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CTM(1)                  FreeBSD General Commands Manual                 CTM(1)

     ctm - source code mirror program

     ctm [-cFklquv] [-b basedir] [-B backup-file] [-e include-regex]
         [-t tar-command] [-T tmpdir] [-V level] [-x exclude-regex] file ...

     The ctm utility was originally ``Cvs Through eMail'', but now instead it
     seems more fitting to call it ``Current Through eMail''.

     The ctm utility is now meant to be the definitive way to make and apply a
     delta between two versions of a directory tree.

     There are two parts to this, making the delta and applying it.  These are
     two entirely different things.

     To apply a CTM delta, you pass it to the ctm command.  You can pass a CTM
     delta on stdin, or you can give the filename as an argument.  If you do
     the latter, you make life a lot easier for your self, since the program
     can accept gzip'ed files and since it will not have to make a temporary
     copy of your file.  You can specify multiple deltas at one time, they
     will be processed one at a time.  Deltas that are already applied will be

     The ctm command runs in a number of passes.  It will process the entire
     input file in each pass, before commencing with the next pass.

     Before working on a file name ctm first checks for the existence of the
     file name.ctm.  If this file exists, ctm works on it instead.

     Pass 1 will verify that the input file is OK.  The syntax, the data and
     the global MD5 checksum will be checked.  If any of these fail, ctm will
     simply reject the input file.

     Pass 2 will validate that the directory tree is in the state expected by
     the CTM delta.  This is done by looking for files and directories which
     should/should not exist and by checking the MD5 checksums of files.

     If a backup-file had been specified using the -B option, all files that
     would be modified by this ctm invocation are backed up to this file using
     the archiver command specified by the -t option.  The default archiver
     command is tar -rf %s -T -.

     Pass 3 will actually apply the delta.

     The list of files that would be modified by ctm is subject to filtering
     regular expressions specified using the -e and -x options.  The -e and -x
     options are applied in order of appearance on the command line.  The last
     filter that matched a given file name determines whether the file would
     be operated on or left alone by ctm.

     The ctm utility will extract the file hierarchy below its working
     directory.  Absolute filenames or filenames containing references through
     `.' and `..' are explicitly prohibited as a security measure.

     -b basedir
             Prepend the path basedir to every filename.

     -B backup-file
             Backup all files that would be modified by this CTM run to
             backup-file.  If any filters are specified using the -e and -x
             options, then the final set of files backed up are those that
             would be modified by CTM after the filters are applied.

     -c      Check it out, do not do anything.

     -e regular_expression
             Match each name in the CTM file against regular_expression, and
             if it matches process the file, otherwise leave it alone.  There
             may be any number of these options.  Use of this option disables
             the .ctm_status sequence number checks.  For example, the
             expression ^usr.sbin/ctm for example, will select the
             usr.sbin/ctm source directory and all pathnames under it.

             Pathnames can be disabled from being considered by CTM using the
             -x option.

     -F      Force.

     -k      Keep files and directories and do not remove them even if the CTM
             file specifies they are to be removed.  If the -B option is
             specified, these files and directories will not be backed up.

     -l      List files that would be modified by this invocation of CTM and
             the actions that would be performed on them.  Use of the -l
             option disables the .ctm_status checks and integrity checks on
             the source tree being operated on.  The -l option can be combined
             with the -e and -x options to determine which files would be
             modified by the given set of command line options.

     -q      Tell us less.

     -t tar-command
             Use tar-command instead of the default archiver tar.  This option
             takes effect only if a backup file had been specified using the
             -B option.  A %s in the tar command will be replaced by the name
             of the backup file.

     -T tmpdir
             Put temporary files under tmpdir.

     -u      Set modification time of created and modified files to the CTM
             delta creation time.

     -v      Tell us more.

     -V level
             Tell us more.  Level is the level of verbosity.

     -x regular_expression
             Match each name in the CTM file against regular_expression and if
             it matches, leave the file alone.  There may be any number of
             these options.  Use of this option disables the .ctm_status
             sequence number checks.

             Pathnames can be selected for CTM's consideration using the -e

     On its own, CTM is an insecure protocol - there is no authentication
     performed that the changes applied to the source code were sent by a
     trusted party, and so care should be taken if the CTM deltas are obtained
     via an unauthenticated medium such as regular email.  It is a relatively
     simple matter for an attacker to forge a CTM delta to replace or precede
     the legitimate one and insert malicious code into your source tree.  If
     the legitimate delta is somehow prevented from arriving, this will go
     unnoticed until a later delta attempts to touch the same file, at which
     point the MD5 checksum will fail.

     To remedy this insecurity, CTM pieces generated by are
     cryptographically signed in a format compatible with the GNU Privacy
     Guard utility, available in /usr/ports/security/gpg, and the Pretty Good
     Privacy v5 utility, /usr/ports/security/pgp5.  The relevant public key
     can be obtained by fingering

     CTM deltas which are thus signed cannot be undetectably altered by an
     attacker.  Therefore it is recommended that you make use of GPG or PGP5
     to verify the signatures if you receive your CTM deltas via email.

     TMPDIR, if set to a pathname, will cause ctm to use that pathname as the
     location of temporary file.  See tempnam(3), for more details on this.
     The same effect may be achieved with the -T flag.

     .ctm_status contains the sequence number of the last CTM delta applied.
     Changing or removing this file will greatly confuse ctm.

     Using the -e and -x options can update a partial subset of the source
     tree and causes sources to be in an inconsistent state.  It is assumed
     that you know what you are doing when you use these options.

     cd ~cvs
     /usr/sbin/ctm ~ctm/cvs-*

     To extract and patch all sources under `lib'

     cd ~/lib-srcs
     /usr/sbin/ctm -e '^lib' ~ctm/src-cur*

     Numerous messages, hopefully self-explanatory.  The ``noise level'' can
     be adjusted with the -q, -v and -V options.

     ctm_dequeue(1), ctm_rmail(1), ctm_smail(1), ctm(5)

     Using CTM, The FreeBSD Handbook,

     Miscellaneous CTM on FreeBSD Resources,

     Initial trials were run during the work on FreeBSD 1.1.5, and many bugs
     and methods were hashed out.

     The ctm command appeared in FreeBSD 2.1.

     The CTM system has been designed and implemented by Poul-Henning Kamp

     Joerg Wunsch <> wrote this man-page.

FreeBSD 11.0-PRERELEASE        December 14, 2015       FreeBSD 11.0-PRERELEASE


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