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vadm − manipulate and administer version object base


vadm [ version binding options ] [ options ] [ action ] name..


−?fq ] [ −cache ] [ −force ] [ −help ] [ −nomail ] [ −quiet ] [ −stdin ] [ −version ]


−alias version alias name ] [ −attr attribute ] [ −chaut user ] [ −chmod protection ] [ −chown user ] [ −delattr attribute name ] [ −d (or −delete) ] [ −l (or −lock) [version binding] ] [ −newgen ] [ −promote ] [ −set description note intent ] [ −setc comment leader ] [ −unlock [version binding] ] [ −unpromote ]

vattr [ version binding options ] attribute name..
[ version binding options ] name..
[ version binding options ] name..
[ version binding options ] name..
[ version binding options ] name..
[ version binding options ] name..


vadm is a general purpose command to perform all sorts of actions upon parts of an AtFS object repository. It can be used to lock or unlock an AtFS object for modification, to delete a particular object instance, to associate symbolic (alias) names with version objects, to promote or unpromote certain version objects from one status to another, to modify an objects access permissions, to set or modify a descriptive entry of particular version objects, to set or modify an eventual change intention, and to set or unset various object attributes such as the author or any user defined attributes.

vattr and vrm are short forms for vadm -attr and vadm -delete. See the descriptions of the −attr and the −delete options for details.

sbmt, publ, accs, and frze are alternate program names for vadm that represent status-change operations for version objects. See the description of option −promote for details.

The typical command invocation is supplemented by one or more command options, version binding options defining the versions to be acted upon, an action specifier indicating the sort of action to be performed, and a set of object names defining the initial subset of the object base that’s going to be manipulated.

Object names may be given in bound version notation, i.e. a notation that identifies a particular version of an object (e.g. mkattr.c[2.4]). It is also possible to use a previously assigned symbolic name rather than a numerical version identification (e.g. mkattr.c[tools-V4R3]). Make sure to escape the bracket-symbols when using csh(1) or tcsh(1) because they have meaning to these shells.


For version selection, any version binding option, as described on the vbind(1) manual page, may be given, or a version bind directive may be given in brackets added to the file name.
−?, −help

print brief instructions about using vadm


apply the requested operation to objects residing in the derived object cache. The set of actions that may be performed on binary pool objects is limited.

−f, −force

don’t ask for confirmation when deleting versions from a history.


Suppress the notification mail to the user who holds the lock on a history when breaking this lock (−unlock option).

−q, -quiet

suppress any prompts, informal messages and user dialogues. Default values are assumed for everything that might otherwise be inquired interactively. This option is useful for batch operation.


forces vadm to read a descriptive text, note or intent from standard input if action −set is selected. The note is used for all specified AtFS objects. Otherwise your favorite editor (taken from the EDITOR environment variable) is invoked.


print version information about the vadm program itself. No action will be performed on the database.

vadm will perform all of its operations upon a specified set of AtFS version objects. In case no such set is specified, the operation will be applied to the most recently saved versions of the named object(s).


The kind of action to be performed upon a specified set of AtFS objects is indicated by a keyword. The following actions are defined:
version alias name

assigns the version alias name to the specified version. The name works as an alias for the version number, so it must be different from any other symbolic name assigned to any version object in a particular object history. It is, however, possible to assign the same symbolic name to version objects in different object histories. An object history is usually denoted by a name, similarly to a files name.
The use of alias names is a simple but effective way to associate component members of a system configuration. Typical symbolic names will look something like Mysystem_Release_4.22, indicating that version objects with this name are part of release 4.22 of the system in question.

−attr attrname

Return rthe value of the named attribute. This may be a standard attribute or a user defined attribute. Check the list below for a complete list of standard attribute names.

−attr attrname[+|-]=[@|^|!|*]value

defines a user defined attribute with name attrname and sets it to the value value for all specified version objects. This option may also be used to set the value of certain standard attributes (see list below). If attrname is followed by a single equal-symbol, the respective value of the object is set (or reset) to the specified value. Any previous values will be overwritten. If attrname is immediately followed by the symbols ‘‘plus-equal’’ (+=), the specified attribute value will be appended to the current value of the referenced attribute. Accordingly, ‘‘minus-equal’’ (-=) should remove the specified value from the given attribute. In the current implementation, removal of single values is not supported.
There are four basic kinds of user defined attribute values: genuine values, reference values, execution values, and pointer values. The kind of an attribute value is determined when it is set. If the first character of value is an at character (@), the rest of value is taken to be the name of a file the contents of which will be taken as the value of the attribute. This substitution takes place immediately, i.e. the attribute has a genuine value. If the filename is specified as ‘‘−’’, the attributes value will be read from standard input. If the first character is a circumflex character (^), the rest of value is interpreted as the name of a file whose contents will be substituted for the attribute when it is cited. If the first character of value is an exclamation mark character (!), the rest of value is interpreted as the name of a program whose standard output will be substituted for the attribute when it is cited. Execution values can be used to generate highly dynamic attributes or even a primitive form of event triggers. An asterisk (*) as first character of value indicates a pointer to another version. In this case, the remainder of value must be a valid bound filename.
User defined attributes may be of arbitrary length. Any sequence of ASCII characters − with the exception of \01 (control-A) − is allowed to make up an attribute value. If attrname was already set to some value, the previous value will be replaced by the newly specified one.

−attr @attrfile

With a @filename argument, the −attr option reads names and values of user defined attributes from the named file Each entry (each line) in the attribute file must have a format as described above. The files last character must be a newline character.

−chaut user

sets user the author of a particular revision. Normally, the author of a revision is considered the user who saved that revision. However, as certain permissions are tied to the author attribute of a revision, circumstances may occur that make it necessary to change the author.

−chmod protection

changes the access permission code of the specified version objects to the supplied three-octal-digit protection. Currently, the access permissions are centered around UNIX’ notions of owner, group, and world access as well as the access categories read, write, and execute. These permissions are inherited upon save from the permissions of the file representing the busy object of an AtFS history. See chmod(2) for details.

−chown user

sets user the owner of an entire object history. This option is not supported on BSD type systems, as only the superuser may change the owner of a file.

−delattr attrname

deletes the user defined attribute attrname from the set of attributes associated with the specified version objects.

−d, −delete

removes the specified version objects from the object base, provided the objects’ status is saved. Any other status indicates that some kind of project interaction concerning this object might be in progress. If the programmer wants to delete such a version object anyway, he has to −unpromote the respective objects status to saved before it can actually be deleted.

−l, −lock [version binding]

tries to reserve the privilege to add a new version to an objects history, thus preventing multiple programmers working upon the same object base from interfering with each other by saving concurrent updates. If the locking operation succeeds, write permission is given for the corresponding files in the development directory. When setting a new lock on an object history, the requesting user is prompted for an optional description of the planned changes.
In order to lock an object history successfully, the history must not be locked by any other programmer, and the programmer requesting the lock must have write permission on the AtFS subdirectory hosting the object base.
As ShapeTools allows locking of single generations within a history, -lock optionally expects an argument denoting a generation. Default is the most recent generation. The argument may be a generation number (e.g. 2), a version number (e.g. 1.4), or a version alias (e.g. release-4.7).


opens a new generation by duplicating the identified version. The version must be locked. Any existing busy versions are ignored by this action. If no version binding is specified, the last saved version is taken by default.


assigns the next-better value to the specified objects’ state attribute. There are six states that an object instance can be in: busy, saved, proposed, published, accessed, and frozen. Version states are intended to relate to visibility and operational restrictions (see for example −delete) within a complex project environment.
Due to the current lack of project library support, the version states have very little actual functionality. Implemented to its full extent, certain state transitions may only be triggered by appropriately authorized users. The transitions busy→saved and saved→proposed will be triggered by regular programmers, whereas the remaining transitions have to be initiated by the project administrator.
Each transition corresponds to a specific action or interaction within a general software project communication scheme. As these actions/interactions will be functionally supported by the project support system currently under development, the explicit manipulation of object states will no longer be necessary (except, perhaps for manual adjusting of ill situations).
The following actions relate to the state transitions:
(busy→saved, performed by programmer)
(saved→proposed, performed by programmer)
(proposed→published, performed by project administrator)
(published→accessed, performed by any project member)
(accessed→frozen, performed by project administrator)
A different interface to the status control facilities of vadm is provided by the program aliases sbmt, publ, accs, and frze. These commands correspond to conceptual project interactions like submit, publish, access, and freeze.
is the operation performed by a team programmer when a work result (such as a completed change request) is proposed for inclusion into the official system configuration. The associated status is proposed.
is an operation that is typically performed by members of the quality assurance group, when a work result, as proposed by a team programmer is approved and thus included into the current official system configuration. The associated status is published.
is an operation that is performed during configuration identification, when component versions of a (sub−)product are incorporated into some other (partial) (sub−)system configuration. The associated status is accessed.
is an operation that is performed during configuration identification, when a global release of the entire system configuration is established. The associated status is frozen

−set [description | note | intent]

allows to set or modify the descriptive text for an AtFS history object (i.e. an entire version history), the note usually describing the differences of a version object with respect to its preceding version, or an entry describing a planned change. (Re-) setting the change intention may be appropriate, if a previously set change intent has been consumed by a sbmt command that retained the lock on an object history.
will check the callers environment for the EDITOR variable and invoke the program identified therein. If the EDITOR variable is not set, the systems default editor will be activated. The user may write an arbitrary length descriptive or note entry using the editor. When the user leaves the editor, the resulting text is stored with the object history or the specified version objects.

−setc comment_string

sets commentstring as the (sequence of) character(s) that opens a comment line within the formalism of the document. This comment_string will be prepended to the lines of the log history when the $__log$ attribute is expanded within the text of a revision.


gives up the previously reserved privilege to update the history of an AtFS object and clears the write-permission for the corresponding files. −unlock may be used by the owner of an object history to break a lock previously set by any programmer. This option is useful to resolve deadlock situations resulting from careless use of −lock, or exceptional circumstances that require immediate updating of an object history, even if the lock holder is not present. The previous owner of a broken lock is notified by a mail message. Under some circumstances mail-notifications upon broken locks can be annoying (e.g. when a development tree has been moved to another system or domain with locked busy-versions; in this case the owner must break the locks to check the busy-versions back into the version archives at the new site). To avoid this effect, the switch −nomail can be used to suppress mail notification.
An eventually expressed change intention (see −lock) will be cleared.
Technically, the owner of an objects history is the owner of the AtFS subdirectory hosting the object base.


reverses a state transition carried out through a prior −promote. The same remarks about functional embedding (and thus hiding the state transitions) of state transitions made for −promote hold for −unpromote.


Name Meaning Value Remarks


version alias names

list of alias names, like1,3

‘‘vadm-4.2pre7’’ or ‘‘ShapeTools-1.4’’


time of last access

e.g. ‘‘Tue Jan 14 18:47:06 1992’’3


user who saved a version (domain name does1,3

usually not include the hostname)


unique key for cached versionscompound numeric built from3

creation date, process id, and a serial

number e.g. ‘‘740148430.18469.6’’


comment line leader symbol

dependent on file type1

e.g. ‘‘# ’’ for Shapefiles


time of last status change

as atime


descriptive text for modulemulti line text2


size of delta to previous


version in bytes


major revision number



RCS-style version header



change intent

multi line text



name of current host

e.g. ‘‘avalanche’’



cumulative descriptive entries

multi line text

of all versions from the first

up to this one


user who locks a historyas author3


time of last lock transaction

as atime3


access pprotection

e.g. ‘‘−rw−r−−r−−’’



time of last modification

as atime3


name part of an object identifier

e.g. ‘‘foo’’ for ‘‘foo.c’’3


short note describing the

multi line text1, 2

changes in this version


user who owns the repository in

as author1,3

which this version is archived


bound version identifier of

e.g. ‘‘foo.c[3.22]’’ or ‘‘n/a’’

preceding version


minor revision number



last time when history was locked

as atime


bound version identifier for

e.g. ‘‘foo.c[3.23]’’

this version


bound version identifier fore.g. ‘‘/usr/proj/sample/foo.c[3.23]’’

this version including path


size of the version in bytes



version status

symbolic integers (busy,1,3

saved, proposed, published,

accessed, and frozen)


time when the version was saved

as atime3


bound version identifier of

as pred

successive version


pathname part of an object

e.g. ‘‘/usr/proj/sample’’3


for ‘‘/usr/proj/sample/foo.c’’


suffix part of an object

e.g. ‘‘c’’ for ‘‘foo.c’’3



UNIX file name of this versione.g. ‘‘foo.c’’


UNIX file name of this versione.g. ‘‘/usr/proj/sample/foo.c’’

including path


compound version number

e.g. ‘‘3.22’’1,3

consisting of generation

and revision number


version time, modification time

as atime

for busy versions od save time

for saved/cached versions


pseudo attribute that turns


off subsequent attribute



pseudo attribute that turns


subsequent attribute

expansion on

1 − may be modified by vadm -attr name=value.
2 − may be modified by vadm -set <type>.
3 − recognized by attr* predicates in version bind rules (see bindrules(7)).




save(1), retrv(1), vl(1), vbind(1)


Uli DOT Pralle AT cs DOT tu-berlin DOT de, Axel DOT Mahler AT cs DOT tu-berlin DOT de, Andreas DOT Lampen AT cs DOT tu-berlin DOT de