Converting CVS to Git, with branches

There are quite a number of tools to convert a CVS repository to a Git repository out there. However, most of them don’t seem to be able to copy over the branches properly. A work around is to convert it to Mercurial first, then convert it to Git.

In this example I’m using a repository called RedDog.

First, we need to get Mercurial on the system.

yum install mercurial

Next we need to add the convert extension to the .hrc file. This might be a global file, or might be in your home directory, can’t quite remember.


Check out from CVS and convert to Mercurial.

cvs checkout RedDog
hg convert RedDog

This will create a Mercurial repository called RedDog-hg. Now we need to get hold of Fast Export.

git clone git://

Once we have the software we can initialise a new Git repository that we’re going to use and then CD into the folder.

git init RedDog-git
cd RedDog-git

Run the Fast Export tool, specifying the location of the Mercurial repository.

../fast-export/ -r ../RedDog-hg

This will migrate everything into your new Git repository. If you run an ls -a you should see the .git folder, which you may want to rename to RedDog.git (something.git locations are actually just .git directories).

You may optionally also want to do a check out into that folder.

git checkout HEAD

However, you don’t have to – you can begin using it remotely without doing a local checkout.

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