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Version Management with CVS - the CVS manual
by Per Cederqvist et al.
Paperback (6"x9"), 216 pages, 8 figures
ISBN 0954161718
RRP £19.95 ($29.95)

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5.5 Magic branch numbers

This section describes a CVS feature called magic branches. For most purposes, you need not worry about magic branches; CVS handles them for you. However, they are visible to you in certain circumstances, so it may be useful to have some idea of how it works.

Externally, branch numbers consist of an odd number of dot-separated decimal integers. That is not the whole truth, however. For efficiency reasons CVS sometimes inserts an extra 0 in the second rightmost position (1.2.4 becomes 1.2.0.4, 8.9.10.11.12 becomes 8.9.10.11.0.12 and so on).

These "magic branch numbers" are placeholders for branches which have been tagged but not yet physically created as revisions in the repository RCS files. When a file is committed on a magic branch, the magic number is recognized and the corresponding physical RCS branch is created.

CVS does a pretty good job at hiding these so called magic branches, but in a few places the hiding is incomplete:

You can use the admin command to reassign a symbolic name to a branch the way RCS expects it to be. If R4patches is assigned to the branch 1.4.2 (magic branch number 1.4.0.2) in file ‘numbers.c’ you can do this:

$ cvs admin -NR4patches:1.4.2 numbers.c

It only works if at least one revision is already committed on the branch. Be very careful so that you do not assign the tag to the wrong number. (There is no way to see how the tag was assigned yesterday).

ISBN 0954161718Version Management with CVS - the CVS manualSee the print edition