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The status command is informational, it doesn't do anything to a checked-out project, but it tells you something about it.

Running  fossil status  currently prefixes the output of the changes command with information about the repository and checkout. The information is in the form of the Artifact IDs of the server code, the checkout, and the parent (of, I think the checkout.)

This is useful for getting an at-a-glance view of the state of your project, especially in a situation where you need the artifact IDs.

Here is what I get when I issue a status on my local version of the fossil repository as I write this:

   $ fossil status
   repository:   /home/me/myclone.fossil
   local-root:   /home/me/fossil/
   server-code:  99d6c9cf3f262720579db177503812814d712fc7
   checkout:     a8c3a7ea9249281e0a1fb55fb31d2ad57844f848
   parent:       21cecd209f7201f17e8a784c0d8f735603d440ae
   EDITED   www/
   EDITED   www/
   EDITED   www/
   EDITED   www/
   EDITED   www/
   EDITED   www/
   EDITED   www/

Once I actually make changes to the repository (say, a commit) most of that will change—all of those files showing as "EDITED" will be checked in and won't show up, and the artifact IDs will reflect the new state of the repository.

If the only thing you want to see is which files in the checked-out source tree have changed in some way, use the changes command.

If what you want is the files in the checked-out source tree which are not part of the project, use the extra command.

See also: fossil changes, fossil extra, Fossil concepts, Reference