cvssync — fetch CVS repository masters via rsync


cvssync [-c] [-v] [-n] [-o outdir] [host-path module | cvsurl]


cvssync attempts to fetch a copy of a remote CVS repository into a local directory. All you have to tell it is the arguments you’re expected to hand CVS to perform a checkout of the remote.

Alternatively, you can give it a single argument in URL format, of the form cvs://<host>/<path>#<module>.

If a previous cvssync has been done into the directory, cvssync will do the least amount of file copying required to resynchronize the local copy with the remote. It relies on rsync(1) to accomplish this.

cvssync knows about the site-structure idiosyncracies of some major CVS hosting sites and applies that knowledge so you don’t have to. Presently its rules are known good for SourceForge, Savannah, Sourceware, and Berlios. Its default method should work for many other sites. You can use the -v option to see what rsync command is actually generated in these cases.

cvssync is an auxiliary tool issued with cvs-fast-export in order to facilitate moving CVS repositories to version control systems that aren’t chipped out of flint. Of course, you can also use it for backups and other purposes.


Create a mirror that you can do checkouts from. Normally this tool creates a bare mirror of the module masters you are interested in without creating a module subdirectory and CVSROOT. With this option, the created directory structure is changed to include an empty CVSROOT, and the masters go in a subdirectory named after the module. A cvs -d:local: co command can then be used to make a local checkout for inspection.
Dry-run. Generate the commands that would be performed but do not execute them. Useful with -v.
Set the name of the output directory. The default is to use the module name.
Verbose. Show subcommands as they are being executed.


There is another program called cvsync for making live mirrors; this is not it. One important difference is that cvsync requires a dedicated service daemon, cvsyncd, to be running on the CVS host; it’s not designed for ad-hoc fetches from random hosting sites.


Note that these examples may become obsolete as CVS repositories are decommissioned. They are meant to illustrate usage patterns.

cvssync robotfindskitten
Fetch the Robot Finds Kitten project from Sourceforge
cvssync robotfindskitten
Using the full Sourceforge pseudo-hostname also works.
cvssync robotfindskitten
Any login credential is ignored.
cvssync robotfindskitten
The leading /cvsroot on a SourceForge path can be omitted.
cvssync cvs://
Same fetch using the URL argument style.
cvssync groff
Fetch the groff project repository from Savannah
cvssync groff
Login credential and leading /sources can be omitted on Savannah.
cvssync cvs://
Same fetch using the URL argument style.


Report bugs to Eric S. Raymond <>. The project page is at


rsync(1), rcs(1), cvs(1), cvs-fast-export(1).