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Unix in a Nutshell, 4th Edition by Arnold Robbins

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Chapter 12. Source Code Management: An Overview

The following chapters describe three popular source code management systems for Unix. This chapter introduces the major concepts involved with using these systems for users who may never have used one. If you're already familiar with source code management, feel free to skip ahead to the particular software suite that interests you. See also the related books in the Bibliography.

This chapter covers the following topics:

  • Introduction and terminology

  • Usage models

  • Unix source code management systems

  • Other source code management systems

Introduction and Terminology

Source code management systems let you store and retrieve multiple versions of a file. While originally designed for program source code, they can be used for any kind of file: source code, documentation, configuration files, and so on. Modern systems allow you to store binary files as well, such as image or audio data.

Source code management systems let you compare different versions of a file, as well as do "parallel development." In other words, you can work on two different versions of a file at the same time, with the source code management system storing both versions. You can then merge changes from two versions into a third version. This will become more clear shortly. We'll start by defining some terms.

Repository

A repository is where the source code management system stores its copy of your file. Usually one Unix file is used to hold all the different versions of a source ...

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