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Can't use CVS through rsh w/o a home directory?

From: David Hoover
Subject: Can't use CVS through rsh w/o a home directory?
Date: Wed, 02 May 2001 12:50:51 -0700

I'm trying to use cvs through rsh here at work. Our password file is
distributed with yp, so we can log into all machines (and are
hosts.equiv'ed so you can rsh without a password), but we don't
necessarily have a home directory on every machine.

I've found that it doesn't seem to work if I don't have a home directory
on the cvs server:

karma-av2.0> hostname
karma-av2.0> echo $CVSROOT
karma-av2.0> cvs -v
Concurrent Versions System (CVS) 1.11 (client/server)
karma-av2.0> rsh fire cvs -v
Concurrent Versions System (CVS) 1.11 (client/server)
karma-av2.0> cvs checkout sandbox
cvs [server aborted]: can't chdir(/mnt/dhoover): No such file or

However, that _does_ make the directory "sandbox/CVS" with the
Repository, Root, and Entries file. The entries file contains just 'D'

If I then go into that directory, and do a cvs update, it checks out the
file from that directory, but it doesn't know about any sub dirs to
recurse into, which severely cripples its usefulness.

If I go onto 'fire', and make myself a home directory, it'll work. It
doesn't write anything to it (I've tried, and it works with root owning
the directory, and my uid not having write permission), it just seems to
insist on being able to chdir to it.

I've grepped, and found that the error message is in the history_write()
function, and skimming the code nearby, it doesn't seem to actually need
to go to my home directory at all (in fact, if the get_homedir()
function didn't return '/mnt/dhoover', I would be okay; it just wouldn't
try to chdir to there)

There's a comment above the get_homedir() function that makes it sound
some developer agrees with me that you shouldn't need a home directory
on the
server, unfortunately, the code seems the behave in a way that requires

Does anyone have suggestions? I could make empty home directories for
in my group, but that would be a bit ugly. Same goes for local password
overriding that & pointing them to something like /tmp. I suppose
another option would be to put something in fire's global login files
that changes $HOME to /tmp if the person's real home dir doesn't exist.

All those could work, but are a bit ugly. Plus, I've had occasion to
access another group's cvs repository, and I don't have the kind of
access needed to make any of those changes there.

Does anyone have any ideas, or should I pass this along to the bug-cvs
list & see if cvs can get modified to cope with the lack of a home


David Hoover
Software Engineer
Cadence Design Systems
(408) 428-5580

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