CScope released by SCO on SourceForge

Posted 18 Apr 2000 at 19:48 UTC by jlbec Share This

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I ran into a small program named cscope. It didn't do much. It just databased every symbol in a C source tree (including #include files) and let me search them powerfully.

I immediately put it to use, and it made navigating large projects a breeze. Sure, grep + vi does some nice things when hunting symbols, but not like this. Even better, cscope allowed tracking of symbols and files. This meant that I didn't have to hunt which file called foo_func(). Cscope would tell me.

Alas, cscope was written by AT&T in the good old days of AT&T Unix. The license? Pay for everything AT&T provides in Unix development tools. The copy I had discovered was on an AIX machine, shown to me by an AIX kernel developer. I could use it, but I had no source.

Most of my hacking is on Linux. I had no cscope for Linux. It did not become an everyday tool of mine. Rather, I pulled it out of its box when I desperately needed it. I would upload sources to an AIX machine just to examine them when they confused the bejezus out of me.

What of free alternatives? There is cs, a free clone. I tried it. It was not really usable, both from an UI standpoint and what it tracked. uzi put together nice shell wrappers for the old grep/vi tricks in his package cgvg, but they didn't do what I needed, and like most folks, I am already used to the hand-tracking of grep/vi searching. He has since started a cscope clone, but that is for future release.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered today that SCO has posted the cscope sources on SourceForge. Sure enough, it is an "i386" build tree. What happened to the support for most SysV/BSD/etc unices, I dunno. It is probably a couple tweaks away. They claim the soonest TODO is auto* support.

Needless to say, I am a happy camper. I've been waiting for this. Of course, who knows what license issues will come down (SourceForge says BSD License). Other issues may crop up. In the meantime, a powerful tool that I find extremely useful is finally available on the Linux platform.

Hip hip hooray!, posted 19 Apr 2000 at 07:39 UTC by uzi » (Journeyer)

I was surprised and pleased to see cscope released... I was working on making an open sourced clone (not too far along yet) of it with added features. I've grabbed the offering from SCO, and it's mostly the version I knew and loved while I was working at Sun, with some bugs. The initial complaint I've heard is that it doesn't work with Debian or OpenBSD, but it works mostly fine on my Redhat machines. The code looks like it was meant for i386, but using that Makefile worked on my Sparc Redhat machines. I've also noticed that the compressed database when not using the '-c' option is a bit messed up in some instances.

Moving forward, though, I'm interested to see how SCO will treat things. I've already noticed a few things I want to add/fix/change, and depending on the response I get, I'll either work on this version, make a new fork, or go back to rolling my own.

It's definitely great that we have this great tool at our disposal now... kudos to SCO for doing this... so I'm curious as to why they released version 13.0 rather than the most recent (which is some 13.x.y, x ~= 7)...

Works with Debian, posted 19 Apr 2000 at 08:05 UTC by ruud » (Journeyer)

The initial complaint I've heard is that it doesn't work with Debian...

It works fine with Debian after changing /usr/tmp into /var/tmp in the definition of TMPDIR in main.c. I also noted it builds and runs fine without any further modifications on Debian/Alpha. Haven't tried any other architectures yet.

lint, posted 19 Apr 2000 at 08:53 UTC by zw » (Master)

Now if we could just get a lint clone that builds on Linux... NetBSD's lint is pretty good but it's inextricably tied to the BSD file tree.

ruud: good call, posted 19 Apr 2000 at 10:10 UTC by uzi » (Journeyer)

ruud: good call, dude... I've been too busy looking at some of the other bugs I've encountered... and on Redhat machines I have here (Sparc and x86). Odd using /usr/tmp instead of /var/tmp ... must be a SCO-ism...

/usr/tmp is just old-UNIX, posted 19 Apr 2000 at 11:28 UTC by argent » (Master)

Back in the old days there *wasn't* a /var... you had /usr/spool, /usr/tmp/, and so on. Looks like SCO is still remaining compatible with Xenix-86. That was their first product, after all.

cscope, vi and mkid, posted 19 Apr 2000 at 20:29 UTC by Ankh » (Master)

The BSD nvi has hooks to talk to cscope, as I recall. At least, the author mentioned that to me in email a long time ago;; I wasn't able to try it at the time, since cscope wasn't free.

You might also want to look at mkid, a set of tools for indexing source code. They are GNUware these days I think, and are pretty useful. Of course, ctags goes a long way too. None of these is especially good with C++ or Java.

Oh, and /usr/tmp was on a slower disk on the early research Unix system, and was intended for larger files than /tmp, which was small. It was moved to /var/tmp so you could mount /usr/read-only; some systems have a symlink from /usr/tmp to /var/tmp.

nvi and glimpse, posted 19 Apr 2000 at 23:55 UTC by jmg » (Master)

The program nvi which comes with FreeBSD (and possibly other *BSD's) has a little document cscope.NOTES on how it was extended to support cscope.

Another useful utility for search large source trees is glimpse. It will create a database which can be quickly search. You can use eregex with it, and it can search 30+megs of data in a fraction of a second.

I haven't tried running cscope on something like FreeBSD's kernel, but I will in the near future. Getting cscope to compile under FreeBSD was easy, changed some curses.h to ncurses.h, change wait.h to sys/wait.h, and remove some duplicate declarations.

Re: lint, posted 21 Apr 2000 at 07:43 UTC by eivind » (Master)

  • It shouldn't be hard to port FreeBSD's or NetBSD's lint to Linux, but they are IMHO not nice.
  • A usable free (as in beer) alternative is lclint. The only significant license restriction is this (the rest is disclaimers and "you-may-not-remove-this-license)"-stuff:
         2. Works derived from this code are not distributed for
            commercial gain without explicit permission from MIT 
            (for permission contact

    Linux binaries are available.

  • My own favourite is flexelint; it compiled under Linux the last time I checked, but that was in 1995 or so. This is a very, very nice lint, but it costs quite a lot. I have no affiliation with Gimpel beyond being a happy customer each time I work for an employer that use C or C++ and have enough money to purchase from them (ie, anything that isn't an early startup.)


Re: lclint, posted 22 Apr 2000 at 01:26 UTC by broonie » (Journeyer)

lclint has been GPLed since at least the current version (2.4b). There's a web site.

Re: lclint, posted 22 Apr 2000 at 10:53 UTC by eivind » (Master)

Could you please substantiate your claim that lclint is under the GPL? I looked for licensing references on the web site before posting my article, and did not find any. The license quote comes from the "LICENSE" file in the lclint-2.4b distribution. The distribution contains references to the GPL in the cpp part (which is derived from the GCC preprocessor) and the configure script, but not in the main program.


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