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git-cvsserver - A CVS server emulator for git
export CVS_SERVER=git-cvsserver
'cvs' -d :ext:user@server/path/repo.git co <HEAD_name>
This application is a CVS emulation layer for git.
It is highly functional. However, not all methods are implemented,
and for those methods that are implemented,
not all switches are implemented.
Testing has been done using both the CLI CVS client, and the Eclipse CVS
plugin. Most functionality works fine with both of these clients.
Currently cvsserver works over SSH connections for read/write clients, and
over pserver for anonymous CVS access.
CVS clients cannot tag, branch or perform GIT merges.
1. If you are going to offer anonymous CVS access via pserver, add a line in
/etc/inetd.conf like
cvspserver stream tcp nowait nobody git-cvsserver pserver
Note: In some cases, you need to pass the 'pserver' argument twice for
git-cvsserver to see it. So the line would look like
cvspserver stream tcp nowait nobody git-cvsserver pserver pserver
No special setup is needed for SSH access, other than having GIT tools
in the PATH. If you have clients that do not accept the CVS_SERVER
env variable, you can rename git-cvsserver to cvs.
2. For each repo that you want accessible from CVS you need to edit config in
the repo and add the following section.
# optional for debugging
Note: you need to ensure each user that is going to invoke git-cvsserver has
write access to the log file and to the git repository. When offering anon
access via pserver, this means that the nobody user should have write access
to at least the sqlite database at the root of the repository.
3. On the client machine you need to set the following variables.
CVSROOT should be set as per normal, but the directory should point at the
appropriate git repo. For example:
For SSH access, CVS_SERVER should be set to git-cvsserver
export CVSROOT=:ext:user@server:/var/git/project.git
export CVS_SERVER=git-cvsserver
4. For SSH clients that will make commits, make sure their .bashrc file
sets the GIT_AUTHOR and GIT_COMMITTER variables.
5. Clients should now be able to check out the project. Use the CVS 'module'
name to indicate what GIT 'head' you want to check out. Example:
cvs co -d project-master master
Eclipse CVS Client Notes
To get a checkout with the Eclipse CVS client:
1. Select "Create a new project -> From CVS checkout"
2. Create a new location. See the notes below for details on how to choose the
right protocol.
3. Browse the 'modules' available. It will give you a list of the heads in
the repository. You will not be able to browse the tree from there. Only
the heads.
4. Pick 'HEAD' when it asks what branch/tag to check out. Untick the
"launch commit wizard" to avoid committing the .project file.
Protocol notes: If you are using anonymous access via pserver, just select that.
Those using SSH access should choose the 'ext' protocol, and configure 'ext'
access on the Preferences->Team->CVS->ExtConnection pane. Set CVS_SERVER to
'git-cvsserver'. Not that password support is not good when using 'ext',
you will definitely want to have SSH keys setup.
Alternatively, you can just use the non-standard extssh protocol that Eclipse
offer. In that case CVS_SERVER is ignored, and you will have to replace
the cvs utility on the server with git-cvsserver or manipulate your .bashrc
so that calling 'cvs' effectively calls git-cvsserver.
Clients known to work
CVS 1.12.9 on Debian
CVS 1.11.17 on MacOSX (from Fink package)
Eclipse 3.0, 3.1.2 on MacOSX (see Eclipse CVS Client Notes)
Operations supported
All the operations required for normal use are supported, including
checkout, diff, status, update, log, add, remove, commit.
Legacy monitoring operations are not supported (edit, watch and related).
Exports and tagging (tags and branches) are not supported at this stage.
The server will set the -k mode to binary when relevant. In proper GIT
tradition, the contents of the files are always respected.
No keyword expansion or newline munging is supported.
git-cvsserver depends on DBD::SQLite.
Copyright and Authors
This program is copyright The Open University UK - 2006.
Authors: Martyn Smith <>
Martin Langhoff <>
with ideas and patches from participants of the git-list <>.
Documentation by Martyn Smith <> and Martin Langhoff <> Matthias Urlichs <>.
Part of the gitlink:git[7] suite