CVSup-16.1 is now available

John Polstra jdp at
Fri Dec 10 10:44:25 PST 1999

                     Announcing CVSup 16.1
Release 16.1 of CVSup, the CVS-aware network file distribution
system, is now available.

What Has Changed Since the Previous Release?
  Fixed a couple of long-standing bugs in the rsync code which caused
  it to miss many compression opportunities.  This mode is actually
  useful now.

  Fixed a server bug that caused the inactivity timeout to fail in
  certain situations.  If the network connection to a client vanished
  just after start-up, the inactivity timer wasn't able to kill the
  server process.  It would then have to be killed manually.  Now the
  inactivity timeout should work reliably.

  Fixed a bug that affected some versions of Solaris, e.g., Solaris
  2.5.1.  The server would loop after serving the first client.

  Fixed a bug that would kill the client or server after 2 GB of data
  (before compression) had gone through the network.

  Fixed bug: if the server tried to follow a circular symbolic link,
  it was a fatal error.

  Added new "norsync" and "rnorsync" commands for the server's list
  files, to allow better control over when the rsync algorithm is
  used.  The use of "norsync" in the releases file is now deprecated;
  it should be specified in the list file instead.

  Added a command-line option "-A ipaddr" for both client and server.
  It causes the sockets to be bound to a specific IP address on the
  local host.  The option is useful for controlling which network
  interface is used.

  Added Dom Mitchell's handy "cvsup2html" script to the contrib
  directory.  It converts cvsup's log output into a web page for
  conveniently browsing log messages and diffs.  Each filename
  becomes a link to the corresponding cvsweb page.

  Changed the GUI so that pressing the enter key in the "Filter"
  type-in has the same effect as clicking the start button.

  Refuse files are explained in better detail in the cvsup(1) manual
  page, thanks to some changes submitted by Mark Ovens.

Where to Get CVSup
CVSup is free software.  It is available from:

and from all of the many FreeBSD FTP mirrors.  You can find a complete
list of them in the FreeBSD Handbook at:

CVSup is also available from the author's FTP server:

Please avoid this server if possible.  It has a wimpy link to the

On the FTP sites, the source distribution can be found in
"sources/cvsup-16.1.tar.gz".  Its MD5 file signature is:

  MD5 (cvsup-16.1.tar.gz) = dc967a0e395722282485a9bec4dec190

If you wish to build CVSup from the sources, be sure to read the
discussion further on in this announcement.

Binaries for various platforms are also available in the "binaries"

An updated port will appear soon in the "net" category of the FreeBSD
ports and packages collection:

If you want SOCKS support, you must also install the "modula-3-socks"
port or package.  You'll find it in the "lang" category of the FreeBSD
ports and packages collection at the URL above.  SOCKS is supported
only under FreeBSD, and only with dynamically linked executables.  The
static binary distributions do not support SOCKS.

Compatibility with Previous Releases
This version is believed to interoperate properly with all earlier
public releases of CVSup.

What Is CVSup?
CVSup is a software package for distributing and updating collections
of files across a network.  It can efficiently and accurately
mirror all types of Unix files, including sources, binaries, hard
links, symbolic links, and even device nodes.  CVSup's streaming
communication protocol and multithreaded architecture make it most
likely the fastest mirroring tool in existence today.

In addition to being a great general-purpose mirroring tool, CVSup
includes special features and optimizations specifically tailored to
CVS repositories.  By taking advantage of the special properties of
the files contained in CVS repositories, CVSup is able to perform
updates much faster than traditional systems.  CVSup parses and
understands the RCS files making up a CVS repository.  When updates
occur, CVSup extracts new deltas directly from the RCS files on the
server and edits them into the client's RCS files.  Likewise, CVSup
notes the addition of new symbolic tags to the files on the server and
sends only the new tags to the client.

CVSup is able to merge new deltas and tags from the server with deltas
and tags added locally on the client machine.  This makes it possible
for the client to check local modifications into his repository
without their being obliterated by subsequent updates from the server.

In addition to distributing the RCS files themselves, CVSup is able to
distribute specific checked-out versions.  The client can specify a
symbolic tag, a date, or both and CVSup will extract the appropriate
versions from the server's CVS repository.  Checked-out versions do
not need to be stored on the server, since CVSup can extract any
version directly from the CVS repository.  If the client has an
existing checked-out tree, CVSup will apply the appropriate edits to
update the tree or transform it into the requested version.  Only the
differences between the existing version and the desired version are
sent across the network.

To update non-RCS files, CVSup uses the highly efficient rsync
algorithm, developed by Andrew Tridgell and Paul Mackerras.

CVSup uses lightweight processes (threads) to implement a streaming
protocol across the network.  This completely eliminates the delays
associated with the lock-step, request-reply form of communication
used by many existing protocols, such as sup and NNTP.  Information
is transferred at the full available speed of the network in both
directions at once.  Network latency and server response delays
are rendered practically irrelevant.

CVSup uses the "zlib" compression package to optionally compress all
communications.  This provides an additional 65-75% compression, on
top of the diff-based compression already built into CVSup.

For efficiency, all processing is built into the CVSup package
itself.  Neither the client nor the server execute any other

For further information about how CVSup works, see the (somewhat out
of date) "Blurb" document in the CVSup distribution.

Using CVSup to Maintain FreeBSD Sources
CVSup servers for the FreeBSD sources are currently running at about
50 mirror sites around the world.  For an up-to-date list of them,

Using CVSup, you can easily receive or update any of the standard
FreeBSD source releases, namely, "cvs", "current", and "stable".
The manual page for cvsup(1) describes how to do that.  For more detailed
instructions, see the section on CVSup in the FreeBSD Handbook:

Building CVSup from the Sources
CVSup is written in Modula-3, a modern, compiled, object-oriented
language.  Modula-3 integrates threads, exceptions, and garbage
collection, providing an ideal vehicle for this sort of application.
Without Modula-3, CVSup would almost certainly not exist today.

If you wish to build CVSup from the sources, you will first need
to install the free Modula-3 compiler and runtime libraries.  This
release of CVSup has been tested using both SRC Modula-3 release 3.6
and the PM3-1.1.13 release.  They are available from the following


The PM3 release is more actively maintained, and it includes fixes for
a number of bugs that are present in SRC Modula-3.  Patches to fix the
bugs are available from the SRC web site, but they must be applied
manually.  The PM3 release is available as Linux RPMs as well as in
source form.

A FreeBSD port of SRC Modula-3 (including the necessary patches)
is available in the FreeBSD ports collection, in "lang/modula-3".
The corresponding package is, of course, available in the packages

You will also need version 1.0.4 or later of the "zlib" library.
In FreeBSD-2.1.6 and later releases, this library has been incorporated
into the system sources, in "src/lib/libz".  Prior to that, a
FreeBSD port was available in "devel/libz" of the FreeBSD ports
collection.  For other sources of this library, see the "Install"
file.  Do not try to use versions earlier than 1.0.4.

To build the entire system from source under FreeBSD, simply type
"make" in the top-level directory.  (That's the directory that has
sub-directories named "client" and "server", among others.)  To force
the executables to be statically linked, add


to the command line.  To build the client without the GUI (e.g., if
you don't have the X Window System installed on your machine), add


To do both of these things, use quotes like this:


The Makefiles should work on any reasonable Unix system.  If you
have trouble with them, it is easy to build the components manually.
Simply chdir into each of the following subdirectories in the given
order and type "m3build":


To build statically linked executables, add "-DSTATIC" to each
"m3build" command.  To build the client without the GUI, add

Notes for Specific Platforms
The following hints have been found to work.  They don't exclude other
possibilities, of course.

  Use either the PM3 compiler or the SRC compiler from the FreeBSD
  ports collection.

  Use the PM3 compiler with the "FBSD_ALPHA" target.

  Use the PM3 compiler.

  Use the PM3 compiler (the "SOLgnu" target).

Digital Unix:
  Use the SRC compiler (the "ALPHA_OSF" target).  Be sure to apply
  this patch first:

  When you run cvsup or cvsupd, you must add the argument
  "@M3nopreemption" to the command line.

  The PM3 compiler probably works too, but I haven't tested it.

  Use the FreeBSD static a.out binaries.  When you run cvsup or cvsupd,
  you must add the argument "@M3novm" to the command line.

Portability Issues
I intend for CVSup to be portable to most POSIX systems.  Earlier
releases have been run on a number of different platforms, including
FreeBSD, Linux, HP-UX, SunOS, Solaris, and DEC OSF/1 ALPHA.  In the
current release I have attempted to increase rather than decrease

Anybody who succeeds in porting CVSup to other systems is encouraged
to send his changes to <cvsup-bugs at>.  As long as the
changes are reasonably palatable, they will be incorporated into
future CVSup releases.

CVSup uses several POSIX-specific functions which may make it more
of an effort to port the package to non-POSIX systems such as Win32.
These functions include mmap, fork, syslog, stat, and chmod, among

Status of this Release
CVSup was first released publicly in August of 1996.  Since then
it has seen heavy use, and it has been quite stable.  Like all
software, though, it is not perfect.  Please be prepared to find
bugs -- without a doubt, there are some.

Please report bugs to <cvsup-bugs at>.

For More Information

John Polstra, <jdp at>

Copyright 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 John D. Polstra
$Id: Announce,v 1.47 1999/12/10 16:25:29 jdp Exp $

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