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28.1.9.1 The VC Directory Buffer

The VC Directory buffer contains a list of version-controlled files and their version control statuses. It lists files in the current directory (the one specified when you called C-x v d) and its subdirectories, but only those with a “noteworthy” status. Files that are up-to-date (i.e., the same as in the repository) are omitted. If all the files in a subdirectory are up-to-date, the subdirectory is not listed either. As an exception, if a file has become up-to-date as a direct result of a VC command, it is listed.

Here is an example of a VC Directory buffer listing:

                          ./
         edited           configure.ac
     *   added            README
         unregistered     temp.txt
                          src/
     *   edited           src/main.c

Two work files have been modified but not committed: configure.ac in the current directory, and foo.c in the src/ subdirectory. The file named README has been added but is not yet committed, while temp.txt is not under version control (see Registering).

The ‘*’ characters next to the entries for README and src/main.c indicate that the user has marked out these files as the current VC fileset (see VC Directory Commands).

The above example is typical for a decentralized version control system like Bazaar, Git, or Mercurial. Other systems can show other statuses. For instance, CVS shows the ‘needs-update’ status if the repository has changes that have not been applied to the work file. RCS and SCCS show the name of the user locking a file as its status.

On CVS and Subversion, the vc-dir command normally contacts the repository, which may be on a remote machine, to check for updates. If you change the variable vc-stay-local or vc-cvs-stay-local (for CVS) to nil (see CVS Options), then Emacs avoids contacting a remote repository when generating the VC Directory buffer (it will still contact it when necessary, e.g., when doing a commit). This may be desirable if you are working offline or the network is slow.

The VC Directory buffer omits subdirectories listed in the variable vc-directory-exclusion-list. Its default value contains directories that are used internally by version control systems.