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RE: How well does CVS handle other types of data?

From: Paul Sander
Subject: RE: How well does CVS handle other types of data?
Date: Thu, 12 Jul 2001 18:23:51 -0700

>--- Forwarded mail from address@hidden

>[ On Friday, July 13, 2001 at 10:01:19 (+1200), Chris Cameron wrote: ]
>> Subject: RE: How well does CVS handle other types of data?
>> But Greg, you say CVS is a source code management tool (really an ASCII text
>> file management tool, given all the caveats you add) and the manual excerpt
>> you quote says CVS is 'a version control system'.  A version control system
>> DOES NOT IMPLY source code management.

>In this case it clearly and absolutely does.  I quote from the manual again:

>    What is CVS?
>    ============

>       CVS is a version control system.  Using it, you can record the
>    history of your source files.
>                    ^^^^^^^^^^^^
>                    ||||||||||||

>Please pay special attention to the last two indicated words!

I remind you of the definition of source files:  Files that cannot be derived
automatically from anything else.  The term "source file" does not not
imply ASCII text.

>Note also that CVS uses RCS files.  RCS uses diff and diff3.  All these
>things together imply that CVS only handles text files.  Q.E.D.

RCS uses only diff to maintain the repository.  And modern versions of
diff, including the one recommended by RCS 5.7, include options to handle
binary files.  And RCS uses those options to maintain the repository.

Using diff3 and the RCS-supplied merge tool is an option.  CVS uses it
because it's convenient, and there happens to be a performance advantage
to using it.  However, pulling three versions from the repository and
invoking a different tool is equally viable.

>> You keep saying to find the screwdriver instead of using the hammer, but
>> a. is it really a hammer for a screw?  It is still being used for version
>> control.  The users have decided the 'merge' features are not important, it
>> is the version control they want.
>> b. where do they find out about screwdrivers?  Are there any screwdrivers or
>> only your hammer plus string and glue solution?

>CVS is a hammer.  Source files are nails.  Non-mergable files are
>machine screws with TORX heads.  You can't effectively drive a TORX head
>machine screw with a hammer.  You can't effectively manage non-mergable
>files with CVS.

All files are trivially mergeable.  Hence, my air gun can both pound nails
and turn screws.

>--- End of forwarded message from address@hidden

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