checked-in responses from the buggy servers.

remove \n
Response expected: yes. Remove a file. This uses any previous Argument, Directory, Entry, or Modified requests, if they have been sent. The last Directory sent specifies the working directory at the time of the operation.

Note that this request does not actually do anything to the repository; the only effect of a successful remove request is to supply the client with a new entries line containing `-' to indicate a removed file. In fact, the client probably could perform this operation without contacting the server, although using remove may cause the server to perform a few more checks.

The client sends a subsequent ci request to actually record the removal in the repository.

edit \n
Response expected: yes. Actually do the cvs edit command. This uses any previous Argument, Directory, Entry, LocalDir, or Hostname requests, if they have been sent. Unless the user has requested that edits not be granted unless no one else is editing a file, a local edit followed by an attempt to send Notify requests to the server is preferred.
watch-on \n
watch-off \n
watch-add \n
watch-remove \n
Response expected: yes. Actually do the cvs watch on, cvs watch off, cvs watch add, and cvs watch remove commands, respectively. This uses any previous Argument, Directory, Entry, or Modified requests, if they have been sent. The last Directory sent specifies the working directory at the time of the operation.
release \n
Response expected: yes. Note that a cvs release command has taken place and update the history file accordingly.
global-list-quiet \n
Response expected: yes. This request is a synonym for noop, but its existance notifies the client that a -q option to list and rlist will be rejected. This, in a reverse-logic sort of way, is here so that when it isn't received, as for instance from CVSNT, the client will know that the quiet option has to be sent as a command option rather than a global option.
noop \n
Response expected: yes. This request is a null command in the sense that it doesn't do anything, but merely (as with any other requests expecting a response) sends back any responses pertaining to pending errors, pending Notified responses, etc. The Root request need not have been previously sent.
update-patches \n
Response expected: yes. This request does not actually do anything. It is used as a signal that the server is able to generate patches when given an update request. The client must issue the -u argument to update in order to receive patches.
gzip-file-contents level \n
Response expected: no. Note that this request does not follow the response convention stated above. Gzip-stream is suggested instead of gzip-file-contents as it gives better compression; the only reason to implement the latter is to provide compression with cvs 1.8 and earlier. The gzip-file-contents request asks the server to compress files it sends to the client using gzip (RFC1952/1951) compression, using the specified level of compression. If this request is not made, the server must not compress files.

This is only a hint to the server. It may still decide (for example, in the case of very small files, or files that already appear to be compressed) not to do the compression. Compression is indicated by a `z' preceding the file length.

Availability of this request in the server indicates to the client that it may compress files sent to the server, regardless of whether the client actually uses this request.

wrapper-sendme-rcsOptions \n
Response expected: yes. Request that the server transmit mappings from filenames to keyword expansion modes in Wrapper-rcsOption responses.
version \n
Response expected: yes. Request that the server transmit its version message. The Root request need not have been previously sent.
suck \n
Response expected: yes. Actually do a cvs command. This uses a previous Argument request (only one, because the cvs command takes only one). This is a MirBSD/MirPorts and Debian specific extension.
other-request text \n
Response expected: yes. Any unrecognized request expects a response, and does not contain any additional data. The response will normally be something like `error unrecognized request', but it could be a different error if a previous request which doesn't expect a response produced an error.

When the client is done, it drops the connection.


Next: , Previous: Requests, Up: Protocol

5.9 Introduction to Responses

After a command which expects a response, the server sends however many of the following responses are appropriate. The server should not send data at other times (the current implementation may violate this principle in a few minor places, where the server is printing an error message and exiting—this should be investigated further).

Any set of responses always ends with `error' or `ok'. This indicates that the response is over.

The responses Checked-in, New-entry, Updated, Created, Update-existing, Merged, and Patched are refered to as file updating responses, because they change the status of a file in the working directory in some way. The responses Mode, Mod-time, and Checksum are referred to as file update modifying responses because they modify the next file updating response. In no case shall a file update modifying response apply to a file updating response other than the next one. Nor can the same file update modifying response occur twice for a given file updating response (if servers diagnose this problem, it may aid in detecting the case where clients send an update modifying response without following it by a file updating response).


Next: , Previous: Response intro, Up: Protocol

5.10 The "pathname" in responses

Many of the responses contain something called pathname. The name is somewhat misleading; it actually indicates a pair of pathnames. First, a local directory name relative to the directory in which the command was given (i.e. the last Directory before the command). Then a linefeed and a repository name. Then a slash and the filename (without a `,v' ending).

The repository name may be absolute or relative to the pathname sent with the Root request. If absolute, the repository name must begin with the pathname sent with the Root request. Relative or absolute, the repository name must specify a path underneath the Root pathname.

For example, for a file i386.mh which is in the local directory gas.clean/config and for which the repository name is devo/gas/config:

     gas.clean/config/
     devo/gas/config/i386.mh

If the server wants to tell the client to create a directory, then it merely uses the directory in any response, as described above, and the client should create the directory if it does not exist. Note that this should only be done one directory at a time, in order to permit the client to correctly store the repository for each directory. Servers can use requests such as Clear-sticky, Clear-static-directory, or any other requests, to create directories.

Some server implementations may poorly distinguish between a directory which should not exist and a directory which contains no files; in order to refrain from creating empty directories a client should both send the `-P' option to update or co, and should also detect the case in which the server asks to create a directory but not any files within it (in that case the client should remove the directory or refrain from creating it in the first place). Note that servers could clean this up greatly by only telling the client to create directories if the directory in question should exist, but until servers do this, clients will need to offer the `-P' behavior described above.


Next: , Previous: Response pathnames, Up: Protocol

5.11 Responses

Here are the responses:

Valid-requests request-list \n
Indicate what requests the server will accept. request-list is a space separated list of tokens. If the server supports sending patches, it will include `update-patches' in this list. The `update-patches' request does not actually do anything.
Force-gzip \n
Response expected: no. Indicates that the server requires compression. The client must send a Gzip-stream request, though the requested level may be `0'.
Referrer CVSROOT
Request that the client store CVSROOT as the name of this server and that this name be passed via a Referrer request to any subsequent servers contacted as a result of a Redirect response. This can be useful to allow the secondary administrator to configure the CVSROOT the primary should use to update the secondary in case the client uses a non-standard name or even a name that is unique to the client for some reason.
Redirect CVSROOT
Request that the client redirect its connection to CVSROOT and begin again. This response is only valid in response to a Command-prep request. If a client receives this response, it is expected to notify the write server it subsequently contacts of the CVSROOT of the server which redirected it using the `Referrer' request. This information makes it possible for primary servers to update the client's mirror first, hopefully minimizing race conditions on subsequent updates from the same client.
Checked-in pathname \n
Additional data: New Entries line, \n. This means a file pathname has been successfully operated on (checked in, added, etc.). name in the Entries line is the same as the last component of pathname.
New-entry pathname \n
Additional data: New Entries line, \n. Like Checked-in, but the file is not up to date.
Updated pathname \n
Additional data: New Entries line, \n, mode, \n, file transmission. A new copy of the file is enclosed. This is used for a new revision of an existing file, or for a new file, or for any other case in which the local (client-side) copy of the file needs to be updated, and after being updated it will be up to date. If any directory in pathname does not exist, create it. This response is not used if Created and Update-existing are supported.
Created pathname \n
This is just like Updated and takes the same additional data, but is used only if no Entry, Modified, or Unchanged request has been sent for the file in question. The distinction between Created and Update-existing is so that the client can give an error message in several cases: (1) there is a file in the working directory, but not one for which Entry, Modified, or Unchanged was sent (for example, a file which was ignored, or a file for which Questionable was sent), (2) there is a file in the working directory whose name differs from the one mentioned in Created in ways that the client is unable to use to distinguish files. For example, the client is case-insensitive and the names differ only in case.
Update-existing pathname \n
This is just like Updated and takes the same additional data, but is used only if a Entry, Modified, or Unchanged request has been sent for the file in question.

This response, or Merged, indicates that the server has determined that it is OK to overwrite the previous contents of the file specified by pathname. Provided that the client has correctly sent Modified or Is-modified requests for a modified file, and the file was not modified while CVS was running, the server can ensure that a user's modifications are not lost.

Merged pathname \n
This is just like Updated and takes the same additional data, with the one difference that after the new copy of the file is enclosed, it will still not be up to date. Used for the results of a merge, with or without conflicts.

It is useful to preserve an copy of what the file looked like before the merge. This is basically handled by the server; before sending Merged it will send a Copy-file response. For example, if the file is aa and it derives from revision 1.3, the Copy-file response will tell the client to copy aa to .#aa.1.3. It is up to the client to decide how long to keep this file around; traditionally clients have left it around forever, thus letting the user clean it up as desired. But another answer, such as until the next commit, might be preferable.

Rcs-diff pathname \n
This is just like Updated and takes the same additional data, with the one difference that instead of sending a new copy of the file, the server sends an RCS change text. This change text is produced by `diff -n' (the GNU diff `-a' option may also be used). The client must apply this change text to the existing file. This will only be used when the client has an exact copy of an earlier revision of a file. This response is only used if the update command is given the `-u' argument.
Patched pathname \n
This is just like Rcs-diff and takes the same additional data, except that it sends a standard patch rather than an RCS change text. The patch is produced by `diff -c' for cvs 1.6 and later (see POSIX.2 for a description of this format), or `diff -u' for previous versions of cvs; clients are encouraged to accept either format. Like Rcs-diff, this response is only used if the update command is given the `-u' argument.

The Patched response is deprecated in favor of the Rcs-diff response. However, older clients (CVS 1.9 and earlier) only support Patched.

Edit-file pathname \n
Do the client-side portion of editing a file.
Mode mode \n
This mode applies to the next file mentioned in Checked-in. Mode is a file update modifying response as described in Response intro.
Mod-time time \n
Set the modification time of the next file sent to time. Mod-time is a file update modifying response as described in Response intro. The time is in the format specified by RFC822 as modified by RFC1123. The server may specify any timezone it chooses; clients will want to convert that to their own timezone as appropriate. An example of this format is:
          26 May 1997 13:01:40 -0400
     

There is no requirement that the client and server clocks be synchronized. The server just sends its recommendation for a timestamp (based on its own clock, presumably), and the client should just believe it (this means that the time might be in the future, for example).

If the server does not send Mod-time for a given file, the client should pick a modification time in the usual way (usually, just let the operating system set the modification time to the time that the CVS command is running).

Checksum checksum\n
The checksum applies to the next file sent (that is, Checksum is a file update modifying response as described in Response intro). In the case of Patched, the checksum applies to the file after being patched, not to the patch itself. The client should compute the checksum itself, after receiving the file or patch, and signal an error if the checksums do not match. The checksum is the 128 bit MD5 checksum represented as 32 hex digits (MD5 is described in RFC1321). This response is optional, and is only used if the client supports it (as judged by the Valid-responses request).
Copy-file pathname \n
Additional data: newname \n. Copy file pathname to newname in the same directory where it already is. This does not affect CVS/Entries.

This can optionally be implemented as a rename instead of a copy. The only use for it which currently has been identified is prior to a Merged response as described under Merged. Clients can probably assume that is how it is being used, if they want to worry about things like how long to keep the newname file around.

Removed pathname \n
The file has been removed from the repository (this is the case where cvs prints `file foobar.c is no longer pertinent').
Remove-entry pathname \n
The file needs its entry removed from CVS/Entries, but the file itself is already gone (this happens in response to a ci request which involves committing the removal of a file).
Set-static-directory pathname \n
This instructs the client to set the Entries.Static flag, which it should then send back to the server in a Static-directory request whenever the directory is operated on. pathname ends in a slash; its purpose is to specify a directory, not a file within a directory.
Clear-static-directory pathname \n
Like Set-static-directory, but clear, not set, the flag.
Set-sticky pathname \n
Additional data: tagspec \n. Tell the client to set a sticky tag or date, which should be supplied with the Sticky request for future operations. pathname ends in a slash; its purpose is to specify a directory, not a file within a directory. The client should store tagspec and pass it back to the server as-is, to allow for future expansion. The first character of tagspec is `T' for a tag, `D' for a date, or something else for future expansion. The remainder of tagspec contains the actual tag or date.
Clear-sticky pathname \n
Clear any sticky tag or date set by Set-sticky.
Template pathname \n
Additional data: file transmission (note: compressed file transmissions are not supported). pathname ends in a slash; its purpose is to specify a directory, not a file within a directory. Tell the client to store the file transmission as the template log message, and then use that template in the future when prompting the user for a log message.
Set-checkin-prog dir \n
Additional data: prog \n. Tell the client to set a checkin program, which should be supplied with the Checkin-prog request for future operations.
Set-update-prog dir \n
Additional data: prog \n. Tell the client to set an update program, which should be supplied with the Update-prog request for future operations.
Notified pathname \n
Indicate to the client that the notification for pathname has been done. There should be one such response for every Notify request; if there are several Notify requests for a single file, the requests should be processed in order; the first Notified response pertains to the first Notify request, etc.
Module-expansion pathname \n
Return a file or directory which is included in a particular module. pathname is relative to cvsroot, unlike most pathnames in responses. pathname should be used to look and see whether some or all of the module exists on the client side; it is not necessarily suitable for passing as an argument to a co request (for example, if the modules file contains the `-d' option, it will be the directory specified with `-d', not the name of the module).
Wrapper-rcsOption pattern -k 'option' \n
Transmit to the client a filename pattern which implies a certain keyword expansion mode. The pattern is a wildcard pattern (for example, `*.exe'. The option is `b' for binary, and so on. Note that although the syntax happens to resemble the syntax in certain CVS configuration files, it is more constrained; there must be exactly one space between pattern and `-k' and exactly one space between `-k' and `'', and no string is permitted in place of `-k' (extensions should be done with new responses, not by extending this one, for graceful handling of Valid-responses).
M text \n
A one-line message for the user. Note that the format of text is not designed for machine parsing. Although sometimes scripts and clients will have little choice, the exact text which is output is subject to vary at the discretion of the server and the example output given in this document is just that, example output. Servers are encouraged to use the `MT' response, and future versions of this document will hopefully standardize more of the `MT' tags; see Text tags.
Mbinary \n
Additional data: file transmission (note: compressed file transmissions are not supported). This is like `M', except the contents of the file transmission are binary and should be copied to standard output without translation to local text file conventions. To transmit a text file to standard output, servers should use a series of `M' requests.
E text \n
Same as M but send to stderr not stdout.
F \n
Flush stderr. That is, make it possible for the user to see what has been written to stderr (it is up to the implementation to decide exactly how far it should go to ensure this).
MT tagname data \n
This response provides for tagged text. It is similar to SGML/HTML/XML in that the data is structured and a naive application can also make some sense of it without understanding the structure. The syntax is not SGML-like, however, in order to fit into the CVS protocol better and (more importantly) to make it easier to parse, especially in a language like perl or awk.

The tagname can have several forms. If it starts with `a' to `z' or `A' to `Z', then it represents tagged text. If the implementation recognizes tagname, then it may interpret data in some particular fashion. If the implementation does not recognize tagname, then it should simply treat data as text to be sent to the user (similar to an `M' response). There are two tags which are general purpose. The `text' tag is similar to an unrecognized tag in that it provides text which will ordinarily be sent to the user. The `newline' tag is used without data and indicates that a newline will ordinarily be sent to the user (there is no provision for embedding newlines in the data of other tagged text responses).

If tagname starts with `+' it indicates a start tag and if it starts with `-' it indicates an end tag. The remainder of tagname should be the same for matching start and end tags, and tags should be nested (for example one could have tags in the following order +bold +italic text -italic -bold but not +bold +italic text -bold -italic). A particular start and end tag may be documented to constrain the tagged text responses which are valid between them.

Note that if data is present there will always be exactly one space between tagname and data; if there is more than one space, then the spaces beyond the first are part of data.

Here is an example of some tagged text responses. Note that there is a trailing space after `Checking in' and `initial revision:' and there are two trailing spaces after `<--'. Such trailing spaces are, of course, part of data.

          MT +checking-in
          MT text Checking in
          MT fname gz.tst
          MT text ;
          MT newline
          MT rcsfile /home/kingdon/zwork/cvsroot/foo/gz.tst,v
          MT text   <--
          MT fname gz.tst
          MT newline
          MT text initial revision:
          MT init-rev 1.1
          MT newline
          MT text done
          MT newline
          MT -checking-in
     

If the client does not support the `MT' response, the same responses might be sent as:

          M Checking in gz.tst;
          M /home/kingdon/zwork/cvsroot/foo/gz.tst,v  <--  gz.tst
          M initial revision: 1.1
          M done
     

For a list of specific tags, see Text tags.

error errno-code ` ' text \n
The command completed with an error. errno-code is a symbolic error code (e.g. ENOENT); if the server doesn't support this feature, or if it's not appropriate for this particular message, it just omits the errno-code (in that case there are two spaces after `error'). Text is an error message such as that provided by strerror(), or any other message the server wants to use. The text is like the M response, in the sense that it is not particularly intended to be machine-parsed; servers may wish to print an error message with MT responses, and then issue a error response without text (although it should be noted that MT currently has no way of flagging the output as intended for standard error, the way that the E response does).
ok \n
The command completed successfully.


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5.12 Tags for the MT tagged text response

The MT response, as described in Responses, offers a way for the server to send tagged text to the client. This section describes specific tags. The intention is to update this section as servers add new tags.

In the following descriptions, text and newline tags are omitted. Such tags contain information which is intended for users (or to be discarded), and are subject to change at the whim of the server. To avoid being vulnerable to such whim, clients should look for the tags listed here, not text, newline, or other tags.

The following tag means to indicate to the user that a file has been updated. It is more or less redundant with the Created and Update-existing responses, but we don't try to specify here whether it occurs in exactly the same circumstances as Created and Update-existing. The name is the pathname of the file being updated relative to the directory in which the command is occurring (that is, the last Directory request which is sent before the command).

     MT +updated
     MT fname name
     MT -updated

The importmergecmd tag is used when doing an import which has conflicts, or when doing an import with the `-X' flag. The client can use it to report how to merge in the newly imported changes. The count is the number of conflicts, or the string No if no conflicts occurred. (The latter will only be sent for imports run with the `-X' flag.) The newly imported changes can be merged by running the following command:

     cvs checkout -j tag1 -j tag2 repository
     MT +importmergecmd
     MT conflicts count
     MT mergetag1 tag1
     MT mergetag2 tag2
     MT repository repository
     MT -importmergecmd


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5.13 Example

Here is an example; lines are prefixed by `C: ' to indicate the client sends them or `S: ' to indicate the server sends them.

The client starts by connecting, sending the root, and completing the protocol negotiation. In actual practice the lists of valid responses and requests would be longer.

     C: Root /u/cvsroot
     C: Valid-responses ok error Checked-in M E
     C: valid-requests
     S: Valid-requests Root Directory Entry Modified Argument Argumentx ci co
     S: ok
     C: UseUnchanged

The client wants to check out the supermunger module into a fresh working directory. Therefore it first expands the supermunger module; this step would be omitted if the client was operating on a directory rather than a module.

     C: Argument supermunger
     C: Directory .
     C: .
     C: expand-modules

The server replies that the supermunger module expands to the directory supermunger (the simplest case):

     S: Module-expansion supermunger
     S: ok

The client then proceeds to check out the directory. The fact that it sends only a single Directory request which specifies `.' for the working directory means that there is not already a supermunger directory on the client.

     C: Argument -N
     C: Argument supermunger
     C: Directory .
     C: .
     C: co

The server replies with the requested files. In this example, there is only one file, mungeall.c. The Clear-sticky and Clear-static-directory requests are sent by the current implementation but they have no effect because the default is for those settings to be clear when a directory is newly created.

     S: Clear-sticky supermunger/
     S: /u/cvsroot/supermunger/
     S: Clear-static-directory supermunger/
     S: /u/cvsroot/supermunger/
     S: E cvs server: Updating supermunger
     S: M U supermunger/mungeall.c
     S: Created supermunger/
     S: /u/cvsroot/supermunger/mungeall.c
     S: /mungeall.c/1.1///
     S: u=rw,g=r,o=r
     S: 26
     S: int mein () { abort (); }
     S: ok

The current client implementation would break the connection here and make a new connection for the next command. However, the protocol allows it to keep the connection open and continue, which is what we show here.

After the user modifies the file and instructs the client to check it back in. The client sends arguments to specify the log message and file to check in:

     C: Argument -m
     C: Argument Well, you see, it took me hours and hours to find
     C: Argumentx this typo and I searched and searched and eventually
     C: Argumentx had to ask John for help.
     C: Argument mungeall.c

It also sends information about the contents of the working directory, including the new contents of the modified file. Note that the user has changed into the supermunger directory before executing this command; the top level directory is a user-visible concept because the server should print filenames in M and E responses relative to that directory.

     C: Directory .
     C: supermunger
     C: Entry /mungeall.c/1.1///
     C: Modified mungeall.c
     C: u=rw,g=r,o=r
     C: 26
     C: int main () { abort (); }

And finally, the client issues the checkin command (which makes use of the data just sent):

     C: ci

And the server tells the client that the checkin succeeded:

     S: M Checking in mungeall.c;
     S: E /u/cvsroot/supermunger/mungeall.c,v  <--  mungeall.c
     S: E new revision: 1.2; previous revision: 1.1
     S: E done
     S: Mode u=rw,g=r,o=r
     S: Checked-in ./
     S: /u/cvsroot/supermunger/mungeall.c
     S: /mungeall.c/1.2///
     S: ok


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5.14 Required versus optional parts of the protocol

The following are part of every known implementation of the CVS protocol (except obsolete, pre-1.5, versions of CVS) and it is considered reasonable behavior to completely fail to work if you are connected with an implementation which attempts to not support them. Requests: Root, Valid-responses, valid-requests, Directory, Entry, Modified, Unchanged, Argument, Argumentx, ci, co, update. Responses: ok, error, Valid-requests, Checked-in, Updated, Merged, Removed, M, E.

A server need not implement Repository, but in order to interoperate with CVS 1.5 through 1.9 it must claim to implement it (in Valid-requests). The client will not actually send the request.


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5.15 Obsolete protocol elements

This section briefly describes protocol elements which are obsolete. There is no attempt to document them in full detail.

There was a Repository request which was like Directory except it only provided repository, and the local directory was assumed to be similarly named.

If the UseUnchanged request was not sent, there was a Lost request which was sent to indicate that a file did not exist in the working directory, and the meaning of sending Entries without Lost or Modified was different. All current clients (CVS 1.5 and later) will send UseUnchanged if it is supported.


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6 Notes on the Protocol

A number of enhancements are possible. Also see the file todo in the cvs source distribution, which has further ideas concerning various aspects of cvs, some of which impact the protocol. Similarly, the http://www.nongnu.org/cvs/ site, in particular the Development pages.