CVS history access?

John Nielsen lists at
Mon Apr 27 15:23:34 UTC 2009

On Saturday 25 April 2009 09:12:50 pm Giorgos Keramidas wrote:
> On Fri, 24 Apr 2009 05:35:34 -0400, John Nielsen <lists at> 
> > I'm working on a machine learning project and I'd like to use the
> > FreeBSD src CVS commit history as a datasource. Is there a
> > resource-friendly way for me to download some or all of it? Format
> > isn't too big an issue.
> >
> > I tried a few "cvs history" commands against the anoncvs servers but
> > get this: cvs [history aborted]: cannot open history file:
> > /home/ncvs/CVSROOT/history: No such file or directory
> Do you really want just the `CVSROOT/history' file?  We allow mirroring
> of the entire repository, which you can then use to extract any sort of
> historical commit data.  (Well, _almost_ anything.  Some things like
> repo-copies and renames of raw repository files have been done without
> any sort of record, so it may be impossible to recover *those*
> particular bits.)

I'm basically looking for a list of all commits over the past N (>2) years 
with committer, timestamp, affected file(s) and/or subsystems and 
possibly diff size information, etc. I don't know anything about 
the "history" file in particular other than that's what cvs complained 
about when I tried the "cvs history" commands against anoncvs. It looks 
like the /pub/FreeBSD/development/FreeBSD-CVS/src ftp path may have what 
I'm looking for (though it may be scattered through the individual 
files). I'll probably (try to) set up a local CVS repo and source it from 
there and see where that gets me. My CVS-fu is weak so I'm still open to 

> We also have a Subversion repository now, that you can use to grab
> commit information.  It takes slightly more disk space than the CVS
> repository, but subversion can export XML formatted commit logs, which
> may be slightly more useful if you plan to automate parts of the
> parsing and info-gathering.

Yes, I'll definitely be automating the parsing, etc. Is it safe to assume 
that the cvs2svn migration went successfully? XML logs do sound appealing 
and aggregated (same time, multiple files) commits would be more useful 
than per-file. Can I just check everything out from 



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