Comparing File Revisions

As your project develops, you sometimes need to compare a current revision with an old one, or compare two older revisions with each other. This usually happens when several developers are working on the same file and you need to know which changes were made to a file since you last worked on it.

The cvs diff command compares two revisions of a file and displays the differences. It uses a version of the GNU diff program internal to CVS; this code is also used when revisions are merged during cvs update.

The diff command and the similar rdiff command are also useful for creating patches to be installed by the GNU patch program.

cvs diff has the following syntax:

cvs [cvs-options] diff  [command_options] [filenames]

You can call cvs diff with filenames, directories, or module names. If you don’t give a filename, the current working directory is the default.

Usually, you call cvs diff with at least one -r tag or -D date command option. If you invoke it with a single -r or -D parameter, CVS compares the current copy in the working directory with the version in the repository. For example, if you check out revision 1.6 of Makefile, edit the file, then run cvs diff -r 1.6 Makefile, diff displays the changes you made to Makefile since you checked it out.

If you invoke cvs diff with two -r or -D options, CVS compares the two revisions against each other. The command cvs diff -r 1.5 -r 1.7 Makefile displays the changes between revisions 1.5 and 1.7.

Example 5-14 shows ...

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