If you are not familiar with CVS, check out our getting started article. These examples are based on Linux.
Checking out pulls a file from your master CVS repository into your local CVS repository (branch). For example, let's say the root directory of your master CVS repository is /var/cvs and the root directory of your local CVS respository (branch) is /home/john.doe/cvs. Let's also say that you want to pull /var/cvs/foo.txt into your local CVS repository. To do this, you must first be in your branch.
You can then use the cvs checkout command to pull foo.txt from the master CVS repository into your local CVS repository.
cvs checkout cvs/foo.txt
The prior command will produce lines beginning with C (checkout) or U (update), like this.
C /var/cvs/foo.txt U /var/cvs/foo.txt
If you are pulling foo.txt into your local CVS repository for the first time, the line should begin with C (checkout). If foo.txt already resides in your local CVS repository, the line should begin with U (update).
Unfortunately, the cvs checkout command produces no output, so the checkout command does not confirm that you were able to pull down the latest revision of the file from the master CVS repository. However, the cvs status command can be used to see if you have the latest revision of the file. In this example, the status is "Up-to-date" and the working revision (local version of file) is the same as the repository revision (master version of file).
cvs status cvs/foo.txt ===================================================================== File: foo.txt Status: Up-to-date Working revision 1.0 Mon Jan 01 12:34:56 2017 Repository revisions: 1.0 /var/cvs/foo.txt Sticky Tag: (none) Sticky Date: (none) Sticky Options: (none)
The -q (quiet) and -Q (very quiet) options can be used to suppress output, which is usually preferred when doing a checkout in a script.
cvs -q checkout /var/cvs/foo.txt cvs -Q checkout /var/cvs/foo.txt