This section describes a typical work-session using CVS. It assumes that a repository is set up (see section The Repository).
Suppose you are working on a simple compiler. The source consists of a handful of C files and a `Makefile'. The compiler is called `tc' (Trivial Compiler), and the repository is set up so that there is a module called `tc'.
The first thing you must do is to get your own working copy of the
source for `tc'. For this, you use the
$ cvs checkout tc
This will create a new directory called `tc' and populate it with the source files.
$ cd tc $ ls CVS Makefile backend.c driver.c frontend.c parser.c
The `CVS' directory is used internally by CVS. Normally, you should not modify or remove any of the files in it.
You start your favorite editor, hack away at `backend.c', and a couple of hours later you have added an optimization pass to the compiler. A note to RCS and SCCS users: There is no need to lock the files that you want to edit. See section Multiple developers for an explanation.
When you have checked that the compiler is still compilable you decide to make a new version of `backend.c'.
$ cvs commit backend.c
CVS starts an editor, to allow you to enter a log message. You type in "Added an optimization pass.", save the temporary file, and exit the editor.
The environment variable
which editor is started. If
$CVSEDITOR is not
set, then if the environment variable
set, it will be used. If both
$EDITOR are not set then the editor defaults to
vi. If you want to avoid the overhead of
starting an editor you can specify the log message on
the command line using the `-m' flag instead, like
$ cvs commit -m "Added an optimization pass" backend.c
Before you turn to other tasks you decide to remove your working copy of tc. One acceptable way to do that is of course
$ cd .. $ rm -r tc
but a better way is to use the
release command (see section release--Indicate that a Module is no longer in use):
$ cd .. $ cvs release -d tc M driver.c ? tc You have  altered files in this repository. Are you sure you want to release (and delete) module `tc': n ** `release' aborted by user choice.
release command checks that all your modifications have been
committed. If history logging is enabled it also makes a note in the
history file. See section The history file.
When you use the `-d' flag with
also removes your working copy.
In the example above, the
release command wrote a couple of lines
of output. `? tc' means that the file `tc' is unknown to CVS.
That is nothing to worry about: `tc' is the executable compiler,
and it should not be stored in the repository. See section Ignoring files via cvsignore,
for information about how to make that warning go away.
See section release output, for a complete explanation of
all possible output from
`M driver.c' is more serious. It means that the file `driver.c' has been modified since it was checked out.
release command always finishes by telling
you how many modified files you have in your working
copy of the sources, and then asks you for confirmation
before deleting any files or making any note in the
You decide to play it safe and answer n RET
release asks for confirmation.
You do not remember modifying `driver.c', so you want to see what has happened to that file.
$ cd tc $ cvs diff driver.c
This command runs
diff to compare the version of `driver.c'
that you checked out with your working copy. When you see the output
you remember that you added a command line option that enabled the
optimization pass. You check it in, and release the module.
$ cvs commit -m "Added an optimization pass" driver.c Checking in driver.c; /usr/local/cvsroot/tc/driver.c,v <-- driver.c new revision: 1.2; previous revision: 1.1 done $ cd .. $ cvs release -d tc ? tc You have  altered files in this repository. Are you sure you want to release (and delete) module `tc': y
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