There are two issues with using CVS to store binary files. The first is that CVS by default convert line endings between the canonical form in which they are stored in the repository (linefeed only), and the form appropriate to the operating system in use on the client (for example, carriage return followed by line feed for Windows NT).
The second is that a binary file might happen to contain data which looks like a keyword (see section Keyword substitution), so keyword expansion must be turned off.
The `-kb' option available with some CVS commands insures that neither line ending conversion nor keyword expansion will be done. If you are using an old version of RCS without this option, and you are using an operating system, such as unix, which terminates lines with linefeeds only, you can use `-ko' instead; if you are on another operating system, upgrade to a version of RCS, such as 5.7 or later, which supports `-kb'.
Here is an example of how you can create a new file using the `-kb' flag:
$ echo '$Id$' > kotest $ cvs add -kb -m"A test file" kotest $ cvs ci -m"First checkin; contains a keyword" kotest
If a file accidentally gets added without `-kb',
one can use the
cvs admin command to recover.
$ echo '$Id$' > kotest $ cvs add -m"A test file" kotest $ cvs ci -m"First checkin; contains a keyword" kotest $ cvs admin -kb kotest $ cvs update -A kotest $ cvs commit -m "make it binary" kotest # For non-unix systems
When you check in the file `kotest' the keywords
are expanded. (Try the above example, and do a
cat kotest after every command). The
admin -kb command sets the default keyword
substitution method for this file, but it does not
alter the working copy of the file that you have. The
easiest way to get the unexpanded version of
cvs update -A. If you need to
cope with line endings (that is, you are using a
CVS client on a non-unix system), then you need to
check in a new copy of the file, as shown by the
cvs commit command above.
However, in using
cvs admin -k to change the
keyword expansion, be aware that the keyword expansion
mode is not version controlled. This means that, for
example, that if you have a text file in old releases,
and a binary file with the same name in new releases,
CVS provides no way to check out the file in text
or binary mode depending on what version you are
checking out. There is no good workaround for this
You can also set a default for whether
cvs import treat a file as binary based on
its name; for example you could say that files who
names end in `.exe' are binary. See section The cvswrappers file.
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