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Re: CVS corrupts binary files ...

From: Greg A. Woods
Subject: Re: CVS corrupts binary files ...
Date: Thu, 17 Jun 2004 18:40:34 -0400 (EDT)

[ On Thursday, June 17, 2004 at 17:03:34 (-0400), Eric Gorr wrote: ]
> Subject: Re: CVS corrupts binary files ...
> #1 is, of course, a very compelling reason to use any piece of 
> software that works. Can you point to an alternative to CVS that is 
> also free?

Check the various FAQs related to software configuration management and
Google for relevant phrases.

There are quite a few such systems -- which you might choose will depend
on many factors only you can know!  ;-)

> There is one thing that I simply don't understand with respect to CVS 
> and Binary Files.
> Why would it not work well to use a CVS Wrapper to binhex (uuencode, 
> etc.) a binary file and then essentially have CVS to only see your 
> file as a text file?

Well, if you think you can easily resolve a conflict from a merge of a
binary file that's been encoded into some plain-text form, then I'll bet
you can also read and debug good old-fashioned hex dumps in your sleep
too!  :-)

> It's pretty obvious to everyone that merge features of CVS will not 
> work with binary files and should not be attempted.

Precisely!  :-)

> However, diff & patch should work on a binhex'd file.

No, they won't -- at least they won't unless you can properly decode,
successfully merge bits of, and then properly recode them into a
consistent hex dump again.

I.e. keep in mind what the "C" in CVS really means.  Even though it
comes first in the name it's really _very_ central to the design of the

If you don't need/want to use a concurrent versioning system then please
don't try to use CVS, even if it is free, and even if it is the kind of
client/server system you're looking for.  Just because you have two
nails and a screw doesn't mean a hammer is the only tool you'll need.
You might even be able to eventually hammer the nails in with the handle
of your screwdriver, but I'm sure you'll agree it's still not the right
tool for the job either.

People do indeed manage to get by with just a screwdriver sometimes, and
they don't always hurt themselves or damage their screwdriver when they
hammer in nails with it either, but that still doesn't mean anyone
really should be advising them that they're doing the right thing.  They
do that sort of thing on the Red Green show, but they get away with it
because their goal is to be funny, not to build software, etc.

                                                Greg A. Woods

+1 416 218-0098                  VE3TCP            RoboHack <address@hidden>
Planix, Inc. <address@hidden>          Secrets of the Weird <address@hidden>

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