Handling unmergeable files -- a call to arms

Russel Winder russel.winder at concertant.com
Sat May 30 08:32:21 BST 2009


On Fri, 2009-05-29 at 11:19 -0700, Paul Schauble wrote:
> I don't think 4 works. There may be hundreds of Bazaar repositories that
> contain the file, many of which are currently unreachable by network.
> For a lock to work it would have to lock every single one of these
> repositories. And you can't do it.


The original problem is not to try and create a generalized global
operation -- as people have pointed out this is not possible in general,
and is counter to the whole DVCS thing.

> I think the best that can be done in this case is to keep all of the
> conflicting versions of the file in the repositories as they are updated
> and to note the conflict as requiring human intervention. This doesn't
> necessarily leave you merging by eye. A lot of work processors and
> graphics programs have merge features. But Bazaar can't do it.

If using DVCS then yes, human merging is required.  FrameMaker and
OpenOffice.org have change tracking, but as far as I am aware they don't
have actual merge functions. 

However, the context of the original issue is a centralized workflow.
There is one, and only one repository, any other branch or clone is a
cache not a peer.  So the problem is to lock the master copy of a file
so it is writeable only by the owner of the lock.  There is no intention
to try and generalize this in any way.

The idea Martin put forward of using a plugin are the way forward here,
and I had been thinking along the same lines as he expressed of managing
a lock list.  Given the context and the aim, I think there is a very
viable solution.  All that is required is to find enough person hours to
get the design in a state where a prototype can be built.

Dr Russel Winder      Partner
                                            xmpp: russel at russel.org.uk
Concertant LLP        t: +44 20 7585 2200, +44 20 7193 9203
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London SW11 1EN, UK   m: +44 7770 465 077   skype: russel_winder
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