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Version Control with Git by Jon Loeliger

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Bad Patches

The obligation to create robust, identical content in multiple, distributed repositories around the world—despite the difficulties of today’s email systems—is an onerous task. It is no wonder that a perfectly good patch can be trashed by any number of mail-related failures. Ultimately, the onus is on Git to ensure that the complete patch-email-apply cycle can faithfully reconstruct identical content through an unreliable transport mechanism.

Patch failures stem from many areas, many mismatched tools, and many different philosophies. But perhaps the most common failure is simply failing to maintain exact line-handling characteristics of the original content. This usually manifests itself as line wrappings due to text being reflowed by either the sender or receiver MUAs, or by any of the intermediate MTAs. Luckily, the patch format has internal consistency checks that prevent this type of failure from corrupting a repository.

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