In CVS, all dates and times are processed by a version of the GNU getdate function, which can translate dates and times given in several different formats. Case is always irrelevant when interpreting dates. Spaces are permitted in date strings, but in the command-line client a string with spaces should be surrounded by quotes. If the year is 0 to 99, it is considered to be in the twentieth century.

If a time is not given, midnight at the start of the date is assumed. If a time zone is not specified, the date is interpreted as being in the client’s local time zone.

Legal Date Formats

The legal time and date formats for CVS are defined by the ISO 8601 standard and RFC 822 as amended by RFC 1123. Other formats can be interpreted, but CVS is designed to handle only these standards.

ISO 8601

The basic ISO 8601 date format is as follows:


All values are numbers with leading zeros to ensure that the correct number of digits are used. Hours are given in 24-hour time. This produces the structure YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS, which is internationally acceptable and can be sorted easily. You can use a date, a time, or both.

If you’re using ISO 8601 format with the hyphens, the full date is required in CVS. The YYYYMMDD date format is also acceptable and can be abbreviated to YYYYMM or YYYY.

The HH and HH:MM time formats are acceptable. Times can also be specified without the colon, so HHMMSS or HHMM are usable.


Be aware that HHMM may be misinterpreted as

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