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Using SVK With Mozilla CVS

Using SVK with Mozilla CVS


When working with Mozilla, you tend to accumulate patches which need to be reviewed, super-reviewed, and/or approved before they can be committed to the trunk. When you have only a few uncommitted patches, you can get by using cvs diff, and just editing the output to remove other patches before submitting. However, this approach quickly becomes unscalable, especially when you have different fixes in the same tree. Using a distributed versioning system like SVK takes out much of the hassle of managing your patches.

Choice of tools

One option is to simply use your own local CVS or Subversion. However, you will likely find that it gets tiresome to merge changes to the live tree back on to patches (without a star-merge command, for example), and performance is probably an issue for trees the size of Mozilla (when it is just for you, commands need to be fast, as waiting for minutes just to manipulate basic patches gets frustrating very quickly).

Another option is GNU Arch. However, this tool also seems to suffer from severe performance issues on trees the size of Mozilla, as most operations seem to require working with tars of the source (which can take minutes to complete). Bazaar may be another option, but it is also known to suffer from performance problems.

Some people have reported success with Monotone. See Using Monotone With Mozilla CVS.

I personally have been using SVK, and it has proved fast but convenient.

Configuring SVK for use with Mozilla CVS

Since we don't want to version control CVS or .mozconfig / files, you need to add them to your global-ignores directive, in /etc/subversion/config or your per-user Subversion (often ~/.subversion/config) configuration file. A line like

global-ignores = *.o *.lo *.la #*# .*.rej *.rej .*~ *~ .#* .DS_Store CVS .mozconf*

should do it.

Our SVK working area

Now lets set up our working area...

svk mkdir -m "Make project root" //mozilla
svk mkdir -m "Somewhere for branches to go" //mozilla/branches
svk mkdir -m "Somewhere for temporary branches to go" //mozilla/temp_branches

Note that if you have never used svk before, the first command will prompt you to create your local depot for storage (just say yes).

Getting an initial tree

The next thing to do is get an initial clean Mozilla tree. Follow the normal checkout instructions for this. Put as many trees as you want in MOZ_CO_PROJECT, based on what you are likely to need.

Do the checkout, and change into the newly checked out directory. Now issue:

svk import -m "Import Mozilla from CVS" -t //mozilla/vendor

From now on, whenever you update, you should put your changes into //mozilla/vendor . In order for things to work nicely, do not commit anything to //mozilla/vendor except when it has come through CVS.

Setting up your trunk

The next thing to do is to create your //mozilla/trunk, as a copy of the vendor. Your trunk will be your working area, into which you will merge all your working patches while you wait for them to get committed to CVS (in other words, your greatest-and-latest version of Mozilla).

To make this, issue:

svk cp //mozilla/vendor //mozilla/trunk

Your checked-out directory

Because you used svk import -t, the original checkout directory is suitable for use as a working directory. If you are short on disk space, or like to keep everything together, it is quite possible to use this one directory for everything, and never check out another directory, just by using the svk switch command.

However, if you do this:

  • You may end up rebuilding a bit more often, due to those pesky timestamps on the files, because svk sw will touch your patches every time you switch to and from vendor.
  • You must commit your patches before you switch back to vendor to update. This means you couldn't, for example, use a cron script to do the updates for you. However, since you are working on branches, and these are private to you, committing broken code is no big deal.

If you do decide to check out, use:

svk co //mozilla/trunk mozilla

and then use svk sw when you want to change onto a branch.

Updating your vendor tree

It may be important to your patch to stay up to date with the Mozilla tree (when the Tinderboxen are green, of course). To update your vendor tree, use a script like the following...


system "svk sw //mozilla/vendor";

open STATUS,'svk status|';

while (<STATUS>)
  print "Error: Tree unclean: " . $_;
  while (<STATUS>)
    print "           ...       " . $_;
  die "Exiting due to unclean tree.\n";

close STATUS;

system "cvs up";
system "make -f checkout";

open STATUS,'svk status|';

while (<STATUS>)
  if (/\?   (.*)[\r\n]+/)
    print "svk add " . $1 . "\n";
    system "svk add " . $1;
  elsif (/\!   (.*)[\r\n]+/)
    # Delete pruned directories...
    $name = $1;
    @parts = split(/\//, $name);
    $subname = shift(@parts);
    if (! -e $subname)
      print "svk remove $subname\n";
      system "svk remove $subname";
    foreach $part(@parts)
      $subname = $subname . "/" . $part;
      if (! -e $subname)
        print "svk remove $subname\n";
        system "svk remove $subname";

Merging vendor changes into the trunk

To merge vendor changes into the trunk (after completing the above vendor update), use the command

svk smerge //mozilla/vendor //mozilla/trunk

Always make sure you get vendor on the left and trunk on the right, because you don't want to merge trunk changes into the vendor tree!

If you get a conflict, I would recommend that you abort, revert the conflicting patches on trunk, re-try the merge, and if necessary, make a new patch from the new trunk and merge any salvageable commits on the bad patch into it.

Starting work on a new patch

When starting work on a new patch, copy the trunk, and switch onto the branch, like this...

svk cp -m "Branch for Bug 12345: Support Foo Bar" //mozilla/trunk //mozilla/branches/bug12345
svk sw //mozilla/branches/bug12345

Now you can edit the tree as you want, and commit to save when finished.

Merging changes on trunk into branches

If you want to merge changes on the trunk (including vendor changes which have been merged into the trunk. Never skip from vendor => branch, always go through trunk or your life will get difficult), use:

svk sm //mozilla/trunk //mozilla/branches/bug12345

Merging changes from branches onto trunk

You can merge committed changes from the branches back on to the trunk using:

svk cm //mozilla/branches/bug12345 //mozilla/trunk

Switching between patches you are working on

Use the svk sw //mozilla/branches/bug54321 to switch to a different branch.

Making patches

There are lots of different patches you can make, but for Bugzilla purposes, you generally want a cumulative one against vendor. To do this, you create a scratch branch (don't worry, these operations are fast, since copies are cheap in SVK).

svk cp -m "Create scratch branch" //mozilla/vendor //mozilla/temp_branches/bug12345_patch1

Next, do a svk log to see what changes you committed to the branch (only counting changes on the branch, not merges). Pick the changes you want, and merge them into the scratch branch as follows:

svk merge -m "Branch to scratch branch" -c revisionno //mozilla/branches/bug12345 //mozilla/temp_branches/bug12345_patch1

Repeat until all desired revisions are added. Note you can also use the form -r firstrevision:lastrevision instead of -c

Finally, do a

svk diff //mozilla/vendor //mozilla/temp_branches/bug12345_patch1

You might also want to remove the temp branch so you don't get confused (it doesn't save disk-space because the revision history is still kept, it doesn't use much either, but it makes it much cleaner if you want to list your temp branches).

Working with multiple branches from CVS

For now, I would suggest just repeating the same structure but in a different directory, because I haven't found a way for SVK to know the relationship between the files. This will still allow you to do merges between different CVS branches.

Document Tags and Contributors

 Contributors to this page: teoli, ethertank, A1kmm, Nickolay
 Last updated by: ethertank,