Note: This document descibes how to get source code for older versions of the code, Gecko 1.9.0， Firefox 3 or earlier, and all versions of NSS and NSPR. Development for Gecko 1.9.1/Firefox 3.5 and beyond uses the Mercurial source code control system.
Those doing active development can check out the latest source using CVS. This is the preferred method if you plan to provide patches and fix bugs, as it lets you get up-to-the-minute changes and merge them with your own.
If you want to compile a product for release, it is generally better to Download Mozilla Source Code tarballs.
Anyone can check out (also known as "pull" or "download") the sources via CVS, but only certain people have the ability to check in (make changes, also known as "commit"). Those people are the module owners and their delegates. Read our document on hacking mozilla to find out how to get the ability to check in. You may also wish to read about using SSH to connect to CVS.
While a Full CVS Checkout is also possible, it is not recommended; it puts undue strain on the mozilla cvs server, and should really be avoided unless you know what you are doing, and need it.
To check out the sources, you need to be running CVS 1.11 or later. Furthermore, you must use GNU make to check out and build Mozilla. No other "make" program is acceptable. On windows, mac and regular GNU systems (like GNU/Linux), use "make" to run GNU make; on most non-GNU unixes (like e.g. Solaris, etc.), use "gmake".
CVS Client Settings
The "cvsroot" (repository identification string) used for anonymous access to Mozilla CVS is
To start using CVS you must first log in. Run the following command:
$ cvs -d :pserver:email@example.com:/cvsroot login # type the password anonymous
If you are using an IDE, use the following server data:
- host: "cvs-mirror.mozilla.org"
- repository path: "/cvsroot"
- user: "anonymous"
- password: "anonymous"
- connection type: pserver
- port: default (2401)
Selecting a Project to Pull
Since several different applications are built from the same basic source code, you must choose which application to checkout on the command line using the
MOZ_CO_PROJECT variable. This information has to be supplied when it comes to the checkout of the actual source code (see the appropriate checkout section below, according to the branch you want to checkout). The possible options include the following:
- The traditional "Mozilla" SeaMonkey suite of browser, mail/news, composer, and other applications.
- The standalone "Firefox" browser.
- The standalone "Thunderbird" mail/news client.
- The standalone HTML composer
- The standalone "Sunbird" calendar app.
- The next-generation XUL application launcher.
- The "Camino" native browser for Macintosh.
- Check out sources for all of the above projects
Multiple projects can be specified with commas:
Note that if you are using a custom
.mozconfig file, you can also specify
MOZ_CO_PROJECT there, instead of including it on the command line.
Checking Out a New Source Tree
Before pulling a tree, you should always check the appropriate Tinderbox to make sure that the codebase is not broken. If there are red tinderboxes, it is usually advisable to wait until they are green before pulling a tree.
To check out a new source tree from scratch, get the
client.mk file which contains makefile instructions which are used to pull the rest of the tree:
$ cvs -d :pserver:firstname.lastname@example.org:/cvsroot co mozilla/client.mk
Note: if you have already set up a
.mozconfig file, you may also need to check out the following files:
cvs -d :pserver:email@example.com:/cvsroot co mozilla/browser/config/mozconfig
cvs -d :pserver:firstname.lastname@example.org:/cvsroot co mozilla/mail/config/mozconfig
If you want to check out the source code of a specific CVS branch, use
$ cvs -d :pserver:email@example.com:/cvsroot co -r BRANCH mozilla/client.mk
instead. To, for example, pull the Firefox 1.5 development branch, replace BRANCH above with MOZILLA_1_8_BRANCH. For available branch tags in Mozilla, see CVS Tags.
The information on pulling project specific
.mozconfig files as listed in the previous section apply to other branches than HEAD as well of course.
After having chosen the correct branch, run:
$ cd mozilla $ make -f client.mk checkout MOZ_CO_PROJECT=option,option
As mentioned above, if you are using a custom
.mozconfig file where you have already specified the
MOZ_CO_PROJECT variable, you do not need to repeat it here on command line.
Updating a Source Tree
In order to update a source tree (being it branch HEAD or a specific branch) to latest branch HEAD, run:
$ cd mozilla $ cvs up -dA client.mk
The -d option adds directories missing from the local tree, i.e. if new directories were introduced on the central repository but were not yet mirrored on the local copy. The -A option removes any "sticky branch" information, which leads to the effect that the tree is updated to HEAD. If you have modified any files on your local tree, but want them to be discarded, simply add the -C option. This overwrites any local chanages.
To update a source tree which was pulled from a specific branch, use
$ cd mozilla $ cvs up -dr BRANCH client.mk
instead. Replace BRANCH by the tag of the branch you want to update. Options -d and -C can be applied as well.
After having specified the update, you can do the checkout:
$ make -f client.mk checkout MOZ_CO_PROJECT=option,option
As always, if you use a custom
.mozconfig file where
MOZ_CO_PROJECT is already defined, you do not need to repeat it on command line.
Creating a Diff File
In order to create a diff of a single local file against the current file in the repository, use:
$ cvs diff -u8p FILENAME
See Creating a patch for more information.
Converting a Downloaded Source Tree
Downloaded source trees from mozilla.org (source tarballs) are already set up with CVS information, like a normal checkout. You can update these trees like normal trees to the latest code, without special action. See previous section on how to update a source tree.
Full CVS Checkout
To checkout the entire mozilla source tree (~700MB) run this command (-P option added to not checkout empty directories):
cvs -d -P :pserver:firstname.lastname@example.org:/cvsroot checkout mozilla