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Storing generated files (was: Re: Make cvs ignore some changes in files)

From: Mike Ayers
Subject: Storing generated files (was: Re: Make cvs ignore some changes in files)
Date: Thu, 22 Aug 2002 12:22:58 -0700
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.0; en-US; rv:1.1b) Gecko/20020721

Riechers, Matthew W wrote:
From: Christian Andersson [mailto:address@hidden

I have some genereated source-files that I need to have in the cvs

Why must they be in CVS?

For those who cannot fathom why generated files may need to be archived, I will, without knowing the details of Mr. Andersson's problem, give reasonable and common scenarios for storing generated files:

1) The generation process itself is too expensive. Hardware (FPGA and ASIC) design tools and 3D graphics come to mind, where generation can require several days on a cluster. One cannot simply expect each developer to generate their own result file, unless one owns controlling interest in the server supplier.

2) The generation will not necessarily produce the same result. A good example is lex/flex and yacc/bison generation. Lex and yacc are different tools on most of the machines on which they occur, yet tend to produce better (and, as I recall, more portable(?!)) results than flex/bison on those systems. A project I worked on would generate files using lex/yacc on a specific platform and archive them into the sources. Those building the project would compile, and most would get satisfactory results. Those who did not could clean out the generated files and rebuild; this usually worked. We could not require generation of these files, as not all systems had lex/yacc or flex/bison.

        3)  The generation tool is not available on all supported platforms.

4) The generation tool is nondeterministic. There are two cases of this that I know of. First, there is Altera's FPGA compiler (at least last time I checked). Next is cryptography: one would want to start by generating random seeds. However, for test runs, one would like to archive a seed file so that results are consistent.

        I hope this helps explain why generated files may need to be stored.


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