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Re: using 'mv' to replace files, subversion does not detect changes

From: Ryan Bloom <rbloom_at_gmail.com>
Date: 2005-08-07 20:41:44 CEST

mv and cp are very different under the covers, which is why this is
happening. cp always deletes the old file, then it creates a new file
with the same name, and copies all of the data. mv, on the other
hand, just replaces the name if the files are on the same filesystem.
The timestamps for moved files aren't changed.

svn uses the timestamps of files as a clue to determine if it should
do more investigation into if the file has changed. This is a
performance optimization that svn (and cvs, and most other version
control systems) use, because it is much faster to look at timestamps
than it is to actually compare content.

The easiest work-around, is to just touch the files after you have
moved them. You could probably modify etc-update to do this for you,
because it is just a python script. But, why do the moved files have
an older timestamp than the files in the .svn directory? Generally,
the moved files should have been placed on the filesystem long after
your checkout. Can you check the timestamps the next time this


On 8/7/05, Wesley Leggette <lists@kaylix.net> wrote:
> I am using subversion 1.1.3, and occasionally I'll want to replace a
> file in a working copy with the contents of a file outside that
> repository. To replace file A (inside working copy) with the contents of
> file B (outside working copy) I issue 'mv B /path/to/checkout/A'.
> The result is that subversion does not detect any change to file A.
> Neither 'svn status' nor 'svn diff' show anything.
> However, 'cp' seems to work fine. 'cp B /path/to/checkout/A' will
> produce the desired result.
> For normal source code work, I've been sticking with cp B.. rm B, but I
> also use svn for tracking changes in /etc on my gentoo distribution.
> There is a tool called etc-update that replaces outdated configuration
> files with mv, which produces the problem mentioned above. This is where
> I first noticed the problem.
> Is this a bug in subversion and is there a practical work-around?
> Thanks.
> --
> Wesley Leggette <lists@kaylix.net>
> GPG Key: http://www.kaylix.net/kaylix.asc or http://pgp.mit.edu
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> =d0YA

Ryan Bloom
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Received on Sun Aug 7 20:43:22 2005

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