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RE: binary files bad idea? why?

From: Eric Gorr
Subject: RE: binary files bad idea? why?
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 2004 16:09:16 -0400

I want to play with the diff & patch tools a bit myself just to see if I could see something go wrong with CVS and binary files if those files were run through something that would binhex them (similar to uuencoding) via a CVS wrapper.

Everything seemed to work as I expected.

If I understand what CVS does, when to check in a file, it does a diff with the previous version and stores that diff. To do the comparison, it must also use the patch tool.

So, I took two very different binary files (well a mix of binary and text files in a special folder under MacOSX called a NIB) and binhexed them. I then did:

  diff -u filea.hqx fileb.hqx > difference.txt

I then did:

  patch filea.hqx difference.txt

and the resulting file was equivalent to fileb.hqx.

So, I'm sorry...what can go wrong here?

If diff, patch and a binhex tool are the only tools which CVS requires when dealing with binary files, I don't see the problem as long as I never compare the differences between filea.hqx and fileb.hqx and select which ones to keep and which ones to throw away.

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