Merge algorithms

Andrew Bennetts andrew.bennetts at
Thu Sep 23 01:20:30 BST 2010

Eli Zaretskii wrote:
> > Date: Mon, 20 Sep 2010 13:31:53 +1000
> > From: Andrew Bennetts <andrew.bennetts at>
> > Cc: mbp at, bazaar at
> > 
> >     bzr help changelog_merge
> This says, inter alia:
>   To enable this plugin, add a section to your branch.conf or location.conf
>   like::
>       [/home/user/proj]
>       changelog_merge_files = ChangeLog
>   The changelog_merge_files config option takes a list of file paths, separated
>   by commas.
> Just to make sure I understand the semantics of this: what exactly
> does /home/user/proj stand for here?  Is this the root of a branch in

Sorry, that help is a little unclear.  The [path] heading only applies to
location.conf (usually found in ~/.bazaar/location.conf), not a branch.conf.
location.conf is a way to set configuration for all branches under a particular
location of your filesystem.

In a branch.conf (found in .bzr/branch of a branch) you can just put the "option
= value" part.

For instance, I enable news_merge for all my bzr branches with this in my
locations.conf (and never touch the individual branch.conf files):

news_merge_files = NEWS

(To be completely explicit, my branches are at paths like

As a brief aside, I generally prefer putting settings in locations.conf to
branch.conf, because I only need to set it once no matter how many branches I
create (or how I create them).  Here's another part of my locations.conf, for my
non-work code:

email = Andrew Bennetts <andrew at>
push_location = lp:~spiv
push_location:policy = appendpath

So if I have a branch at /home/andrew/code/twisted/fix-bug-1234 then 'bzr push'
will automatically known to push it to lp:~spiv/twisted/fix-bug-1234 (that's the
"appendpath" magic).  And commits I make to that branch will use my non-work
email address.

> which I want the ChangeLog files to be merged by this plugin?  Or do I
> need to specify the subdirectories of the branch explicitly?  If the
> subdirectories do not need to be mentioned explicitly, then why do I
> need the path at all, in a branch.conf file of a branch where I want
> to use this plugin?

IIRC, the filename is relative to the root of the tree, so "ChangeLog" will not
match "src/ChangeLog".  If you need a more flexible policy let me know and I'll
figure out how to adjust the plugin.

> Also, will "bzr remerge" use this plugin automatically, given the
> above addition to branch.conf?

Yes.  So "bzr --no-plugins remerge ChangeLog" is a relatively easy way to
compare what happens without the plugin enabled.  (You could also set
BZR_DISABLE_PLUGINS=changelog_merge in your environment to disable just that
one plugin.)


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