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Re: Countering the usual diatribe against binary files, was cvs diff, pr

From: Paul Sander
Subject: Re: Countering the usual diatribe against binary files, was cvs diff, proposal for change
Date: Tue, 9 Sep 2003 15:43:44 -0700

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>On Tue, 2003-09-09 at 12:12, Kaz Kylheku wrote:
>> On Tue, 9 Sep 2003, Tom Copeland wrote:
>> > On Mon, 2003-09-08 at 16:00, Greg A. Woods wrote:
>> > > I can import gigabytes and terabytes of binaries into CVS too, but no
>> > > matter how much I try I'll never be able to use branches meaningfully in
>> > > such a repository, 
>> > 
>> > Hm.  Do CVS branches not work right with binary files?  I've used
>> > repositories that had lots of binary files (mostly jar files) checked
>> > into them with lots of branches and haven't seen problems yet...
>> JAR files are derived objects, not primary objects.

>Right... although in the case of 3rd party libraries, the line gets a
>bit blurry.  If my project depends on, say, BCEL, I think it's
>reasonable for me to check the BCEL jar file into my module/lib

>>  You never have to
>> care that derived objects are not mergeable, because you merge their
>> corresponding primary objects (.java source files, in this case) and
>> rebuild the derived objects.  These newly generated derived objects
>> are then checked in.

>Right on, for my code, yup.  3rd party jars are, I think, another

>> It's usually a bad idea to add derived objects, such as compiled object
>> files, to the version control system. From time to time it's
>> justifiable; for example, if you have some large body of stable code
>> that changes infrequently, it can save you time not to recompile it, at
>> the cost of a larger repository and longer checkout time.

>Yup, I think 3rd party jars are in this category.

>But back to the original question - is there any reason why a branch
>would not work with a binary file?  I haven't seen any problems yet...

I have never run into problems branching binary files, except for the
"cvs update" command doing funny things when it thinks that diff3 is a
reasonable merge tool for arbitrary data.  But then, those situations
are not expected to produce meaningful results, so no biggie.

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