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RE: How to extract fine-grained snapshot history?

From: Jim.Hyslop
Subject: RE: How to extract fine-grained snapshot history?
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 2004 11:34:24 -0400

Kynn Jones wrote:
> I'm not sure I follow you.  It sounds to me like your 
> solution is for recording the commit times and associated 
> branches as I go along, so that, in the future, I could 
> generate the snapshot sequence.  But what I want to do is to 
> generate the snapshot sequence *retroactively*, using the 
> information about past commits stored in the current repository.
Sorry about that - I hadn't had my first coffee yet ;=) I'm surprised nobody
else picked up on that.

Looking back at your original message, I think the 'cvs log' command will
give you the information you want much more succinctly. Have a look at that,
and see if it meets your needs.

> My guess is that all the information is encoded somehow in 
> the RCS files.  (Although maybe other files under 
> $CVSROOT/CVSROOT have essential, or at least useful, 
> information for what I want to do?) The problem is to extract 
> the data from the RCS files.
> For example, in one of such files I find the following:
>     1.3
>     date      2004.;    author jones;   state Exp;
>     branches;
>     next      1.2;
> What do these dates mean?  Are they commit dates?
Yes, rev. 1.3 was committed June 10, 2004 at 19:32:06 UTC, by the user

> And does 
> the revision following the "branches" keyword refer to the 
> branch that was active at the time of the commit?
No, it is a list of all the branches that are based at that revision. In
your example, you have one branch rooted at revision 1.2 (branch

> I suppose it would be useful to read a detail description of 
> the anatomy of an RCS file, and of any other $CVSROOT/CVSROOT 
> file that may contain the time and branch information I need.
Not really. The fact that CVS uses RCS as its back end is not essential
information. I've looked into the RCS file format a couple of times out of
curiosity, but I've never really needed to know the details.

'man rcsfile' should give you the information, or you can go here:

Jim Hyslop
Senior Software Designer
Leitch Technology International Inc. (
Columnist, C/C++ Users Journal (

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