Provided by: git-cvs_126.96.36.199-1_all
git-cvsserver - A CVS server emulator for git
export CVS_SERVER="git cvsserver"
cvs -d :ext:user@server/path/repo.git co <HEAD_name>
cvspserver stream tcp nowait nobody /usr/bin/git-cvsserver git-cvsserver pserver
git-cvsserver [options] [pserver|server] [<directory> ...]
All these options obviously only make sense if enforced by the server
side. They have been implemented to resemble the git-daemon(1) options
as closely as possible.
Prepend path to requested CVSROOT
Don’t allow recursing into subdirectories
Don’t check for gitcvs.enabled in config. You also have to specify
a list of allowed directories (see below) if you want to use this
Print version information and exit
-h, -H, --help
Print usage information and exit
You can specify a list of allowed directories. If no directories
are given, all are allowed. This is an additional restriction,
gitcvs access still needs to be enabled by the gitcvs.enabled
config option unless --export-all was given, too.
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
Testing has been done using both the CLI CVS client, and the Eclipse
CVS plugin. Most functionality works fine with both of these clients.
CVS clients cannot tag, branch or perform GIT merges.
git-cvsserver maps GIT branches to CVS modules. This is very different
from what most CVS users would expect since in CVS modules usually
represent one or more directories.
1. If you are going to offer CVS access via pserver, add a line in
cvspserver stream tcp nowait nobody git-cvsserver pserver
Note: Some inetd servers let you specify the name of the executable
independently of the value of argv (i.e. the name the program
assumes it was executed with). In this case the correct line in
/etc/inetd.conf looks like
cvspserver stream tcp nowait nobody /usr/bin/git-cvsserver git-cvsserver pserver
Only anonymous access is provided by pserve by default. To commit
you will have to create pserver accounts, simply add a
gitcvs.authdb setting in the config file of the repositories you
want the cvsserver to allow writes to, for example:
authdb = /etc/cvsserver/passwd
The format of these files is username followed by the crypted
password, for example:
You can use the htpasswd facility that comes with Apache to make
these files, but Apache’s MD5 crypt method differs from the one
used by most C library’s crypt() function, so don’t use the -m
Alternatively you can produce the password with perl’s crypt()
perl -e 'my ($user, $pass) = @ARGV; printf "%s:%s\n", $user, crypt($user, $pass)' $USER password
Then provide your password via the pserver method, for example:
cvs -d:pserver:someuser:somepassword <at> server/path/repo.git co <HEAD_name>
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 environment variable, you can rename git-cvsserver to
Note: Newer CVS versions (>= 1.12.11) also support specifying
CVS_SERVER directly in CVSROOT like
cvs -d ":ext;CVS_SERVER=git cvsserver:user@server/path/repo.git" co <HEAD_name>
This has the advantage that it will be saved in your CVS/Root files
and you don’t need to worry about always setting the correct
environment variable. SSH users restricted to git-shell don’t need
to override the default with CVS_SERVER (and shouldn’t) as
git-shell understands cvs to mean git-cvsserver and pretends that
the other end runs the real cvs better.
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 database
(see Database Backend. If you want to offer write access over SSH,
the users of course also need write access to the git repository
You also need to ensure that each repository is "bare" (without a
git index file) for cvs commit to work. See gitcvs-migration(7).
All configuration variables can also be overridden for a specific
method of access. Valid method names are "ext" (for SSH access) and
"pserver". The following example configuration would disable
pserver access while still allowing access over SSH.
3. If you didn’t specify the CVSROOT/CVS_SERVER directly in the
checkout command, automatically saving it in your CVS/Root files,
then you need to set them explicitly in your environment. CVSROOT
should be set as per normal, but the directory should point at the
appropriate git repo. As above, for SSH clients not restricted to
git-shell, CVS_SERVER should be set to git-cvsserver.
export CVS_SERVER="git cvsserver"
4. For SSH clients that will make commits, make sure their server-side
.ssh/environment files (or .bashrc, etc., according to their
specific shell) export appropriate values for GIT_AUTHOR_NAME,
GIT_AUTHOR_EMAIL, GIT_COMMITTER_NAME, and GIT_COMMITTER_EMAIL. For
SSH clients whose login shell is bash, .bashrc may be a reasonable
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. This
also sets the name of your newly checked-out directory, unless you
tell it otherwise with -d <dir_name>. For example, this checks out
master branch to the project-master directory:
cvs co -d project-master master
git-cvsserver uses one database per git head (i.e. CVS module) to store
information about the repository to maintain consistent CVS revision
numbers. The database needs to be updated (i.e. written to) after every
If the commit is done directly by using git (as opposed to using
git-cvsserver) the update will need to happen on the next repository
access by git-cvsserver, independent of access method and requested
That means that even if you offer only read access (e.g. by using the
pserver method), git-cvsserver should have write access to the database
to work reliably (otherwise you need to make sure that the database is
up-to-date any time git-cvsserver is executed).
By default it uses SQLite databases in the git directory, named
gitcvs.<module_name>.sqlite. Note that the SQLite backend creates
temporary files in the same directory as the database file on write so
it might not be enough to grant the users using git-cvsserver write
access to the database file without granting them write access to the
The database can not be reliably regenerated in a consistent form after
the branch it is tracking has changed. Example: For merged branches,
git-cvsserver only tracks one branch of development, and after a git
merge an incrementally updated database may track a different branch
than a database regenerated from scratch, causing inconsistent CVS
revision numbers. git-cvsserver has no way of knowing which branch it
would have picked if it had been run incrementally pre-merge. So if you
have to fully or partially (from old backup) regenerate the database,
you should be suspicious of pre-existing CVS sandboxes.
You can configure the database backend with the following configuration
Configuring database backend
git-cvsserver uses the Perl DBI module. Please also read its
documentation if changing these variables, especially about
Database name. The exact meaning depends on the selected database
driver, for SQLite this is a filename. Supports variable
substitution (see below). May not contain semicolons (;). Default:
Used DBI driver. You can specify any available driver for this
here, but it might not work. cvsserver is tested with DBD::SQLite,
reported to work with DBD::Pg, and reported not to work with
DBD::mysql. Please regard this as an experimental feature. May not
contain colons (:). Default: SQLite
Database user. Only useful if setting dbdriver, since SQLite has no
concept of database users. Supports variable substitution (see
Database password. Only useful if setting dbdriver, since SQLite
has no concept of database passwords.
Database table name prefix. Supports variable substitution (see
below). Any non-alphabetic characters will be replaced with
All variables can also be set per access method, see above.
In dbdriver and dbuser you can use the following variables:
git directory name
git directory name, where all characters except for
alpha-numeric ones, ., and - are replaced with _ (this should
make it easier to use the directory name in a filename if
CVS module/git head name
access method (one of "ext" or "pserver")
Name of the user running git-cvsserver. If no name can be
determined, the numeric uid is used.
These variables obviate the need for command-line options in some
circumstances, allowing easier restricted usage through git-shell.
GIT_CVSSERVER_BASE_PATH takes the place of the argument to --base-path.
GIT_CVSSERVER_ROOT specifies a single-directory whitelist. The
repository must still be configured to allow access through
git-cvsserver, as described above.
When these environment variables are set, the corresponding
command-line arguments may not be used.
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". Note 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)
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
CRLF Line Ending Conversions
By default the server leaves the -k mode blank for all files, which
causes the CVS client to treat them as a text files, subject to
end-of-line conversion on some platforms.
You can make the server use the end-of-line conversion attributes to
set the -k modes for files by setting the gitcvs.usecrlfattr config
variable. See gitattributes(5) for more information about end-of-line
Alternatively, if gitcvs.usecrlfattr config is not enabled or the
attributes do not allow automatic detection for a filename, then the
server uses the gitcvs.allbinary config for the default setting. If
gitcvs.allbinary is set, then file not otherwise specified will default
to -kb mode. Otherwise the -k mode is left blank. But if
gitcvs.allbinary is set to "guess", then the correct -k mode will be
guessed based on the contents of the file.
For best consistency with cvs, it is probably best to override the
defaults by setting gitcvs.usecrlfattr to true, and gitcvs.allbinary to
git-cvsserver depends on DBD::SQLite.
Part of the git(1) suite