cvs [cvs-options] history [options] [files ...]

Display the information stored in the history file in the repository’s CVSROOT directory. If that file does not exist or is not writable, the history command fails with an error. CVS writes to the history file during checkout, export, commit, rtag, update, and release operations.

Synonyms: hi, his.

Standard subcommand options: -D, -r.


The -f, -l, -n, and -p options for cvs history act differently than their normal uses in CVS.



Show history data for all users. By default, CVS shows only the data for the calling user.

-b string

Show data that is more recent than the newest record that contains the given string in the module name, filename, or repository path.


Report only commits—times when the repository was modified (equivalent to -xAMR).


Report on every record type. This option is equivalent to -x with every type specified.

-f file

Show data for the specified file. This option can be repeated to show data for multiple files.


Show only the most recent commit to the repository.

-m module

Show data for a particular module. CVS checks the modules file in the repository’s CVSROOT directory and then searches the history file for files and directories that belong to the module.

-n module

Like -m, but search only the history file for the specified module name.


Report on records of checkouts (equivalent to -xO).

-p directory

Show records for a particular project directory. This option can be repeated ...

Get Unix in a Nutshell, 4th Edition now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.