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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
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5.10 Merging and keywords

If you merge files containing keywords (see section 12 Keyword substitution), you will normally get numerous conflicts during the merge, because the keywords are expanded differently in the revisions which you are merging.

Therefore, you will often want to specify the ‘-kk’ (see section 12.4 Substitution modes) switch to the merge command line. By substituting just the name of the keyword, not the expanded value of that keyword, this option ensures that the revisions which you are merging will be the same as each other, and avoid spurious conflicts.

For example, suppose you have a file like this: and your working directory is currently on the trunk (revision 1.2). Then you might get the following results from a merge:

$ cat file1
key $Revision: 1.2 $
. . .
$ cvs update -j br1
U file1
RCS file: /cvsroot/first-dir/file1,v
retrieving revision 1.1
retrieving revision 1.1.2.1
Merging differences between 1.1 and 1.1.2.1 into file1
rcsmerge: warning: conflicts during merge
$ cat file1
<<<<<<< file1
key $Revision: 1.2 $
=======
key $Revision: 1.1.2.1 $
>>>>>>> 1.1.2.1
. . .

What happened was that the merge tried to merge the differences between 1.1 and 1.1.2.1 into your working directory. So, since the keyword changed from Revision: 1.1 to Revision: 1.1.2.1, CVS tried to merge that change into your working directory, which conflicted with the fact that your working directory had contained Revision: 1.2.

Here is what happens if you had used ‘-kk’:

$ cat file1
key $Revision: 1.2 $
. . .
$ cvs update -kk -j br1
U file1
RCS file: /cvsroot/first-dir/file1,v
retrieving revision 1.1
retrieving revision 1.1.2.1
Merging differences between 1.1 and 1.1.2.1 into file1
$ cat file1
key $Revision$
. . .

What is going on here is that revision 1.1 and 1.1.2.1 both expand as plain Revision, and therefore merging the changes between them into the working directory need not change anything. Therefore, there is no conflict.

There is, however, one major caveat with using ‘-kk’ on merges. Namely, it overrides whatever keyword expansion mode CVS would normally have used. In particular, this is a problem if the mode had been ‘-kb’ for a binary file. Therefore, if your repository contains binary files, you will need to deal with the conflicts rather than using ‘-kk’.

As a result of using ‘-kk’ during the merge, each file examined by the update will have ‘-kk’ set as sticky options. Running update -A will clear the sticky options on unmodified files, but it will not clear the sticky options on modified files. To get back to the default keyword substitution for modified files, you must commit the results of the merge and then run update -A.

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