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The Cederqvist Manual

That leaves the doc/ subdirectory, whose most important inhabitant is the famed Cederqvist. These days, it's probably a stretch to call it "the Cederqvist". Although Per Cederqvist (of Signum Support, Linkoping Sweden, wrote the first version around 1992, it has been updated since then by many other people. For example, when contributors add a new feature to CVS, they usually also document it in the Cederqvist.

The Cederqvist manual is written in Texinfo format, which is used by the GNU project because it's relatively easy to produce both online and printed output from it (in Info and PostScript formats, respectively). The Texinfo master file is doc/cvs.texinfo, but CVS distributions come with the Info and PostScript pregenerated, so you don't have to worry about running any Texinfo tools yourself.

Although the Cederqvist can be used as an introduction and tutorial, it is probably most useful as a reference document. For that reason, most people browse it online instead of printing it out (although the PostScript file is doc/, for those with paper to spare). If this is the first time you've installed CVS on your system, you'll have to take an extra step to make sure the manual is accessible online.

The Info files (doc/, doc/, doc/, and so on) were installed for you when you ran make install. Although the files were copied into the system's Info tree, you may still have to add a line for CVS to the Info table of contents, the "Top" node. (This will only be necessary if this is the first time CVS has been installed on your system; otherwise, the entry from previous installations should already be in the table of contents.)

If you've added new Info documentation before, you may be familiar with the process. First figure out where the Info pages were installed. If you used the default installation (in /usr/local/), then the Info files are /usr/local/info/*. If you installed using

     floss$ ./configure --prefix=/usr

the files ended up as /usr/info/cvs.*. After you locate the files, you'll need to add a line for CVS to the Info table of contents, which is in a file named dir in that directory (so in the latter case, it would be /usr/info/dir). If you don't have root access, ask your system administrator to do it. Here is an excerpt from dir before the reference to CVS documentation was added:

     * Bison: (bison).         The Bison parser generator.
     * Cpp: (cpp).             The GNU C preprocessor.
     * Flex: (flex).           A fast scanner generator

And here is the same region of dir afterwards:

     * Bison: (bison).         The Bison parser generator.
     * Cpp: (cpp).             The GNU C preprocessor.
     * Cvs: (cvs).             Concurrent Versions System
     * Flex: (flex).           A fast scanner generator

The format of the line is very important. You must include the asterisk, spaces, and colon in `* Cvs:' and the parentheses and period in `(cvs).' after it. If any of these elements are missing, the Info dir format will be corrupt, and you'll be unable to read the Cederqvist.

Once the manual is installed and referred to from the table of contents, you can read it with any Info-compatible browser. The ones most likely to be installed on a typical Unix system are either the command-line Info reader, which can be invoked this way if you want to go straight to the CVS pages

     floss$ info cvs

and the one within Emacs, which is invoked by typing

     M-x info


     C-h i

Take whatever time is necessary to get the Cederqvist set up properly on your system when you install CVS; it will pay off many times down the road when you need to look something up.

Karl Fogel wrote this book. Buy a printed copy via his homepage at

copyright  ©  January 18 2019 sean dreilinger url: