Client only supports checkout mode

Manolis Kiagias sonic2000gr at
Sun Aug 3 07:19:36 UTC 2008

kalin m wrote:
> hi all...
> why would i get : "Client only supports checkout mode" when i do;
> csup /cvsup_file
> on a new freebsd 7 install
> what does it mean?!
> thanks...
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It means you are trying to use a supfile that works in cvs mode.

In cvs mode, the client does not simply checkout the latest version of 
the files from the repository, instead it retrieves the ",v" files that 
make up the whole repository. Effectively this means you are creating a 
local copy of the repository, while in checkout mode you just get the 
latest revision of every file.

CVS mode is mostly necessary if you wish to have quick access to all 
versions of a file (and the revision history) and mostly useful for 
developers. In other cases (for example, to update your ports tree) 
checkout mode is sufficient.

And now, here is the catch: Many people need to use checkout mode often, 
so csup was created and added to the base system. Csup is a rewrite (in 
C) of the well know cvsup utility (that exists in ports). But csup *does 
not* support cvs mode. So if you are trying to use a supfile that 
operates in cvs mode, you will get the "Client only supports checkout mode"

If you really need to use a cvs mode supfile, you will need to pkg_add 
-r cvsup-without-gui (or build it from ports) and then use the cvsup 
command instead of csup. A cvs mode supfile contains the line:

default release = cvs

while in a simple checkout supfile, this line also contains a tag, e.g. 
(my ports supfile):

default release = cvs tag=.

The tag simply requests a particular revision of the files (a checkout), 
and in the case of "." it simply means the latest revision (head)

You can get a nice description of all options in the Handbook:

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