curves(1) console UI to CVS source control


curves [ --debug=value ]


curves provides a simple console UI to the CVS source control program. Its purpose is to simplify everyday source control tasks and minimize the most frequent errors. These errors include users forgetting to add new files when committing, and adding binary files without setting the -kb switch that tells CVS to leave line endings alone and to suppress substituting keywords.


Sets the debug output value to value which may be either decimal, or hexadecimal if prefixed with 0x. The interesting settings of the debug value may be found in the source.


The top line of the curves screen describes the menu of available commands. Below the menu are two panes that list the sub-directories and files in the current directory. Beneath these is a status line describing either the current directory or file where the cursor is pointing. The bottom line is for user input.

The menu bar begins with the colon delimited name of the menu. The main menu is labeled CurVeS while each sub-menu is labeled with the name as it appears in the main menu. Each menu command has one capitalized letter. Pressing this key invokes the respective command. For example, when the main menu is active the F key invokes the File menu and the Q key quits CurVeS.

A right pointing arrow, >, indicates which of the two primary panes is active. Use the <tab> key to change the active pane. While the directory pane is active, the up and down arrow keys move through the directory list and <enter> changes to that directory. The status line reports the the name of the current directory, the number of subdirectories in it, the number of files, and the number of selected files in parenthesis. While the file pane is active, the arrow keys move around the list and either <space> or <enter> toggles the selection mark for the current file. The selection mark is a usually grave accent ` but changes to an ampersand & when it coincides with the cursor. The status line reports the name and size of the file, the time and date it was last modified, and the most current status of the file. Each filename also bears a prefix mark to indicate its current status (see File Status and Marks).

Menu Commands

Chooses the sub-menu of CVS commands. These commands operate either on the marked files or on the current file if none are marked.

Perform cvs add. The current file or marked files are queued for addition to the module for the current directory. The output of the command is displayed to the console.

For uncontrolled files that are not excluded by .cvsignore, CurVeS attempts to determine if the file contains binary or ASCII data. The result of its analysis is shown in the status of the file, either New Add (B) for binary or New Add (T) for text. This command toggles the status of the file in the unlikely event that the heuristic failed.

Note that this status toggle persists only as long as the current CurVeS session. This information is passed to CVS only when the file is added to the module. See the CVS->Add menu command.

Perform cvs commit. The current file or marked files are committed to CVS. CurVeS prompts the user for a commit comment using the preferred editor. See the CommitCommentEditor preference in curves(5).

Perform cvs diff. Differences between the current file or marked files and the most recent version in the CVS repository appear on the console.

Perform cvs log. The CVS log for the current file or marked files appears on the console.

Perform cvs update. This command synchronizes the current directory with the CVS repository. It is important to do this before committing changes.

Chooses the sub-menu for File commands. These perform general file operations pertaining to the operating system.

File->Change dir
Prompts the user for a directory to make the current one.

Invokes the $(EDITOR) on the .curves program preferences file.

Pipes the contents of the current or selected files to less.

Chooses the sub-menu for Mark (select) commands. These change the file selection according to the class of each file.

Marks/selects the not-yet-added files. These are the files that CurVeS determines may be new to the project but have not been added.

Clears all selection marks.

Marks/selects files that are recognized by CVS source control and have been modified in the current directory.

Marks/selects files that have either been edited, added, or removed from the current directory and have not yet been committed.

Change the file sort criteria. The menu bar changes to display the key options and the user input area prompt for a new value. The first sort key is always used. The second and successive keys are used to break ties where the previous keys are ambiguous. For example, an alpha sort is unambiguous and will never use any other keys. Usually, there are many files in each class, so the class key usually requires another key. If an insufficient number of keys is given for an unambiguous sort, a file 'a' alpha key is inferred.

The keys are as follows:

sort alphabetically without regard to case. Thus 'abe' sorts before 'AXE'.
sort alphabetically according to ASCII lexical order. Thus 'AXE' sorts before 'abe'.
sort by file classification mark. The order of these marks is defined internally to CurVeS and is from most interesting to least interesting. Source controlled files are more interesting than uncontrolled files. Edited files are more interesting that unedited, added, removed, or out-of-sync files.
sort newest files first.
sort oldest files first.
sort longest files first, those with the greatest file size.
sort shortest files first, those with the smallest file size.

Display CurVeS version number in the user entry area.

terminates the program.

Search Commands

CurVeS provides a quick method to search for a particular name in the current pane. The solidus '/' key executes a simple forward search command. Enter a string and the cursor moves to the next filename that contains that string. The question mark '?' key executes a simple reverse search.

File Status and Marks

The status of each file is coded in three ways. It is displayed in the status area when the cursor points to the file. The single character prefix for each file indicates the file status. When available, each file is displayed in a color for it's status.

This table shows the name of the file status, the character prefix for that status, the color used for the Linux console, and the color used in X-Windows.

Added           '+'             Magenta / Red
File has been scheduled to be added to the module. This addition will
propagate to the repository on commit.

Checkout                '='             Magenta / Red
File exists in the repository, but has never been checked-out into the
working directory. This occurs in multi-developer projects when others add a new files to a module.

Conflict                '*'             Red / Red
Changes committed to the repository conflict with local changes to the
file. Look through the source file for

<<<<<<< filename
... local changes
... repository changes
>>>>>>> revision

where filename is the name of the local file and revision is the number of the most recent revision comitted to the repository.

These conflicts must be resolved before committing local changes to this file.

Edited          '>'             Yellow / Blue
File has been locally modified and no changes have been committed to
the file since it was checked-out.

Lost                    '^'             Red / Red
The local copy of the file is missing even though it had been
checked-out at one time. The CVS->Update command will restore the latest copy of this file.

NewAdd (T)      '?'             Green / Green
File has not been added to the module and is not excluded by any of
the cvsignore lists. CurVeS has analyzed the file and determined it to be ASCII text. This is the normal mode for new files, but can be changed before it is added to the module by using the CVS->BinaryToggle menu command.

NewAdd (B)      '?'             Green / Green
File has not been added to the project and is not excluded by any of
the cvsignore lists. CurVeS has analyzed the file and determined it to contiain binary data. When added to the module, this file will not experience line-ending changes nor will it have CVS keywords substituted. CurVeS sets the -kb CVS switch for binary files when adding them to a module. This mode may be changed before it is added to the module by using the CVS->BinaryToggle menu command.

Merge           '!'             Magenta / Red
File has been locally modified and has had changes committed to the
repository. The changes from the repository must be merged with the local file copy before CVS commit local changes. Use the CVS->Update commands to merge the repository changes into the local copy of this file.

Patch           '<'             Magenta / Red
Changes to this file have been committed to the repository since it
was last checked-out and no local modification have been made. Use the CVS->Update command to incorporate the repository changes into the local copy of this file.

Removed         '-'             Magenta / Magenta
File has been scheduled to be removed from the repository. The
removal will propagate on commit.

UpToDate                ':'             Cyan / Cyan
File is controlled by CVS but has neither been changed locally nor
have changes been committed to the repository.

Built-in Line Editor

When prompting the user for input, CurVeS uses simple, built-in line editor that emulates the most interesting EMACS keystrokes. If there is a default or current setting for the prompt it is shown highlighted to show selection. Typing a new value will replace the selected value. The left arrow or ^B move the cursor to the left. The right arrow or ^F move the cursor to the right. HOME or ^A moves the cursor to the beginning of the line. END or ^E moves the cursor to the end of the line. DELETE and ^D delete the character under the cursor. BACKSPACE and ^H delete the previous character. ^K deletes the character under the cursor and all characters to the end of the line. ESC and ^G cancel the input. ENTER accepts the new value.

Terminal Emulation

CurVeS does use the termcap and terminfo databases when available, but it does not use either the curses or ncurses packages to interpret them. The program first looks in the terminfo database for the current terminal type. If it isn't found, it then looks for a termcap entry.


CurVeS uses the TERM variable to select the correct terminal type. It uses EDITOR, or VISUAL if EDITOR value is empty, as the editor for the preferences file.


CurVeS always scans the current directory for the latest status for each file. If access to the repository has a high latency or the directory is large, this scan may take much time. In addition, if the repository is remote and the user's access to it is through a dial-up connection, CurVeS may initiate a dial-out. The solution to this problem involves the use of a cached (and potentially stale) view of the repository's latest log entries.

CurVeS has no method for working with trees of files. It is not possible to perform a commit on more than one directory at a time.


Marc Singer <[email protected]>