man pages section 1: User Commands

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Updated: July 2014

git-cvsimport (1)


git-cvsimport - Salvage your data out of another SCM people love to hate


git cvsimport [-o <branch-for-HEAD>] [-h] [-v] [-d <CVSROOT>]
[-A <author-conv-file>] [-p <options-for-cvsps>] [-P <file>]
[-C <git_repository>] [-z <fuzz>] [-i] [-k] [-u] [-s <subst>]
[-a] [-m] [-M <regex>] [-S <regex>] [-L <commitlimit>]
[-r <remote>] [-R] [<CVS_module>]


Git Manual                                       GIT-CVSIMPORT(1)

     git-cvsimport - Salvage your data out of another SCM people
     love to hate

     git cvsimport [-o <branch-for-HEAD>] [-h] [-v] [-d <CVSROOT>]
                   [-A <author-conv-file>] [-p <options-for-cvsps>] [-P <file>]
                   [-C <git_repository>] [-z <fuzz>] [-i] [-k] [-u] [-s <subst>]
                   [-a] [-m] [-M <regex>] [-S <regex>] [-L <commitlimit>]
                   [-r <remote>] [-R] [<CVS_module>]

     Imports a CVS repository into git. It will either create a
     new repository, or incrementally import into an existing

     Splitting the CVS log into patch sets is done by cvsps. At
     least version 2.1 is required.

     WARNING: for certain situations the import leads to
     incorrect results. Please see the section ISSUES for further

     You should never do any work of your own on the branches
     that are created by git cvsimport. By default initial import
     will create and populate a "master" branch from the CVS
     repository's main branch which you're free to work with;
     after that, you need to git merge incremental imports, or
     any CVS branches, yourself. It is advisable to specify a
     named remote via -r to separate and protect the incoming

     If you intend to set up a shared public repository that all
     developers can read/write, or if you want to use git-
     cvsserver(1), then you probably want to make a bare clone of
     the imported repository, and use the clone as the shared
     repository. See gitcvs-migration(5).

         Verbosity: let cvsimport report what it is doing.

     -d <CVSROOT>
         The root of the CVS archive. May be local (a simple
         path) or remote; currently, only the :local:, :ext: and
         :pserver: access methods are supported. If not given,
         git cvsimport will try to read it from CVS/Root. If no
         such file exists, it checks for the CVSROOT environment

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Git Manual                                       GIT-CVSIMPORT(1)

         The CVS module you want to import. Relative to
         <CVSROOT>. If not given, git cvsimport tries to read it
         from CVS/Repository.

     -C <target-dir>
         The git repository to import to. If the directory
         doesn't exist, it will be created. Default is the
         current directory.

     -r <remote>
         The git remote to import this CVS repository into. Moves
         all CVS branches into remotes/<remote>/<branch> akin to
         the way git clone uses origin by default.

     -o <branch-for-HEAD>
         When no remote is specified (via -r) the HEAD branch
         from CVS is imported to the origin branch within the git
         repository, as HEAD already has a special meaning for
         git. When a remote is specified the HEAD branch is named
         remotes/<remote>/master mirroring git clone behaviour.
         Use this option if you want to import into a different

         Use -o master for continuing an import that was
         initially done by the old cvs2git tool.

         Import-only: don't perform a checkout after importing.
         This option ensures the working directory and index
         remain untouched and will not create them if they do not

         Kill keywords: will extract files with -kk from the CVS
         archive to avoid noisy changesets. Highly recommended,
         but off by default to preserve compatibility with early
         imported trees.

         Convert underscores in tag and branch names to dots.

     -s <subst>
         Substitute the character "/" in branch names with

     -p <options-for-cvsps>
         Additional options for cvsps. The options -u and -A are
         implicit and should not be used here.

         If you need to pass multiple options, separate them with
         a comma.

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Git Manual                                       GIT-CVSIMPORT(1)

     -z <fuzz>
         Pass the timestamp fuzz factor to cvsps, in seconds. If
         unset, cvsps defaults to 300s.

     -P <cvsps-output-file>
         Instead of calling cvsps, read the provided cvsps output
         file. Useful for debugging or when cvsps is being
         handled outside cvsimport.

         Attempt to detect merges based on the commit message.
         This option will enable default regexes that try to
         capture the source branch name from the commit message.

     -M <regex>
         Attempt to detect merges based on the commit message
         with a custom regex. It can be used with -m to enable
         the default regexes as well. You must escape forward

         The regex must capture the source branch name in $1.

         This option can be used several times to provide several
         detection regexes.

     -S <regex>
         Skip paths matching the regex.

         Import all commits, including recent ones. cvsimport by
         default skips commits that have a timestamp less than 10
         minutes ago.

     -L <limit>
         Limit the number of commits imported. Workaround for
         cases where cvsimport leaks memory.

     -A <author-conv-file>
         CVS by default uses the Unix username when writing its
         commit logs. Using this option and an author-conv-file
         in this format

                     exon=Andreas Ericsson <>
                     spawn=Simon Pawn <>

         git cvsimport will make it appear as those authors had
         their GIT_AUTHOR_NAME and GIT_AUTHOR_EMAIL set properly
         all along.

         For convenience, this data is saved to
         $GIT_DIR/cvs-authors each time the -A option is provided
         and read from that same file each time git cvsimport is

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Git Manual                                       GIT-CVSIMPORT(1)


         It is not recommended to use this feature if you intend
         to export changes back to CVS again later with git

         Generate a $GIT_DIR/cvs-revisions file containing a
         mapping from CVS revision numbers to newly-created Git
         commit IDs. The generated file will contain one line for
         each (filename, revision) pair imported; each line will
         look like

             src/widget.c 1.1 1d862f173cdc7325b6fa6d2ae1cfd61fd1b512b7

         The revision data is appended to the file if it already
         exists, for use when doing incremental imports.

         This option may be useful if you have CVS revision
         numbers stored in commit messages, bug-tracking systems,
         email archives, and the like.

         Print a short usage message and exit.

     If -v is specified, the script reports what it is doing.

     Otherwise, success is indicated the Unix way, i.e. by simply
     exiting with a zero exit status.

     Problems related to timestamps:

     o   If timestamps of commits in the CVS repository are not
         stable enough to be used for ordering commits changes
         may show up in the wrong order.

     o   If any files were ever "cvs import"ed more than once
         (e.g., import of more than one vendor release) the HEAD
         contains the wrong content.

     o   If the timestamp order of different files cross the
         revision order within the commit matching time window
         the order of commits may be wrong.

     Problems related to branches:

     o   Branches on which no commits have been made are not

     o   All files from the branching point are added to a branch

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Git Manual                                       GIT-CVSIMPORT(1)

         even if never added in CVS.

     o   This applies to files added to the source branch after a
         daughter branch was created: if previously no commit was
         made on the daughter branch they will erroneously be
         added to the daughter branch in git.

     Problems related to tags:

     o   Multiple tags on the same revision are not imported.

     If you suspect that any of these issues may apply to the
     repository you want to import consider using these
     alternative tools which proved to be more stable in

     o   cvs2git (part of cvs2svn),

     o   parsecvs,

     Part of the git(1) suite

     See attributes(5) for descriptions of the following

     |Availability   | developer/versioning/git |
     |Stability      | Uncommitted              |
     This software was built from source available at  The original
     community source was downloaded from  http://git-

     Further information about this software can be found on the
     open source community website at

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