Moving Files or Directories

There is no CVS command designed specifically to move a file or file directory. In fact, CVS’s design doesn’t accomodate such moves. However, you can work around this limitation using a combination of CVS commands, or by altering the repository using operating-system commands. Moving files can make project history difficult to track, because then a file’s history is recorded across two different files in different locations. Minimize this potential source of confusion by recording the new and old locations with meaningful log messages.


To rename a file or directory at the operating-system level, move it from the old filename to the new filename. For example, use the Unix mv command.

Moving Files

The recommended way to move a file is to use cvs remove followed by cvs add, with messages that state where the file was moved from and to. This method preserves the file’s history and allows reversion to earlier versions of the project in its old location. However, the messages stored with the add and remove commands are the only record of the move. Example 3-19 shows this method being used to rename the wizzard.h file.

Example 3-19. Renaming a file

bash-2.05a$ mv wizzard.h config.h
bash-2.05a$ cvs remove wizzard.h
cvs server: scheduling `wizzard.h' for removal
cvs server: use 'cvs commit' to remove this file permanently
bash-2.05a$ cvs add config.h cvs server: scheduling file `config.h' for addition cvs server: use 'cvs commit' to add this file permanently bash-2.05a$ ...

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