[cvsnt] Merging branch with identical versions still changes

John Peacock jpeacock at rowman.com
Fri Nov 7 10:32:02 GMT 2003

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Glen Starrett wrote:
> But the easiest way to get a non-trivial merge to merge in cleanly is to do
> as I've outlined, I think.  Do you now of a better way?  I would think that
> with the method you're proposing the dev would be manually merging code
> changes into the dev branch instead of CVS automatically merging most of the
> updates + a little manual conflict resolution, which seems like a lot more
> trouble.

I'm still not making myself clear then.  CVS's conflict merging is used in my 
proposal, just as it is in yours.  The only manual processing is the [possibly 
inevitable] manual conflict resolution, which you'd have to do anyway.  In fact, 
with your merge trunk -> branch and branch -> trunk, there is the possibility of 
two manual conflicts (unless the trunk is frozen during this process).

Rather than abstract someone else's work, I urge you to study this section:


of the very well written "Open Source Development with CVS" by Karl Vogel (now a 
core Subversion developer) and Moshe Bar.  I personally prefer the "Flying Fish" 
model which they discuss in some detail, whereas you are using a modified 
"Dovetail" approach.  It depends completely on how independent your development 
is and how many people are working on each branch (I have a small shop).

NOTE: with CVSNT's mergepoint handling, all of the discussion about merging 
repeatedly with the trunk is moot.  You pretty much can merge in either 
direction without worrying about trying to merge already applied changes.

As long as your developers are frequently doing a 'cvs update -j HEAD' on their 
branch, and cleaning up any conflicts, then it is very unlikely that any 
conflicts (either textual or semantic) will occur when their branch is merged 
back to the trunk.  It just seems to me like you are waiting to do that until 
the last moment (when you are ready to merge the branch).

There is more than one to do this process.  I guess I am saying your process is 
OK, but you are not doing it often enough.  You shouldn't wait until you are 
ready to merge the branch into the trunk to find out whether the trunk changes 
are going to break your code.



John Peacock
Director of Information Research and Technology
Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group
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Lanham, MD 20706
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