Yeah, I know - CVS is an archaic mess and there’s not a single reason in the entire world to be using it in 2009… except if you are a Drupal contributor and need to maintain a module (or contribute to one) on For reasons that are complicated and don’t matter to this blog post, Drupal uses CVS and there’s no word that it will switch to something decent like SVN (git users - stay quiet), any time soon.

Fine, but when you actively use a version control, you need to be able to quickly see modified files. Files that need to be added or committed to version control. If you use a GUI CVS client - fine, but I don’t. I do most of my development on remote Linux servers and command-line is my only cvs tool. Now that can get tricky in many ways. One of the ways is ‘cvs status’ command.

For reasons that I will never understand, CVS authors decided to show status of all files when you run this command over a directory. Plus they show 5 lines of information for each file. In the end - you can’t see anything, if you are just looking for the names of modified files. Classic case of “less is more” (by the way - fixed in SVN, the improved CVS).

To emulate the behaviour of “svn status” that just shows a list of modified and new files, I wrote a quick bash script that hopefully somebody else, unlucky enough to be stuck with CVS, may find useful, as well:


    'Locally Added'
    'Locally Modified' 

for i in "${patterns[@]}"
  cvs -Q status -R . | grep -i "$i"