Handles packages/modules retrieved from a CVS repository.

Important: This task needs cvs binary on the path. If it isn't, you will get an error (such as error=2 on Windows). If <cvs> doesn't work, try to execute cvs.exe from the command line in the target directory in which you are working. Also note that this task assumes that the cvs executable is compatible with the Unix version, this is not completely true for certain other CVS clients—like CVSNT for example—and some operation may fail when using such an incompatible client.

CVSNT Note: CVSNT prefers users to store the passwords inside the registry. If the cvspass task and the passfile attribute don't seem to work for you, the most likely reason is that CVSNT ignores your .cvspass file completely. See bugzilla report 21657 for recommended workarounds.


Attribute Description Required
command the CVS command to execute. No; default is checkout
compression true (equivalent to compressionlevel=3) or false No; defaults to false
compressionlevel A number between 1 and 9 (corresponding to possible values for CVS -z# argument). Any other value is treated as compression=false No; defaults to no compression
cvsRoot the CVSROOT variable. No
cvsRsh the CVS_RSH variable. No
dest the directory where the checked out files should be placed. Note that this is different from CVS's -d command line switch as Apache Ant will never shorten pathnames to avoid empty directories. No; default is project's basedir
package the package/module to check out. Note: multiple attributes can be split using spaces. Use a nested <module> element if you want to specify a module with spaces in its name. No
tag the tag of the package/module to check out. No
date Use the most recent revision no later than the given date No
quiet suppress informational messages. This is the same as -q on the command line. No; defaults to false
reallyquiet suppress all messages. This is the same as -Q on the command line. since Ant 1.6. No; defaults to false
noexec report only, don't change any files. No; defaults to false
output the file to direct standard output from the command. No; default is output to the log as MSG_INFO
error the file to direct standard error from the command. No; default is error to the log as MSG_WARN
append whether to append output/error when redirecting to a file. No; defaults to false
port Port used by CVS to communicate with the server. No; default is 2401
passfile Password file to read passwords from. No; default is ~/.cvspass
failonerror Stop the build process if the command exits with a return code other than 0. No; defaults to false

Parameters specified as nested elements


Specifies a package/module to work on, unlike the package attribute modules specified using this attribute can contain spaces in their name.

Attribute Description Required
name The module's/package's name. Yes


Check out the package/module ant from the CVS repository pointed to by the cvsRoot attribute, and store the files in ${ws.dir}.

<cvs cvsRoot=""

Update the package/module that has previously been checked out into ${ws.dir}.

<cvs dest="${ws.dir}" command="update"/>

Silently (-q) create a file called patch.txt containing a unified (-u) diff which includes new files added via cvs add (-N) and can be used as input to patch.

<cvs command="-q diff -u -N" output="patch.txt"/>

The equivalent, using <commandline> elements, is:

<cvs output="patch">
        <argument value="-q"/>
        <argument value="diff"/>
        <argument value="-u"/>
        <argument value="-N"/>


<cvs output="patch">
        <argument line="-q diff -u -N"/>

You may include as many <commandline> elements as you like. Each will inherit the failonerror, compression, and other "global" parameters from the <cvs> element.

Update from the head of repository ignoring sticky bits (-A) and creating any new directories as necessary (-d).

<cvs command="update -A -d"/>

Note: the text of the command is passed to cvs "as-is" so any cvs options should appear before the command, and any command options should appear after the command as in the diff example above. See the CVS book for details, specifically the Guide to CVS commands.