CVS---Concurrent Versions System. Node: Sticky tags

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4.5: Sticky tags

Sometimes a working copy's revision has extra data associated with it, for example it might be on a branch (see Branching and merging), or restricted to versions prior to a certain date by `checkout -D' or `update -D'. Because this data persists -- that is, it applies to subsequent commands in the working copy -- we refer to it as sticky.

Most of the time, stickiness is an obscure aspect of CVS that you don't need to think about. However, even if you don't want to use the feature, you may need to know something about sticky tags (for example, how to avoid them!).

You can use the status command to see if any sticky tags or dates are set:

$ cvs status driver.c
File: driver.c          Status: Up-to-date

    Version:   Sat Dec  5 19:35:03 1992
    RCS Version: /u/cvsroot/yoyodyne/tc/driver.c,v
    Sticky Tag:         rel-1-0-patches (branch: 1.7.2)
    Sticky Date:        (none)
    Sticky Options:     (none)

The sticky tags will remain on your working files until you delete them with `cvs update -A'. The `-A' option retrieves the version of the file from the head of the trunk, and forgets any sticky tags, dates, or options.

The most common use of sticky tags is to identify which branch one is working on, as described in Accessing branches. However, non-branch sticky tags have uses as well. For example, suppose that you want to avoid updating your working directory, to isolate yourself from possibly destabilizing changes other people are making. You can, of course, just refrain from running cvs update. But if you want to avoid updating only a portion of a larger tree, then sticky tags can help. If you check out a certain revision (such as 1.4) it will become sticky. Subsequent cvs update commands will not retrieve the latest revision until you reset the tag with cvs update -A. Likewise, use of the `-D' option to update or checkout sets a sticky date, which, similarly, causes that date to be used for future retrievals.

Many times you will want to retrieve an old version of a file without setting a sticky tag. The way to do that is with the `-p' option to checkout or update, which sends the contents of the file to standard output. For example, suppose you have a file named `file1' which existed as revision 1.1, and you then removed it (thus adding a dead revision 1.2). Now suppose you want to add it again, with the same contents it had previously. Here is how to do it:

$ cvs update -p -r 1.1 file1 >file1
Checking out file1
RCS:  /tmp/cvs-sanity/cvsroot/first-dir/Attic/file1,v
VERS: 1.1
$ cvs add file1
cvs add: re-adding file file1 (in place of dead revision 1.2)
cvs add: use 'cvs commit' to add this file permanently
$ cvs commit -m test
Checking in file1;
/tmp/cvs-sanity/cvsroot/first-dir/file1,v  <--  file1
new revision: 1.3; previous revision: 1.2
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