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File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Top,  Next: Overview,  Up: (dir)

Comparing and Merging Files
***************************

This manual is for GNU Diffutils (version 3.6, 6 May 2017), and
documents the GNU 'diff', 'diff3', 'sdiff', and 'cmp' commands for
showing the differences between files and the GNU 'patch' command for
using their output to update files.

   Copyright (C) 1992-1994, 1998, 2001-2002, 2004, 2006, 2009-2017 Free
Software Foundation, Inc.

     Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this
     document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License,
     Version 1.3 or any later version published by the Free Software
     Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and
     no Back-Cover Texts.  A copy of the license is included in the
     section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License."

* Menu:

* Overview::              Preliminary information.
* Comparison::            What file comparison means.

* Output Formats::        Formats for two-way difference reports.
* Incomplete Lines::      Lines that lack trailing newlines.
* Comparing Directories:: Comparing files and directories.
* Adjusting Output::      Making 'diff' output prettier.
* diff Performance::      Making 'diff' smarter or faster.

* Comparing Three Files:: Formats for three-way difference reports.
* diff3 Merging::         Merging from a common ancestor.

* Interactive Merging::   Interactive merging with 'sdiff'.

* Merging with patch::    Using 'patch' to change old files into new ones.
* Making Patches::        Tips for making and using patch distributions.

* Invoking cmp::          Compare two files byte by byte.
* Invoking diff::         Compare two files line by line.
* Invoking diff3::        Compare three files line by line.
* Invoking patch::        Apply a diff file to an original.
* Invoking sdiff::        Side-by-side merge of file differences.

* Standards conformance:: Conformance to the POSIX standard.
* Projects::              If you've found a bug or other shortcoming.

* Copying This Manual::   How to make copies of this manual.
* Translations::          Available translations of this manual.
* Index::                 Index.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Overview,  Next: Comparison,  Prev: Top,  Up: Top

Overview
********

Computer users often find occasion to ask how two files differ.  Perhaps
one file is a newer version of the other file.  Or maybe the two files
started out as identical copies but were changed by different people.

   You can use the 'diff' command to show differences between two files,
or each corresponding file in two directories.  'diff' outputs
differences between files line by line in any of several formats,
selectable by command line options.  This set of differences is often
called a "diff" or "patch".  For files that are identical, 'diff'
normally produces no output; for binary (non-text) files, 'diff'
normally reports only that they are different.

   You can use the 'cmp' command to show the byte and line numbers where
two files differ.  'cmp' can also show all the bytes that differ between
the two files, side by side.  A way to compare two files character by
character is the Emacs command 'M-x compare-windows'.  *Note Other
Window: (emacs)Other Window, for more information on that command.

   You can use the 'diff3' command to show differences among three
files.  When two people have made independent changes to a common
original, 'diff3' can report the differences between the original and
the two changed versions, and can produce a merged file that contains
both persons' changes together with warnings about conflicts.

   You can use the 'sdiff' command to merge two files interactively.

   You can use the set of differences produced by 'diff' to distribute
updates to text files (such as program source code) to other people.
This method is especially useful when the differences are small compared
to the complete files.  Given 'diff' output, you can use the 'patch'
program to update, or "patch", a copy of the file.  If you think of
'diff' as subtracting one file from another to produce their difference,
you can think of 'patch' as adding the difference to one file to
reproduce the other.

   This manual first concentrates on making diffs, and later shows how
to use diffs to update files.

   GNU 'diff' was written by Paul Eggert, Mike Haertel, David Hayes,
Richard Stallman, and Len Tower.  Wayne Davison designed and implemented
the unified output format.  The basic algorithm is described by Eugene
W. Myers in "An O(ND) Difference Algorithm and its Variations",
'Algorithmica' Vol. 1, 1986, pp. 251-266,
<http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF01840446>; and in "A File Comparison
Program", Webb Miller and Eugene W. Myers, 'Software--Practice and
Experience' Vol. 15, 1985, pp. 1025-1040,
<http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/spe.4380151102>.  The algorithm was
independently discovered as described by Esko Ukkonen in "Algorithms for
Approximate String Matching", 'Information and Control' Vol. 64, 1985,
pp. 100-118, <http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0019-9958(85)80046-2>.  Unless
the '--minimal' option is used, 'diff' uses a heuristic by Paul Eggert
that limits the cost to O(N^1.5 log N) at the price of producing
suboptimal output for large inputs with many differences.  Related
algorithms are surveyed by Alfred V. Aho in section 6.3 of "Algorithms
for Finding Patterns in Strings", 'Handbook of Theoretical Computer
Science' (Jan Van Leeuwen, ed.), Vol. A, 'Algorithms and Complexity',
Elsevier/MIT Press, 1990, pp. 255-300.

   GNU 'diff3' was written by Randy Smith.  GNU 'sdiff' was written by
Thomas Lord.  GNU 'cmp' was written by Torbjo"rn Granlund and David
MacKenzie.

   GNU 'patch' was written mainly by Larry Wall and Paul Eggert; several
GNU enhancements were contributed by Wayne Davison and David MacKenzie.
Parts of this manual are adapted from a manual page written by Larry
Wall, with his permission.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Comparison,  Next: Output Formats,  Prev: Overview,  Up: Top

1 What Comparison Means
***********************

There are several ways to think about the differences between two files.
One way to think of the differences is as a series of lines that were
deleted from, inserted in, or changed in one file to produce the other
file.  'diff' compares two files line by line, finds groups of lines
that differ, and reports each group of differing lines.  It can report
the differing lines in several formats, which have different purposes.

   GNU 'diff' can show whether files are different without detailing the
differences.  It also provides ways to suppress certain kinds of
differences that are not important to you.  Most commonly, such
differences are changes in the amount of white space between words or
lines.  'diff' also provides ways to suppress differences in alphabetic
case or in lines that match a regular expression that you provide.
These options can accumulate; for example, you can ignore changes in
both white space and alphabetic case.

   Another way to think of the differences between two files is as a
sequence of pairs of bytes that can be either identical or different.
'cmp' reports the differences between two files byte by byte, instead of
line by line.  As a result, it is often more useful than 'diff' for
comparing binary files.  For text files, 'cmp' is useful mainly when you
want to know only whether two files are identical, or whether one file
is a prefix of the other.

   To illustrate the effect that considering changes byte by byte can
have compared with considering them line by line, think of what happens
if a single newline character is added to the beginning of a file.  If
that file is then compared with an otherwise identical file that lacks
the newline at the beginning, 'diff' will report that a blank line has
been added to the file, while 'cmp' will report that almost every byte
of the two files differs.

   'diff3' normally compares three input files line by line, finds
groups of lines that differ, and reports each group of differing lines.
Its output is designed to make it easy to inspect two different sets of
changes to the same file.

   These commands compare input files without necessarily reading them.
For example, if 'diff' is asked simply to report whether two files
differ, and it discovers that the files have different sizes, it need
not read them to do its job.

* Menu:

* Hunks::             Groups of differing lines.
* White Space::       Suppressing differences in white space.
* Blank Lines::       Suppressing differences whose lines are all blank.
* Specified Lines::   Suppressing differences whose lines all match a pattern.
* Case Folding::      Suppressing differences in alphabetic case.
* Brief::             Summarizing which files are different.
* Binary::            Comparing binary files or forcing text comparisons.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Hunks,  Next: White Space,  Up: Comparison

1.1 Hunks
=========

When comparing two files, 'diff' finds sequences of lines common to both
files, interspersed with groups of differing lines called "hunks".
Comparing two identical files yields one sequence of common lines and no
hunks, because no lines differ.  Comparing two entirely different files
yields no common lines and one large hunk that contains all lines of
both files.  In general, there are many ways to match up lines between
two given files.  'diff' tries to minimize the total hunk size by
finding large sequences of common lines interspersed with small hunks of
differing lines.

   For example, suppose the file 'F' contains the three lines 'a', 'b',
'c', and the file 'G' contains the same three lines in reverse order
'c', 'b', 'a'.  If 'diff' finds the line 'c' as common, then the command
'diff F G' produces this output:

     1,2d0
     < a
     < b
     3a2,3
     > b
     > a

But if 'diff' notices the common line 'b' instead, it produces this
output:

     1c1
     < a
     ---
     > c
     3c3
     < c
     ---
     > a

It is also possible to find 'a' as the common line.  'diff' does not
always find an optimal matching between the files; it takes shortcuts to
run faster.  But its output is usually close to the shortest possible.
You can adjust this tradeoff with the '--minimal' ('-d') option (*note
diff Performance::).

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: White Space,  Next: Blank Lines,  Prev: Hunks,  Up: Comparison

1.2 Suppressing Differences in Blank and Tab Spacing
====================================================

The '--ignore-tab-expansion' ('-E') option ignores the distinction
between tabs and spaces on input.  A tab is considered to be equivalent
to the number of spaces to the next tab stop (*note Tabs::).

   The '--ignore-trailing-space' ('-Z') option ignores white space at
line end.

   The '--ignore-space-change' ('-b') option is stronger than '-E' and
'-Z' combined.  It ignores white space at line end, and considers all
other sequences of one or more white space characters within a line to
be equivalent.  With this option, 'diff' considers the following two
lines to be equivalent, where '$' denotes the line end:

     Here lyeth  muche rychnesse  in lytell space.   -- John Heywood$
     Here lyeth muche rychnesse in lytell space. -- John Heywood   $

   The '--ignore-all-space' ('-w') option is stronger still.  It ignores
differences even if one line has white space where the other line has
none.  "White space" characters include tab, vertical tab, form feed,
carriage return, and space; some locales may define additional
characters to be white space.  With this option, 'diff' considers the
following two lines to be equivalent, where '$' denotes the line end and
'^M' denotes a carriage return:

     Here lyeth  muche  rychnesse in lytell space.--  John Heywood$
       He relyeth much erychnes  seinly tells pace.  --John Heywood   ^M$

   For many other programs newline is also a white space character, but
'diff' is a line-oriented program and a newline character always ends a
line.  Hence the '-w' or '--ignore-all-space' option does not ignore
newline-related changes; it ignores only other white space changes.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Blank Lines,  Next: Specified Lines,  Prev: White Space,  Up: Comparison

1.3 Suppressing Differences Whose Lines Are All Blank
=====================================================

The '--ignore-blank-lines' ('-B') option ignores changes that consist
entirely of blank lines.  With this option, for example, a file
containing
     1.  A point is that which has no part.

     2.  A line is breadthless length.
     -- Euclid, The Elements, I
is considered identical to a file containing
     1.  A point is that which has no part.
     2.  A line is breadthless length.


     -- Euclid, The Elements, I

   Normally this option affects only lines that are completely empty,
but if you also specify an option that ignores trailing spaces, lines
are also affected if they look empty but contain white space.  In other
words, '-B' is equivalent to '-I '^$'' by default, but it is equivalent
to '-I '^[[:space:]]*$'' if '-b', '-w' or '-Z' is also specified.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Specified Lines,  Next: Case Folding,  Prev: Blank Lines,  Up: Comparison

1.4 Suppressing Differences Whose Lines All Match a Regular Expression
======================================================================

To ignore insertions and deletions of lines that match a 'grep'-style
regular expression, use the '--ignore-matching-lines=REGEXP' ('-I
REGEXP') option.  You should escape regular expressions that contain
shell metacharacters to prevent the shell from expanding them.  For
example, 'diff -I '^[[:digit:]]'' ignores all changes to lines beginning
with a digit.

   However, '-I' only ignores the insertion or deletion of lines that
contain the regular expression if every changed line in the hunk--every
insertion and every deletion--matches the regular expression.  In other
words, for each nonignorable change, 'diff' prints the complete set of
changes in its vicinity, including the ignorable ones.

   You can specify more than one regular expression for lines to ignore
by using more than one '-I' option.  'diff' tries to match each line
against each regular expression.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Case Folding,  Next: Brief,  Prev: Specified Lines,  Up: Comparison

1.5 Suppressing Case Differences
================================

GNU 'diff' can treat lower case letters as equivalent to their upper
case counterparts, so that, for example, it considers 'Funky Stuff',
'funky STUFF', and 'fUNKy stuFf' to all be the same.  To request this,
use the '-i' or '--ignore-case' option.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Brief,  Next: Binary,  Prev: Case Folding,  Up: Comparison

1.6 Summarizing Which Files Differ
==================================

When you only want to find out whether files are different, and you
don't care what the differences are, you can use the summary output
format.  In this format, instead of showing the differences between the
files, 'diff' simply reports whether files differ.  The '--brief' ('-q')
option selects this output format.

   This format is especially useful when comparing the contents of two
directories.  It is also much faster than doing the normal line by line
comparisons, because 'diff' can stop analyzing the files as soon as it
knows that there are any differences.

   You can also get a brief indication of whether two files differ by
using 'cmp'.  For files that are identical, 'cmp' produces no output.
When the files differ, by default, 'cmp' outputs the byte and line
number where the first difference occurs, or reports that one file is a
prefix of the other.  You can use the '-s', '--quiet', or '--silent'
option to suppress that information, so that 'cmp' produces no output
and reports whether the files differ using only its exit status (*note
Invoking cmp::).

   Unlike 'diff', 'cmp' cannot compare directories; it can only compare
two files.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Binary,  Prev: Brief,  Up: Comparison

1.7 Binary Files and Forcing Text Comparisons
=============================================

If 'diff' thinks that either of the two files it is comparing is binary
(a non-text file), it normally treats that pair of files much as if the
summary output format had been selected (*note Brief::), and reports
only that the binary files are different.  This is because line by line
comparisons are usually not meaningful for binary files.  This does not
count as trouble, even though the resulting output does not capture all
the differences.

   'diff' determines whether a file is text or binary by checking the
first few bytes in the file; the exact number of bytes is system
dependent, but it is typically several thousand.  If every byte in that
part of the file is non-null, 'diff' considers the file to be text;
otherwise it considers the file to be binary.

   Sometimes you might want to force 'diff' to consider files to be
text.  For example, you might be comparing text files that contain null
characters; 'diff' would erroneously decide that those are non-text
files.  Or you might be comparing documents that are in a format used by
a word processing system that uses null characters to indicate special
formatting.  You can force 'diff' to consider all files to be text
files, and compare them line by line, by using the '--text' ('-a')
option.  If the files you compare using this option do not in fact
contain text, they will probably contain few newline characters, and the
'diff' output will consist of hunks showing differences between long
lines of whatever characters the files contain.

   You can also force 'diff' to report only whether files differ (but
not how).  Use the '--brief' ('-q') option for this.

   In operating systems that distinguish between text and binary files,
'diff' normally reads and writes all data as text.  Use the '--binary'
option to force 'diff' to read and write binary data instead.  This
option has no effect on a POSIX-compliant system like GNU or traditional
Unix.  However, many personal computer operating systems represent the
end of a line with a carriage return followed by a newline.  On such
systems, 'diff' normally ignores these carriage returns on input and
generates them at the end of each output line, but with the '--binary'
option 'diff' treats each carriage return as just another input
character, and does not generate a carriage return at the end of each
output line.  This can be useful when dealing with non-text files that
are meant to be interchanged with POSIX-compliant systems.

   The '--strip-trailing-cr' causes 'diff' to treat input lines that end
in carriage return followed by newline as if they end in plain newline.
This can be useful when comparing text that is imperfectly imported from
many personal computer operating systems.  This option affects how lines
are read, which in turn affects how they are compared and output.

   If you want to compare two files byte by byte, you can use the 'cmp'
program with the '--verbose' ('-l') option to show the values of each
differing byte in the two files.  With GNU 'cmp', you can also use the
'-b' or '--print-bytes' option to show the ASCII representation of those
bytes.  *Note Invoking cmp::, for more information.

   If 'diff3' thinks that any of the files it is comparing is binary (a
non-text file), it normally reports an error, because such comparisons
are usually not useful.  'diff3' uses the same test as 'diff' to decide
whether a file is binary.  As with 'diff', if the input files contain a
few non-text bytes but otherwise are like text files, you can force
'diff3' to consider all files to be text files and compare them line by
line by using the '-a' or '--text' option.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Output Formats,  Next: Incomplete Lines,  Prev: Comparison,  Up: Top

2 'diff' Output Formats
***********************

'diff' has several mutually exclusive options for output format.  The
following sections describe each format, illustrating how 'diff' reports
the differences between two sample input files.

* Menu:

* Sample diff Input:: Sample 'diff' input files for examples.
* Context::           Showing differences with the surrounding text.
* Side by Side::      Showing differences in two columns.
* Normal::            Showing differences without surrounding text.
* Scripts::           Generating scripts for other programs.
* If-then-else::      Merging files with if-then-else.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Sample diff Input,  Next: Context,  Up: Output Formats

2.1 Two Sample Input Files
==========================

Here are two sample files that we will use in numerous examples to
illustrate the output of 'diff' and how various options can change it.

   This is the file 'lao':

     The Way that can be told of is not the eternal Way;
     The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
     The Nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth;
     The Named is the mother of all things.
     Therefore let there always be non-being,
       so we may see their subtlety,
     And let there always be being,
       so we may see their outcome.
     The two are the same,
     But after they are produced,
       they have different names.

   This is the file 'tzu':

     The Nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth;
     The named is the mother of all things.

     Therefore let there always be non-being,
       so we may see their subtlety,
     And let there always be being,
       so we may see their outcome.
     The two are the same,
     But after they are produced,
       they have different names.
     They both may be called deep and profound.
     Deeper and more profound,
     The door of all subtleties!

   In this example, the first hunk contains just the first two lines of
'lao', the second hunk contains the fourth line of 'lao' opposing the
second and third lines of 'tzu', and the last hunk contains just the
last three lines of 'tzu'.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Context,  Next: Side by Side,  Prev: Sample diff Input,  Up: Output Formats

2.2 Showing Differences in Their Context
========================================

Usually, when you are looking at the differences between files, you will
also want to see the parts of the files near the lines that differ, to
help you understand exactly what has changed.  These nearby parts of the
files are called the "context".

   GNU 'diff' provides two output formats that show context around the
differing lines: "context format" and "unified format".  It can
optionally show in which function or section of the file the differing
lines are found.

   If you are distributing new versions of files to other people in the
form of 'diff' output, you should use one of the output formats that
show context so that they can apply the diffs even if they have made
small changes of their own to the files.  'patch' can apply the diffs in
this case by searching in the files for the lines of context around the
differing lines; if those lines are actually a few lines away from where
the diff says they are, 'patch' can adjust the line numbers accordingly
and still apply the diff correctly.  *Note Imperfect::, for more
information on using 'patch' to apply imperfect diffs.

* Menu:

* Context Format::  An output format that shows surrounding lines.
* Unified Format::  A more compact output format that shows context.
* Sections::        Showing which sections of the files differences are in.
* Alternate Names:: Showing alternate file names in context headers.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Context Format,  Next: Unified Format,  Up: Context

2.2.1 Context Format
--------------------

The context output format shows several lines of context around the
lines that differ.  It is the standard format for distributing updates
to source code.

   To select this output format, use the '--context[=LINES]' ('-C
LINES') or '-c' option.  The argument LINES that some of these options
take is the number of lines of context to show.  If you do not specify
LINES, it defaults to three.  For proper operation, 'patch' typically
needs at least two lines of context.

* Menu:

* Example Context::  Sample output in context format.
* Less Context::     Another sample with less context.
* Detailed Context:: A detailed description of the context output format.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Example Context,  Next: Less Context,  Up: Context Format

2.2.1.1 An Example of Context Format
....................................

Here is the output of 'diff -c lao tzu' (*note Sample diff Input::, for
the complete contents of the two files).  Notice that up to three lines
that are not different are shown around each line that is different;
they are the context lines.  Also notice that the first two hunks have
run together, because their contents overlap.

     *** lao	2002-02-21 23:30:39.942229878 -0800
     --- tzu	2002-02-21 23:30:50.442260588 -0800
     ***************
     *** 1,7 ****
     - The Way that can be told of is not the eternal Way;
     - The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
       The Nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth;
     ! The Named is the mother of all things.
       Therefore let there always be non-being,
         so we may see their subtlety,
       And let there always be being,
     --- 1,6 ----
       The Nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth;
     ! The named is the mother of all things.
     !
       Therefore let there always be non-being,
         so we may see their subtlety,
       And let there always be being,
     ***************
     *** 9,11 ****
     --- 8,13 ----
       The two are the same,
       But after they are produced,
         they have different names.
     + They both may be called deep and profound.
     + Deeper and more profound,
     + The door of all subtleties!

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Less Context,  Next: Detailed Context,  Prev: Example Context,  Up: Context Format

2.2.1.2 An Example of Context Format with Less Context
......................................................

Here is the output of 'diff -C 1 lao tzu' (*note Sample diff Input::,
for the complete contents of the two files).  Notice that at most one
context line is reported here.

     *** lao	2002-02-21 23:30:39.942229878 -0800
     --- tzu	2002-02-21 23:30:50.442260588 -0800
     ***************
     *** 1,5 ****
     - The Way that can be told of is not the eternal Way;
     - The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
       The Nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth;
     ! The Named is the mother of all things.
       Therefore let there always be non-being,
     --- 1,4 ----
       The Nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth;
     ! The named is the mother of all things.
     !
       Therefore let there always be non-being,
     ***************
     *** 11 ****
     --- 10,13 ----
         they have different names.
     + They both may be called deep and profound.
     + Deeper and more profound,
     + The door of all subtleties!

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Detailed Context,  Prev: Less Context,  Up: Context Format

2.2.1.3 Detailed Description of Context Format
..............................................

The context output format starts with a two-line header, which looks
like this:

     *** FROM-FILE FROM-FILE-MODIFICATION-TIME
     --- TO-FILE TO-FILE-MODIFICATION TIME

The timestamp normally looks like '2002-02-21 23:30:39.942229878 -0800'
to indicate the date, time with fractional seconds, and time zone in
Internet RFC 2822 format (ftp://ftp.isi.edu/in-notes/rfc2822.txt).  (The
fractional seconds are omitted on hosts that do not support fractional
timestamps.)  However, a traditional timestamp like 'Thu Feb 21 23:30:39
2002' is used if the 'LC_TIME' locale category is either 'C' or 'POSIX'.

   You can change the header's content with the '--label=LABEL' option;
see *note Alternate Names::.

   Next come one or more hunks of differences; each hunk shows one area
where the files differ.  Context format hunks look like this:

     ***************
     *** FROM-FILE-LINE-NUMBERS ****
       FROM-FILE-LINE
       FROM-FILE-LINE...
     --- TO-FILE-LINE-NUMBERS ----
       TO-FILE-LINE
       TO-FILE-LINE...

   If a hunk contains two or more lines, its line numbers look like
'START,END'.  Otherwise only its end line number appears.  An empty hunk
is considered to end at the line that precedes the hunk.

   The lines of context around the lines that differ start with two
space characters.  The lines that differ between the two files start
with one of the following indicator characters, followed by a space
character:

'!'
     A line that is part of a group of one or more lines that changed
     between the two files.  There is a corresponding group of lines
     marked with '!' in the part of this hunk for the other file.

'+'
     An "inserted" line in the second file that corresponds to nothing
     in the first file.

'-'
     A "deleted" line in the first file that corresponds to nothing in
     the second file.

   If all of the changes in a hunk are insertions, the lines of
FROM-FILE are omitted.  If all of the changes are deletions, the lines
of TO-FILE are omitted.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Unified Format,  Next: Sections,  Prev: Context Format,  Up: Context

2.2.2 Unified Format
--------------------

The unified output format is a variation on the context format that is
more compact because it omits redundant context lines.  To select this
output format, use the '--unified[=LINES]' ('-U LINES'), or '-u' option.
The argument LINES is the number of lines of context to show.  When it
is not given, it defaults to three.

   At present, only GNU 'diff' can produce this format and only GNU
'patch' can automatically apply diffs in this format.  For proper
operation, 'patch' typically needs at least three lines of context.

* Menu:

* Example Unified::  Sample output in unified format.
* Detailed Unified:: A detailed description of unified format.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Example Unified,  Next: Detailed Unified,  Up: Unified Format

2.2.2.1 An Example of Unified Format
....................................

Here is the output of the command 'diff -u lao tzu' (*note Sample diff
Input::, for the complete contents of the two files):

     --- lao	2002-02-21 23:30:39.942229878 -0800
     +++ tzu	2002-02-21 23:30:50.442260588 -0800
     @@ -1,7 +1,6 @@
     -The Way that can be told of is not the eternal Way;
     -The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
      The Nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth;
     -The Named is the mother of all things.
     +The named is the mother of all things.
     +
      Therefore let there always be non-being,
        so we may see their subtlety,
      And let there always be being,
     @@ -9,3 +8,6 @@
      The two are the same,
      But after they are produced,
        they have different names.
     +They both may be called deep and profound.
     +Deeper and more profound,
     +The door of all subtleties!

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Detailed Unified,  Prev: Example Unified,  Up: Unified Format

2.2.2.2 Detailed Description of Unified Format
..............................................

The unified output format starts with a two-line header, which looks
like this:

     --- FROM-FILE FROM-FILE-MODIFICATION-TIME
     +++ TO-FILE TO-FILE-MODIFICATION-TIME

The timestamp looks like '2002-02-21 23:30:39.942229878 -0800' to
indicate the date, time with fractional seconds, and time zone.  The
fractional seconds are omitted on hosts that do not support fractional
timestamps.

   You can change the header's content with the '--label=LABEL' option.
*Note Alternate Names::.

   Next come one or more hunks of differences; each hunk shows one area
where the files differ.  Unified format hunks look like this:

     @@ FROM-FILE-LINE-NUMBERS TO-FILE-LINE-NUMBERS @@
      LINE-FROM-EITHER-FILE
      LINE-FROM-EITHER-FILE...

   If a hunk contains just one line, only its start line number appears.
Otherwise its line numbers look like 'START,COUNT'.  An empty hunk is
considered to start at the line that follows the hunk.

   If a hunk and its context contain two or more lines, its line numbers
look like 'START,COUNT'.  Otherwise only its end line number appears.
An empty hunk is considered to end at the line that precedes the hunk.

   The lines common to both files begin with a space character.  The
lines that actually differ between the two files have one of the
following indicator characters in the left print column:

'+'
     A line was added here to the first file.

'-'
     A line was removed here from the first file.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Sections,  Next: Alternate Names,  Prev: Unified Format,  Up: Context

2.2.3 Showing Which Sections Differences Are in
-----------------------------------------------

Sometimes you might want to know which part of the files each change
falls in.  If the files are source code, this could mean which function
was changed.  If the files are documents, it could mean which chapter or
appendix was changed.  GNU 'diff' can show this by displaying the
nearest section heading line that precedes the differing lines.  Which
lines are "section headings" is determined by a regular expression.

* Menu:

* Specified Headings::  Showing headings that match regular expressions.
* C Function Headings:: Showing headings of C functions.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Specified Headings,  Next: C Function Headings,  Up: Sections

2.2.3.1 Showing Lines That Match Regular Expressions
....................................................

To show in which sections differences occur for files that are not
source code for C or similar languages, use the
'--show-function-line=REGEXP' ('-F REGEXP') option.  'diff' considers
lines that match the 'grep'-style regular expression REGEXP to be the
beginning of a section of the file.  Here are suggested regular
expressions for some common languages:

'^[[:alpha:]$_]'
     C, C++, Prolog
'^('
     Lisp
'^@node'
     Texinfo

   This option does not automatically select an output format; in order
to use it, you must select the context format (*note Context Format::)
or unified format (*note Unified Format::).  In other output formats it
has no effect.

   The '--show-function-line' ('-F') option finds the nearest unchanged
line that precedes each hunk of differences and matches the given
regular expression.  Then it adds that line to the end of the line of
asterisks in the context format, or to the '@@' line in unified format.
If no matching line exists, this option leaves the output for that hunk
unchanged.  If that line is more than 40 characters long, it outputs
only the first 40 characters.  You can specify more than one regular
expression for such lines; 'diff' tries to match each line against each
regular expression, starting with the last one given.  This means that
you can use '-p' and '-F' together, if you wish.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: C Function Headings,  Prev: Specified Headings,  Up: Sections

2.2.3.2 Showing C Function Headings
...................................

To show in which functions differences occur for C and similar
languages, you can use the '--show-c-function' ('-p') option.  This
option automatically defaults to the context output format (*note
Context Format::), with the default number of lines of context.  You can
override that number with '-C LINES' elsewhere in the command line.  You
can override both the format and the number with '-U LINES' elsewhere in
the command line.

   The '--show-c-function' ('-p') option is equivalent to '-F
'^[[:alpha:]$_]'' if the unified format is specified, otherwise '-c -F
'^[[:alpha:]$_]'' (*note Specified Headings::).  GNU 'diff' provides
this option for the sake of convenience.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Alternate Names,  Prev: Sections,  Up: Context

2.2.4 Showing Alternate File Names
----------------------------------

If you are comparing two files that have meaningless or uninformative
names, you might want 'diff' to show alternate names in the header of
the context and unified output formats.  To do this, use the
'--label=LABEL' option.  The first time you give this option, its
argument replaces the name and date of the first file in the header; the
second time, its argument replaces the name and date of the second file.
If you give this option more than twice, 'diff' reports an error.  The
'--label' option does not affect the file names in the 'pr' header when
the '-l' or '--paginate' option is used (*note Pagination::).

   Here are the first two lines of the output from 'diff -C 2
--label=original --label=modified lao tzu':

     *** original
     --- modified

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Side by Side,  Next: Normal,  Prev: Context,  Up: Output Formats

2.3 Showing Differences Side by Side
====================================

'diff' can produce a side by side difference listing of two files.  The
files are listed in two columns with a gutter between them.  The gutter
contains one of the following markers:

white space
     The corresponding lines are in common.  That is, either the lines
     are identical, or the difference is ignored because of one of the
     '--ignore' options (*note White Space::).

'|'
     The corresponding lines differ, and they are either both complete
     or both incomplete.

'<'
     The files differ and only the first file contains the line.

'>'
     The files differ and only the second file contains the line.

'('
     Only the first file contains the line, but the difference is
     ignored.

')'
     Only the second file contains the line, but the difference is
     ignored.

'\'
     The corresponding lines differ, and only the first line is
     incomplete.

'/'
     The corresponding lines differ, and only the second line is
     incomplete.

   Normally, an output line is incomplete if and only if the lines that
it contains are incomplete.  *Note Incomplete Lines::.  However, when an
output line represents two differing lines, one might be incomplete
while the other is not.  In this case, the output line is complete, but
its the gutter is marked '\' if the first line is incomplete, '/' if the
second line is.

   Side by side format is sometimes easiest to read, but it has
limitations.  It generates much wider output than usual, and truncates
lines that are too long to fit.  Also, it relies on lining up output
more heavily than usual, so its output looks particularly bad if you use
varying width fonts, nonstandard tab stops, or nonprinting characters.

   You can use the 'sdiff' command to interactively merge side by side
differences.  *Note Interactive Merging::, for more information on
merging files.

* Menu:

* Side by Side Format::  Controlling side by side output format.
* Example Side by Side:: Sample side by side output.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Side by Side Format,  Next: Example Side by Side,  Up: Side by Side

2.3.1 Controlling Side by Side Format
-------------------------------------

The '--side-by-side' ('-y') option selects side by side format.  Because
side by side output lines contain two input lines, the output is wider
than usual: normally 130 print columns, which can fit onto a traditional
printer line.  You can set the width of the output with the
'--width=COLUMNS' ('-W COLUMNS') option.  The output is split into two
halves of equal width, separated by a small gutter to mark differences;
the right half is aligned to a tab stop so that tabs line up.  Input
lines that are too long to fit in half of an output line are truncated
for output.

   The '--left-column' option prints only the left column of two common
lines.  The '--suppress-common-lines' option suppresses common lines
entirely.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Example Side by Side,  Prev: Side by Side Format,  Up: Side by Side

2.3.2 An Example of Side by Side Format
---------------------------------------

Here is the output of the command 'diff -y -W 72 lao tzu' (*note Sample
diff Input::, for the complete contents of the two files).

     The Way that can be told of is n   <
     The name that can be named is no   <
     The Nameless is the origin of He        The Nameless is the origin of He
     The Named is the mother of all t   |    The named is the mother of all t
                                        >
     Therefore let there always be no        Therefore let there always be no
       so we may see their subtlety,           so we may see their subtlety,
     And let there always be being,          And let there always be being,
       so we may see their outcome.            so we may see their outcome.
     The two are the same,                   The two are the same,
     But after they are produced,            But after they are produced,
       they have different names.              they have different names.
                                        >    They both may be called deep and
                                        >    Deeper and more profound,
                                        >    The door of all subtleties!

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Normal,  Next: Scripts,  Prev: Side by Side,  Up: Output Formats

2.4 Showing Differences Without Context
=======================================

The "normal" 'diff' output format shows each hunk of differences without
any surrounding context.  Sometimes such output is the clearest way to
see how lines have changed, without the clutter of nearby unchanged
lines (although you can get similar results with the context or unified
formats by using 0 lines of context).  However, this format is no longer
widely used for sending out patches; for that purpose, the context
format (*note Context Format::) and the unified format (*note Unified
Format::) are superior.  Normal format is the default for compatibility
with older versions of 'diff' and the POSIX standard.  Use the
'--normal' option to select this output format explicitly.

* Menu:

* Example Normal::  Sample output in the normal format.
* Detailed Normal:: A detailed description of normal output format.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Example Normal,  Next: Detailed Normal,  Up: Normal

2.4.1 An Example of Normal Format
---------------------------------

Here is the output of the command 'diff lao tzu' (*note Sample diff
Input::, for the complete contents of the two files).  Notice that it
shows only the lines that are different between the two files.

     1,2d0
     < The Way that can be told of is not the eternal Way;
     < The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
     4c2,3
     < The Named is the mother of all things.
     ---
     > The named is the mother of all things.
     >
     11a11,13
     > They both may be called deep and profound.
     > Deeper and more profound,
     > The door of all subtleties!

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Detailed Normal,  Prev: Example Normal,  Up: Normal

2.4.2 Detailed Description of Normal Format
-------------------------------------------

The normal output format consists of one or more hunks of differences;
each hunk shows one area where the files differ.  Normal format hunks
look like this:

     CHANGE-COMMAND
     < FROM-FILE-LINE
     < FROM-FILE-LINE...
     ---
     > TO-FILE-LINE
     > TO-FILE-LINE...

   There are three types of change commands.  Each consists of a line
number or comma-separated range of lines in the first file, a single
character indicating the kind of change to make, and a line number or
comma-separated range of lines in the second file.  All line numbers are
the original line numbers in each file.  The types of change commands
are:

'LaR'
     Add the lines in range R of the second file after line L of the
     first file.  For example, '8a12,15' means append lines 12-15 of
     file 2 after line 8 of file 1; or, if changing file 2 into file 1,
     delete lines 12-15 of file 2.

'FcT'
     Replace the lines in range F of the first file with lines in range
     T of the second file.  This is like a combined add and delete, but
     more compact.  For example, '5,7c8,10' means change lines 5-7 of
     file 1 to read as lines 8-10 of file 2; or, if changing file 2 into
     file 1, change lines 8-10 of file 2 to read as lines 5-7 of file 1.

'RdL'
     Delete the lines in range R from the first file; line L is where
     they would have appeared in the second file had they not been
     deleted.  For example, '5,7d3' means delete lines 5-7 of file 1;
     or, if changing file 2 into file 1, append lines 5-7 of file 1
     after line 3 of file 2.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Scripts,  Next: If-then-else,  Prev: Normal,  Up: Output Formats

2.5 Making Edit Scripts
=======================

Several output modes produce command scripts for editing FROM-FILE to
produce TO-FILE.

* Menu:

* ed Scripts:: Using 'diff' to produce commands for 'ed'.
* Forward ed:: Making forward 'ed' scripts.
* RCS::        A special 'diff' output format used by RCS.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: ed Scripts,  Next: Forward ed,  Up: Scripts

2.5.1 'ed' Scripts
------------------

'diff' can produce commands that direct the 'ed' text editor to change
the first file into the second file.  Long ago, this was the only output
mode that was suitable for editing one file into another automatically;
today, with 'patch', it is almost obsolete.  Use the '--ed' ('-e')
option to select this output format.

   Like the normal format (*note Normal::), this output format does not
show any context; unlike the normal format, it does not include the
information necessary to apply the diff in reverse (to produce the first
file if all you have is the second file and the diff).

   If the file 'd' contains the output of 'diff -e old new', then the
command '(cat d && echo w) | ed - old' edits 'old' to make it a copy of
'new'.  More generally, if 'd1', 'd2', ..., 'dN' contain the outputs of
'diff -e old new1', 'diff -e new1 new2', ..., 'diff -e newN-1 newN',
respectively, then the command '(cat d1 d2 ... dN && echo w) | ed - old'
edits 'old' to make it a copy of 'newN'.

* Menu:

* Example ed::  A sample 'ed' script.
* Detailed ed:: A detailed description of 'ed' format.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Example ed,  Next: Detailed ed,  Up: ed Scripts

2.5.1.1 Example 'ed' Script
...........................

Here is the output of 'diff -e lao tzu' (*note Sample diff Input::, for
the complete contents of the two files):

     11a
     They both may be called deep and profound.
     Deeper and more profound,
     The door of all subtleties!
     .
     4c
     The named is the mother of all things.

     .
     1,2d

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Detailed ed,  Prev: Example ed,  Up: ed Scripts

2.5.1.2 Detailed Description of 'ed' Format
...........................................

The 'ed' output format consists of one or more hunks of differences.
The changes closest to the ends of the files come first so that commands
that change the number of lines do not affect how 'ed' interprets line
numbers in succeeding commands.  'ed' format hunks look like this:

     CHANGE-COMMAND
     TO-FILE-LINE
     TO-FILE-LINE...
     .

   Because 'ed' uses a single period on a line to indicate the end of
input, GNU 'diff' protects lines of changes that contain a single period
on a line by writing two periods instead, then writing a subsequent 'ed'
command to change the two periods into one.  The 'ed' format cannot
represent an incomplete line, so if the second file ends in a changed
incomplete line, 'diff' reports an error and then pretends that a
newline was appended.

   There are three types of change commands.  Each consists of a line
number or comma-separated range of lines in the first file and a single
character indicating the kind of change to make.  All line numbers are
the original line numbers in the file.  The types of change commands
are:

'La'
     Add text from the second file after line L in the first file.  For
     example, '8a' means to add the following lines after line 8 of file
     1.

'Rc'
     Replace the lines in range R in the first file with the following
     lines.  Like a combined add and delete, but more compact.  For
     example, '5,7c' means change lines 5-7 of file 1 to read as the
     text file 2.

'Rd'
     Delete the lines in range R from the first file.  For example,
     '5,7d' means delete lines 5-7 of file 1.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Forward ed,  Next: RCS,  Prev: ed Scripts,  Up: Scripts

2.5.2 Forward 'ed' Scripts
--------------------------

'diff' can produce output that is like an 'ed' script, but with hunks in
forward (front to back) order.  The format of the commands is also
changed slightly: command characters precede the lines they modify,
spaces separate line numbers in ranges, and no attempt is made to
disambiguate hunk lines consisting of a single period.  Like 'ed'
format, forward 'ed' format cannot represent incomplete lines.

   Forward 'ed' format is not very useful, because neither 'ed' nor
'patch' can apply diffs in this format.  It exists mainly for
compatibility with older versions of 'diff'.  Use the '-f' or
'--forward-ed' option to select it.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: RCS,  Prev: Forward ed,  Up: Scripts

2.5.3 RCS Scripts
-----------------

The RCS output format is designed specifically for use by the Revision
Control System, which is a set of free programs used for organizing
different versions and systems of files.  Use the '--rcs' ('-n') option
to select this output format.  It is like the forward 'ed' format (*note
Forward ed::), but it can represent arbitrary changes to the contents of
a file because it avoids the forward 'ed' format's problems with lines
consisting of a single period and with incomplete lines.  Instead of
ending text sections with a line consisting of a single period, each
command specifies the number of lines it affects; a combination of the
'a' and 'd' commands are used instead of 'c'.  Also, if the second file
ends in a changed incomplete line, then the output also ends in an
incomplete line.

   Here is the output of 'diff -n lao tzu' (*note Sample diff Input::,
for the complete contents of the two files):

     d1 2
     d4 1
     a4 2
     The named is the mother of all things.

     a11 3
     They both may be called deep and profound.
     Deeper and more profound,
     The door of all subtleties!

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: If-then-else,  Prev: Scripts,  Up: Output Formats

2.6 Merging Files with If-then-else
===================================

You can use 'diff' to merge two files of C source code.  The output of
'diff' in this format contains all the lines of both files.  Lines
common to both files are output just once; the differing parts are
separated by the C preprocessor directives '#ifdef NAME' or '#ifndef
NAME', '#else', and '#endif'.  When compiling the output, you select
which version to use by either defining or leaving undefined the macro
NAME.

   To merge two files, use 'diff' with the '-D NAME' or '--ifdef=NAME'
option.  The argument NAME is the C preprocessor identifier to use in
the '#ifdef' and '#ifndef' directives.

   For example, if you change an instance of 'wait (&s)' to 'waitpid
(-1, &s, 0)' and then merge the old and new files with the
'--ifdef=HAVE_WAITPID' option, then the affected part of your code might
look like this:

         do {
     #ifndef HAVE_WAITPID
             if ((w = wait (&s)) < 0  &&  errno != EINTR)
     #else /* HAVE_WAITPID */
             if ((w = waitpid (-1, &s, 0)) < 0  &&  errno != EINTR)
     #endif /* HAVE_WAITPID */
                 return w;
         } while (w != child);

   You can specify formats for languages other than C by using line
group formats and line formats, as described in the next sections.

* Menu:

* Line Group Formats::    Formats for general if-then-else line groups.
* Line Formats::          Formats for each line in a line group.
* Example If-then-else::  Sample if-then-else format output.
* Detailed If-then-else:: A detailed description of if-then-else format.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Line Group Formats,  Next: Line Formats,  Up: If-then-else

2.6.1 Line Group Formats
------------------------

Line group formats let you specify formats suitable for many
applications that allow if-then-else input, including programming
languages and text formatting languages.  A line group format specifies
the output format for a contiguous group of similar lines.

   For example, the following command compares the TeX files 'old' and
'new', and outputs a merged file in which old regions are surrounded by
'\begin{em}'-'\end{em}' lines, and new regions are surrounded by
'\begin{bf}'-'\end{bf}' lines.

     diff \
        --old-group-format='\begin{em}
     %<\end{em}
     ' \
        --new-group-format='\begin{bf}
     %>\end{bf}
     ' \
        old new

   The following command is equivalent to the above example, but it is a
little more verbose, because it spells out the default line group
formats.

     diff \
        --old-group-format='\begin{em}
     %<\end{em}
     ' \
        --new-group-format='\begin{bf}
     %>\end{bf}
     ' \
        --unchanged-group-format='%=' \
        --changed-group-format='\begin{em}
     %<\end{em}
     \begin{bf}
     %>\end{bf}
     ' \
        old new

   Here is a more advanced example, which outputs a diff listing with
headers containing line numbers in a "plain English" style.

     diff \
        --unchanged-group-format='' \
        --old-group-format='-------- %dn line%(n=1?:s) deleted at %df:
     %<' \
        --new-group-format='-------- %dN line%(N=1?:s) added after %de:
     %>' \
        --changed-group-format='-------- %dn line%(n=1?:s) changed at %df:
     %<-------- to:
     %>' \
        old new

   To specify a line group format, use 'diff' with one of the options
listed below.  You can specify up to four line group formats, one for
each kind of line group.  You should quote FORMAT, because it typically
contains shell metacharacters.

'--old-group-format=FORMAT'
     These line groups are hunks containing only lines from the first
     file.  The default old group format is the same as the changed
     group format if it is specified; otherwise it is a format that
     outputs the line group as-is.

'--new-group-format=FORMAT'
     These line groups are hunks containing only lines from the second
     file.  The default new group format is same as the changed group
     format if it is specified; otherwise it is a format that outputs
     the line group as-is.

'--changed-group-format=FORMAT'
     These line groups are hunks containing lines from both files.  The
     default changed group format is the concatenation of the old and
     new group formats.

'--unchanged-group-format=FORMAT'
     These line groups contain lines common to both files.  The default
     unchanged group format is a format that outputs the line group
     as-is.

   In a line group format, ordinary characters represent themselves;
conversion specifications start with '%' and have one of the following
forms.

'%<'
     stands for the lines from the first file, including the trailing
     newline.  Each line is formatted according to the old line format
     (*note Line Formats::).

'%>'
     stands for the lines from the second file, including the trailing
     newline.  Each line is formatted according to the new line format.

'%='
     stands for the lines common to both files, including the trailing
     newline.  Each line is formatted according to the unchanged line
     format.

'%%'
     stands for '%'.

'%c'C''
     where C is a single character, stands for C.  C may not be a
     backslash or an apostrophe.  For example, '%c':'' stands for a
     colon, even inside the then-part of an if-then-else format, which a
     colon would normally terminate.

'%c'\O''
     where O is a string of 1, 2, or 3 octal digits, stands for the
     character with octal code O.  For example, '%c'\0'' stands for a
     null character.

'FN'
     where F is a 'printf' conversion specification and N is one of the
     following letters, stands for N's value formatted with F.

     'e'
          The line number of the line just before the group in the old
          file.

     'f'
          The line number of the first line in the group in the old
          file; equals E + 1.

     'l'
          The line number of the last line in the group in the old file.

     'm'
          The line number of the line just after the group in the old
          file; equals L + 1.

     'n'
          The number of lines in the group in the old file; equals L - F
          + 1.

     'E, F, L, M, N'
          Likewise, for lines in the new file.

     The 'printf' conversion specification can be '%d', '%o', '%x', or
     '%X', specifying decimal, octal, lower case hexadecimal, or upper
     case hexadecimal output respectively.  After the '%' the following
     options can appear in sequence: a series of zero or more flags; an
     integer specifying the minimum field width; and a period followed
     by an optional integer specifying the minimum number of digits.
     The flags are '-' for left-justification, ''' for separating the
     digit into groups as specified by the 'LC_NUMERIC' locale category,
     and '0' for padding with zeros instead of spaces.  For example,
     '%5dN' prints the number of new lines in the group in a field of
     width 5 characters, using the 'printf' format '"%5d"'.

'(A=B?T:E)'
     If A equals B then T else E.  A and B are each either a decimal
     constant or a single letter interpreted as above.  This format spec
     is equivalent to T if A's value equals B's; otherwise it is
     equivalent to E.

     For example, '%(N=0?no:%dN) line%(N=1?:s)' is equivalent to 'no
     lines' if N (the number of lines in the group in the new file) is
     0, to '1 line' if N is 1, and to '%dN lines' otherwise.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Line Formats,  Next: Example If-then-else,  Prev: Line Group Formats,  Up: If-then-else

2.6.2 Line Formats
------------------

Line formats control how each line taken from an input file is output as
part of a line group in if-then-else format.

   For example, the following command outputs text with a one-character
change indicator to the left of the text.  The first character of output
is '-' for deleted lines, '|' for added lines, and a space for unchanged
lines.  The formats contain newline characters where newlines are
desired on output.

     diff \
        --old-line-format='-%l
     ' \
        --new-line-format='|%l
     ' \
        --unchanged-line-format=' %l
     ' \
        old new

   To specify a line format, use one of the following options.  You
should quote FORMAT, since it often contains shell metacharacters.

'--old-line-format=FORMAT'
     formats lines just from the first file.

'--new-line-format=FORMAT'
     formats lines just from the second file.

'--unchanged-line-format=FORMAT'
     formats lines common to both files.

'--line-format=FORMAT'
     formats all lines; in effect, it sets all three above options
     simultaneously.

   In a line format, ordinary characters represent themselves;
conversion specifications start with '%' and have one of the following
forms.

'%l'
     stands for the contents of the line, not counting its trailing
     newline (if any).  This format ignores whether the line is
     incomplete; *Note Incomplete Lines::.

'%L'
     stands for the contents of the line, including its trailing newline
     (if any).  If a line is incomplete, this format preserves its
     incompleteness.

'%%'
     stands for '%'.

'%c'C''
     where C is a single character, stands for C.  C may not be a
     backslash or an apostrophe.  For example, '%c':'' stands for a
     colon.

'%c'\O''
     where O is a string of 1, 2, or 3 octal digits, stands for the
     character with octal code O.  For example, '%c'\0'' stands for a
     null character.

'Fn'
     where F is a 'printf' conversion specification, stands for the line
     number formatted with F.  For example, '%.5dn' prints the line
     number using the 'printf' format '"%.5d"'.  *Note Line Group
     Formats::, for more about printf conversion specifications.

   The default line format is '%l' followed by a newline character.

   If the input contains tab characters and it is important that they
line up on output, you should ensure that '%l' or '%L' in a line format
is just after a tab stop (e.g. by preceding '%l' or '%L' with a tab
character), or you should use the '-t' or '--expand-tabs' option.

   Taken together, the line and line group formats let you specify many
different formats.  For example, the following command uses a format
similar to normal 'diff' format.  You can tailor this command to get
fine control over 'diff' output.

     diff \
        --old-line-format='< %l
     ' \
        --new-line-format='> %l
     ' \
        --old-group-format='%df%(f=l?:,%dl)d%dE
     %<' \
        --new-group-format='%dea%dF%(F=L?:,%dL)
     %>' \
        --changed-group-format='%df%(f=l?:,%dl)c%dF%(F=L?:,%dL)
     %<---
     %>' \
        --unchanged-group-format='' \
        old new

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Example If-then-else,  Next: Detailed If-then-else,  Prev: Line Formats,  Up: If-then-else

2.6.3 An Example of If-then-else Format
---------------------------------------

Here is the output of 'diff -DTWO lao tzu' (*note Sample diff Input::,
for the complete contents of the two files):

     #ifndef TWO
     The Way that can be told of is not the eternal Way;
     The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
     #endif /* ! TWO */
     The Nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth;
     #ifndef TWO
     The Named is the mother of all things.
     #else /* TWO */
     The named is the mother of all things.

     #endif /* TWO */
     Therefore let there always be non-being,
       so we may see their subtlety,
     And let there always be being,
       so we may see their outcome.
     The two are the same,
     But after they are produced,
       they have different names.
     #ifdef TWO
     They both may be called deep and profound.
     Deeper and more profound,
     The door of all subtleties!
     #endif /* TWO */

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Detailed If-then-else,  Prev: Example If-then-else,  Up: If-then-else

2.6.4 Detailed Description of If-then-else Format
-------------------------------------------------

For lines common to both files, 'diff' uses the unchanged line group
format.  For each hunk of differences in the merged output format, if
the hunk contains only lines from the first file, 'diff' uses the old
line group format; if the hunk contains only lines from the second file,
'diff' uses the new group format; otherwise, 'diff' uses the changed
group format.

   The old, new, and unchanged line formats specify the output format of
lines from the first file, lines from the second file, and lines common
to both files, respectively.

   The option '--ifdef=NAME' is equivalent to the following sequence of
options using shell syntax:

     --old-group-format='#ifndef NAME
     %<#endif /* ! NAME */
     ' \
     --new-group-format='#ifdef NAME
     %>#endif /* NAME */
     ' \
     --unchanged-group-format='%=' \
     --changed-group-format='#ifndef NAME
     %<#else /* NAME */
     %>#endif /* NAME */
     '

   You should carefully check the 'diff' output for proper nesting.  For
example, when using the '-D NAME' or '--ifdef=NAME' option, you should
check that if the differing lines contain any of the C preprocessor
directives '#ifdef', '#ifndef', '#else', '#elif', or '#endif', they are
nested properly and match.  If they don't, you must make corrections
manually.  It is a good idea to carefully check the resulting code
anyway to make sure that it really does what you want it to; depending
on how the input files were produced, the output might contain duplicate
or otherwise incorrect code.

   The 'patch' '-D NAME' option behaves like the 'diff' '-D NAME'
option, except it operates on a file and a diff to produce a merged
file.  *Note patch Options::.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Incomplete Lines,  Next: Comparing Directories,  Prev: Output Formats,  Up: Top

3 Incomplete Lines
******************

When an input file ends in a non-newline character, its last line is
called an "incomplete line" because its last character is not a newline.
All other lines are called "full lines" and end in a newline character.
Incomplete lines do not match full lines unless differences in white
space are ignored (*note White Space::).

   An incomplete line is normally distinguished on output from a full
line by a following line that starts with '\'.  However, the RCS format
(*note RCS::) outputs the incomplete line as-is, without any trailing
newline or following line.  The side by side format normally represents
incomplete lines as-is, but in some cases uses a '\' or '/' gutter
marker.  *Note Side by Side::.  The if-then-else line format preserves a
line's incompleteness with '%L', and discards the newline with '%l'.
*Note Line Formats::.  Finally, with the 'ed' and forward 'ed' output
formats (*note Output Formats::) 'diff' cannot represent an incomplete
line, so it pretends there was a newline and reports an error.

   For example, suppose 'F' and 'G' are one-byte files that contain just
'f' and 'g', respectively.  Then 'diff F G' outputs

     1c1
     < f
     \ No newline at end of file
     ---
     > g
     \ No newline at end of file

(The exact message may differ in non-English locales.)  'diff -n F G'
outputs the following without a trailing newline:

     d1 1
     a1 1
     g

'diff -e F G' reports two errors and outputs the following:

     1c
     g
     .

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Comparing Directories,  Next: Adjusting Output,  Prev: Incomplete Lines,  Up: Top

4 Comparing Directories
***********************

You can use 'diff' to compare some or all of the files in two directory
trees.  When both file name arguments to 'diff' are directories, it
compares each file that is contained in both directories, examining file
names in alphabetical order as specified by the 'LC_COLLATE' locale
category.  Normally 'diff' is silent about pairs of files that contain
no differences, but if you use the '--report-identical-files' ('-s')
option, it reports pairs of identical files.  Normally 'diff' reports
subdirectories common to both directories without comparing
subdirectories' files, but if you use the '-r' or '--recursive' option,
it compares every corresponding pair of files in the directory trees, as
many levels deep as they go.

   If only one file exists, 'diff' normally does not show its contents;
it merely reports that one file exists but the other does not.  You can
make 'diff' act as though the missing file is empty, so that it outputs
the entire contents of the file that actually exists.  (It is output as
either an insertion or a deletion, depending on whether the missing file
is in the first or the second position.)  To do this, use the
'--new-file' ('-N') option.  This option affects command-line arguments
as well as files found via directory traversal; for example, 'diff -N a
b' treats 'a' as empty if 'a' does not exist but 'b' does, and similarly
'diff -N - b' treats standard input as empty if it is closed but 'b'
exists.

   If the older directory contains large files that are not in the newer
directory, you can make the patch smaller by using the
'--unidirectional-new-file' option instead of '-N'.  This option is like
'-N' except that it inserts the contents only of files that appear in
the second directory but not the first (that is, files that were added).
At the top of the patch, write instructions for the user applying the
patch to remove the files that were deleted before applying the patch.
*Note Making Patches::, for more discussion of making patches for
distribution.

   To ignore some files while comparing directories, use the
'--exclude=PATTERN' ('-x PATTERN') option.  This option ignores any
files or subdirectories whose base names match the shell pattern
PATTERN.  Unlike in the shell, a period at the start of the base of a
file name matches a wildcard at the start of a pattern.  You should
enclose PATTERN in quotes so that the shell does not expand it.  For
example, the option '-x '*.[ao]'' ignores any file whose name ends with
'.a' or '.o'.

   This option accumulates if you specify it more than once.  For
example, using the options '-x 'RCS' -x '*,v'' ignores any file or
subdirectory whose base name is 'RCS' or ends with ',v'.

   If you need to give this option many times, you can instead put the
patterns in a file, one pattern per line, and use the
'--exclude-from=FILE' ('-X FILE') option.  Trailing white space and
empty lines are ignored in the pattern file.

   If you have been comparing two directories and stopped partway
through, later you might want to continue where you left off.  You can
do this by using the '--starting-file=FILE' ('-S FILE') option.  This
compares only the file FILE and all alphabetically later files in the
topmost directory level.

   If two directories differ only in that file names are lower case in
one directory and upper case in the upper, 'diff' normally reports many
differences because it compares file names in a case sensitive way.
With the '--ignore-file-name-case' option, 'diff' ignores case
differences in file names, so that for example the contents of the file
'Tao' in one directory are compared to the contents of the file 'TAO' in
the other.  The '--no-ignore-file-name-case' option cancels the effect
of the '--ignore-file-name-case' option, reverting to the default
behavior.

   If an '--exclude=PATTERN' ('-x PATTERN') option, or an
'--exclude-from=FILE' ('-X FILE') option, is specified while the
'--ignore-file-name-case' option is in effect, case is ignored when
excluding file names matching the specified patterns.

   To tell 'diff' not to follow a symbolic link, use the
'--no-dereference' option.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Adjusting Output,  Next: diff Performance,  Prev: Comparing Directories,  Up: Top

5 Making 'diff' Output Prettier
*******************************

'diff' provides several ways to adjust the appearance of its output.
These adjustments can be applied to any output format.

* Menu:

* Tabs::            Preserving the alignment of tab stops.
* Trailing Blanks:: Suppressing blanks before empty output lines.
* Pagination::      Page numbering and time-stamping 'diff' output.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Tabs,  Next: Trailing Blanks,  Up: Adjusting Output

5.1 Preserving Tab Stop Alignment
=================================

The lines of text in some of the 'diff' output formats are preceded by
one or two characters that indicate whether the text is inserted,
deleted, or changed.  The addition of those characters can cause tabs to
move to the next tab stop, throwing off the alignment of columns in the
line.  GNU 'diff' provides two ways to make tab-aligned columns line up
correctly.

   The first way is to have 'diff' convert all tabs into the correct
number of spaces before outputting them; select this method with the
'--expand-tabs' ('-t') option.  To use this form of output with 'patch',
you must give 'patch' the '-l' or '--ignore-white-space' option (*note
Changed White Space::, for more information).  'diff' normally assumes
that tab stops are set every 8 print columns, but this can be altered by
the '--tabsize=COLUMNS' option.

   The other method for making tabs line up correctly is to add a tab
character instead of a space after the indicator character at the
beginning of the line.  This ensures that all following tab characters
are in the same position relative to tab stops that they were in the
original files, so that the output is aligned correctly.  Its
disadvantage is that it can make long lines too long to fit on one line
of the screen or the paper.  It also does not work with the unified
output format, which does not have a space character after the change
type indicator character.  Select this method with the '-T' or
'--initial-tab' option.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Trailing Blanks,  Next: Pagination,  Prev: Tabs,  Up: Adjusting Output

5.2 Omitting trailing blanks
============================

When outputting lines in normal or context format, or outputting an
unchanged line in unified format, 'diff' normally outputs a blank just
before each line.  If the line is empty, the output of 'diff' therefore
contains trailing blanks even though the input does not contain them.
For example, when outputting an unchanged empty line in context format,
'diff' normally outputs a line with two leading spaces.

   Some text editors and email agents routinely delete trailing blanks,
so it can be a problem to deal with diff output files that contain them.
You can avoid this problem with the '--suppress-blank-empty' option.  It
causes 'diff' to omit trailing blanks at the end of output lines in
normal, context, and unified format, unless the trailing blanks were
already present in the input.  This changes the output format slightly,
so that output lines are guaranteed to never end in a blank unless an
input line ends in a blank.  This format is less likely to be munged by
text editors or by transmission via email.  It is accepted by GNU
'patch' as well.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Pagination,  Prev: Trailing Blanks,  Up: Adjusting Output

5.3 Paginating 'diff' Output
============================

It can be convenient to have long output page-numbered and time-stamped.
The '--paginate' ('-l') option does this by sending the 'diff' output
through the 'pr' program.  Here is what the page header might look like
for 'diff -lc lao tzu':

     2002-02-22 14:20                 diff -lc lao tzu                 Page 1

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: diff Performance,  Next: Comparing Three Files,  Prev: Adjusting Output,  Up: Top

6 'diff' Performance Tradeoffs
******************************

GNU 'diff' runs quite efficiently; however, in some circumstances you
can cause it to run faster or produce a more compact set of changes.

   One way to improve 'diff' performance is to use hard or symbolic
links to files instead of copies.  This improves performance because
'diff' normally does not need to read two hard or symbolic links to the
same file, since their contents must be identical.  For example, suppose
you copy a large directory hierarchy, make a few changes to the copy,
and then often use 'diff -r' to compare the original to the copy.  If
the original files are read-only, you can greatly improve performance by
creating the copy using hard or symbolic links (e.g., with GNU 'cp -lR'
or 'cp -sR').  Before editing a file in the copy for the first time, you
should break the link and replace it with a regular copy.

   You can also affect the performance of GNU 'diff' by giving it
options that change the way it compares files.  Performance has more
than one dimension.  These options improve one aspect of performance at
the cost of another, or they improve performance in some cases while
hurting it in others.

   The way that GNU 'diff' determines which lines have changed always
comes up with a near-minimal set of differences.  Usually it is good
enough for practical purposes.  If the 'diff' output is large, you might
want 'diff' to use a modified algorithm that sometimes produces a
smaller set of differences.  The '--minimal' ('-d') option does this;
however, it can also cause 'diff' to run more slowly than usual, so it
is not the default behavior.

   When the files you are comparing are large and have small groups of
changes scattered throughout them, you can use the '--speed-large-files'
option to make a different modification to the algorithm that 'diff'
uses.  If the input files have a constant small density of changes, this
option speeds up the comparisons without changing the output.  If not,
'diff' might produce a larger set of differences; however, the output
will still be correct.

   Normally 'diff' discards the prefix and suffix that is common to both
files before it attempts to find a minimal set of differences.  This
makes 'diff' run faster, but occasionally it may produce non-minimal
output.  The '--horizon-lines=LINES' option prevents 'diff' from
discarding the last LINES lines of the prefix and the first LINES lines
of the suffix.  This gives 'diff' further opportunities to find a
minimal output.

   Suppose a run of changed lines includes a sequence of lines at one
end and there is an identical sequence of lines just outside the other
end.  The 'diff' command is free to choose which identical sequence is
included in the hunk.  In this case, 'diff' normally shifts the hunk's
boundaries when this merges adjacent hunks, or shifts a hunk's lines
towards the end of the file.  Merging hunks can make the output look
nicer in some cases.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Comparing Three Files,  Next: diff3 Merging,  Prev: diff Performance,  Up: Top

7 Comparing Three Files
***********************

Use the program 'diff3' to compare three files and show any differences
among them.  ('diff3' can also merge files; see *note diff3 Merging::).

   The "normal" 'diff3' output format shows each hunk of differences
without surrounding context.  Hunks are labeled depending on whether
they are two-way or three-way, and lines are annotated by their location
in the input files.

   *Note Invoking diff3::, for more information on how to run 'diff3'.

* Menu:

* Sample diff3 Input::    Sample 'diff3' input for examples.
* Example diff3 Normal::  Sample output in the normal format.
* Detailed diff3 Normal:: A detailed description of normal output format.
* diff3 Hunks::           The format of normal output format.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Sample diff3 Input,  Next: Example diff3 Normal,  Up: Comparing Three Files

7.1 A Third Sample Input File
=============================

Here is a third sample file that will be used in examples to illustrate
the output of 'diff3' and how various options can change it.  The first
two files are the same that we used for 'diff' (*note Sample diff
Input::).  This is the third sample file, called 'tao':

     The Way that can be told of is not the eternal Way;
     The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
     The Nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth;
     The named is the mother of all things.

     Therefore let there always be non-being,
       so we may see their subtlety,
     And let there always be being,
       so we may see their result.
     The two are the same,
     But after they are produced,
       they have different names.

       -- The Way of Lao-Tzu, tr. Wing-tsit Chan

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Example diff3 Normal,  Next: Detailed diff3 Normal,  Prev: Sample diff3 Input,  Up: Comparing Three Files

7.2 An Example of 'diff3' Normal Format
=======================================

Here is the output of the command 'diff3 lao tzu tao' (*note Sample
diff3 Input::, for the complete contents of the files).  Notice that it
shows only the lines that are different among the three files.

     ====2
     1:1,2c
     3:1,2c
       The Way that can be told of is not the eternal Way;
       The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
     2:0a
     ====1
     1:4c
       The Named is the mother of all things.
     2:2,3c
     3:4,5c
       The named is the mother of all things.

     ====3
     1:8c
     2:7c
         so we may see their outcome.
     3:9c
         so we may see their result.
     ====
     1:11a
     2:11,13c
       They both may be called deep and profound.
       Deeper and more profound,
       The door of all subtleties!
     3:13,14c

         -- The Way of Lao-Tzu, tr. Wing-tsit Chan

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Detailed diff3 Normal,  Next: diff3 Hunks,  Prev: Example diff3 Normal,  Up: Comparing Three Files

7.3 Detailed Description of 'diff3' Normal Format
=================================================

Each hunk begins with a line marked '===='.  Three-way hunks have plain
'====' lines, and two-way hunks have '1', '2', or '3' appended to
specify which of the three input files differ in that hunk.  The hunks
contain copies of two or three sets of input lines each preceded by one
or two commands identifying where the lines came from.

   Normally, two spaces precede each copy of an input line to
distinguish it from the commands.  But with the '--initial-tab' ('-T')
option, 'diff3' uses a tab instead of two spaces; this lines up tabs
correctly.  *Note Tabs::, for more information.

   Commands take the following forms:

'FILE:La'
     This hunk appears after line L of file FILE, and contains no lines
     in that file.  To edit this file to yield the other files, one must
     append hunk lines taken from the other files.  For example, '1:11a'
     means that the hunk follows line 11 in the first file and contains
     no lines from that file.

'FILE:Rc'
     This hunk contains the lines in the range R of file FILE.  The
     range R is a comma-separated pair of line numbers, or just one
     number if there is only one line.  To edit this file to yield the
     other files, one must change the specified lines to be the lines
     taken from the other files.  For example, '2:11,13c' means that the
     hunk contains lines 11 through 13 from the second file.

   If the last line in a set of input lines is incomplete (*note
Incomplete Lines::), it is distinguished on output from a full line by a
following line that starts with '\'.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: diff3 Hunks,  Prev: Detailed diff3 Normal,  Up: Comparing Three Files

7.4 'diff3' Hunks
=================

Groups of lines that differ in two or three of the input files are
called "diff3 hunks", by analogy with 'diff' hunks (*note Hunks::).  If
all three input files differ in a 'diff3' hunk, the hunk is called a
"three-way hunk"; if just two input files differ, it is a "two-way
hunk".

   As with 'diff', several solutions are possible.  When comparing the
files 'A', 'B', and 'C', 'diff3' normally finds 'diff3' hunks by merging
the two-way hunks output by the two commands 'diff A B' and 'diff A C'.
This does not necessarily minimize the size of the output, but
exceptions should be rare.

   For example, suppose 'F' contains the three lines 'a', 'b', 'f', 'G'
contains the lines 'g', 'b', 'g', and 'H' contains the lines 'a', 'b',
'h'.  'diff3 F G H' might output the following:

     ====2
     1:1c
     3:1c
       a
     2:1c
       g
     ====
     1:3c
       f
     2:3c
       g
     3:3c
       h

because it found a two-way hunk containing 'a' in the first and third
files and 'g' in the second file, then the single line 'b' common to all
three files, then a three-way hunk containing the last line of each
file.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: diff3 Merging,  Next: Interactive Merging,  Prev: Comparing Three Files,  Up: Top

8 Merging From a Common Ancestor
********************************

When two people have made changes to copies of the same file, 'diff3'
can produce a merged output that contains both sets of changes together
with warnings about conflicts.

   One might imagine programs with names like 'diff4' and 'diff5' to
compare more than three files simultaneously, but in practice the need
rarely arises.  You can use 'diff3' to merge three or more sets of
changes to a file by merging two change sets at a time.

   'diff3' can incorporate changes from two modified versions into a
common preceding version.  This lets you merge the sets of changes
represented by the two newer files.  Specify the common ancestor version
as the second argument and the two newer versions as the first and third
arguments, like this:

     diff3 MINE OLDER YOURS

You can remember the order of the arguments by noting that they are in
alphabetical order.

   You can think of this as subtracting OLDER from YOURS and adding the
result to MINE, or as merging into MINE the changes that would turn
OLDER into YOURS.  This merging is well-defined as long as MINE and
OLDER match in the neighborhood of each such change.  This fails to be
true when all three input files differ or when only OLDER differs; we
call this a "conflict".  When all three input files differ, we call the
conflict an "overlap".

   'diff3' gives you several ways to handle overlaps and conflicts.  You
can omit overlaps or conflicts, or select only overlaps, or mark
conflicts with special '<<<<<<<' and '>>>>>>>' lines.

   'diff3' can output the merge results as an 'ed' script that that can
be applied to the first file to yield the merged output.  However, it is
usually better to have 'diff3' generate the merged output directly; this
bypasses some problems with 'ed'.

* Menu:

* Which Changes::            Selecting changes to incorporate.
* Marking Conflicts::        Marking conflicts.
* Bypassing ed::             Generating merged output directly.
* Merging Incomplete Lines:: How 'diff3' merges incomplete lines.
* Saving the Changed File::  Emulating System V behavior.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Which Changes,  Next: Marking Conflicts,  Up: diff3 Merging

8.1 Selecting Which Changes to Incorporate
==========================================

You can select all unmerged changes from OLDER to YOURS for merging into
MINE with the '--ed' ('-e') option.  You can select only the
nonoverlapping unmerged changes with '--easy-only' ('-3'), and you can
select only the overlapping changes with '--overlap-only' ('-x').

   The '-e', '-3' and '-x' options select only "unmerged changes", i.e.
changes where MINE and YOURS differ; they ignore changes from OLDER to
YOURS where MINE and YOURS are identical, because they assume that such
changes have already been merged.  If this assumption is not a safe one,
you can use the '--show-all' ('-A') option (*note Marking Conflicts::).

   Here is the output of the command 'diff3' with each of these three
options (*note Sample diff3 Input::, for the complete contents of the
files).  Notice that '-e' outputs the union of the disjoint sets of
changes output by '-3' and '-x'.

   Output of 'diff3 -e lao tzu tao':
     11a

       -- The Way of Lao-Tzu, tr. Wing-tsit Chan
     .
     8c
       so we may see their result.
     .

   Output of 'diff3 -3 lao tzu tao':
     8c
       so we may see their result.
     .

   Output of 'diff3 -x lao tzu tao':
     11a

       -- The Way of Lao-Tzu, tr. Wing-tsit Chan
     .

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Marking Conflicts,  Next: Bypassing ed,  Prev: Which Changes,  Up: diff3 Merging

8.2 Marking Conflicts
=====================

'diff3' can mark conflicts in the merged output by bracketing them with
special marker lines.  A conflict that comes from two files A and B is
marked as follows:

     <<<<<<< A
     lines from A
     =======
     lines from B
     >>>>>>> B

   A conflict that comes from three files A, B and C is marked as
follows:

     <<<<<<< A
     lines from A
     ||||||| B
     lines from B
     =======
     lines from C
     >>>>>>> C

   The '--show-all' ('-A') option acts like the '-e' option, except that
it brackets conflicts, and it outputs all changes from OLDER to YOURS,
not just the unmerged changes.  Thus, given the sample input files
(*note Sample diff3 Input::), 'diff3 -A lao tzu tao' puts brackets
around the conflict where only 'tzu' differs:

     <<<<<<< tzu
     =======
     The Way that can be told of is not the eternal Way;
     The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
     >>>>>>> tao

   And it outputs the three-way conflict as follows:

     <<<<<<< lao
     ||||||| tzu
     They both may be called deep and profound.
     Deeper and more profound,
     The door of all subtleties!
     =======

       -- The Way of Lao-Tzu, tr. Wing-tsit Chan
     >>>>>>> tao

   The '--show-overlap' ('-E') option outputs less information than the
'--show-all' ('-A') option, because it outputs only unmerged changes,
and it never outputs the contents of the second file.  Thus the '-E'
option acts like the '-e' option, except that it brackets the first and
third files from three-way overlapping changes.  Similarly, '-X' acts
like '-x', except it brackets all its (necessarily overlapping) changes.
For example, for the three-way overlapping change above, the '-E' and
'-X' options output the following:

     <<<<<<< lao
     =======

       -- The Way of Lao-Tzu, tr. Wing-tsit Chan
     >>>>>>> tao

   If you are comparing files that have meaningless or uninformative
names, you can use the '--label=LABEL' option to show alternate names in
the '<<<<<<<', '|||||||' and '>>>>>>>' brackets.  This option can be
given up to three times, once for each input file.  Thus 'diff3 -A
--label X --label Y --label Z A B C' acts like 'diff3 -A A B C', except
that the output looks like it came from files named 'X', 'Y' and 'Z'
rather than from files named 'A', 'B' and 'C'.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Bypassing ed,  Next: Merging Incomplete Lines,  Prev: Marking Conflicts,  Up: diff3 Merging

8.3 Generating the Merged Output Directly
=========================================

With the '--merge' ('-m') option, 'diff3' outputs the merged file
directly.  This is more efficient than using 'ed' to generate it, and
works even with non-text files that 'ed' would reject.  If you specify
'-m' without an 'ed' script option, '-A' is assumed.

   For example, the command 'diff3 -m lao tzu tao' (*note Sample diff3
Input:: for a copy of the input files) would output the following:

     <<<<<<< tzu
     =======
     The Way that can be told of is not the eternal Way;
     The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
     >>>>>>> tao
     The Nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth;
     The Named is the mother of all things.
     Therefore let there always be non-being,
       so we may see their subtlety,
     And let there always be being,
       so we may see their result.
     The two are the same,
     But after they are produced,
       they have different names.
     <<<<<<< lao
     ||||||| tzu
     They both may be called deep and profound.
     Deeper and more profound,
     The door of all subtleties!
     =======

       -- The Way of Lao-Tzu, tr. Wing-tsit Chan
     >>>>>>> tao

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Merging Incomplete Lines,  Next: Saving the Changed File,  Prev: Bypassing ed,  Up: diff3 Merging

8.4 How 'diff3' Merges Incomplete Lines
=======================================

With '-m', incomplete lines (*note Incomplete Lines::) are simply copied
to the output as they are found; if the merged output ends in an
conflict and one of the input files ends in an incomplete line,
succeeding '|||||||', '=======' or '>>>>>>>' brackets appear somewhere
other than the start of a line because they are appended to the
incomplete line.

   Without '-m', if an 'ed' script option is specified and an incomplete
line is found, 'diff3' generates a warning and acts as if a newline had
been present.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Saving the Changed File,  Prev: Merging Incomplete Lines,  Up: diff3 Merging

8.5 Saving the Changed File
===========================

Traditional Unix 'diff3' generates an 'ed' script without the trailing
'w' and 'q' commands that save the changes.  System V 'diff3' generates
these extra commands.  GNU 'diff3' normally behaves like traditional
Unix 'diff3', but with the '-i' option it behaves like System V 'diff3'
and appends the 'w' and 'q' commands.

   The '-i' option requires one of the 'ed' script options '-AeExX3',
and is incompatible with the merged output option '-m'.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Interactive Merging,  Next: Merging with patch,  Prev: diff3 Merging,  Up: Top

9 Interactive Merging with 'sdiff'
**********************************

With 'sdiff', you can merge two files interactively based on a
side-by-side '-y' format comparison (*note Side by Side::).  Use
'--output=FILE' ('-o FILE') to specify where to put the merged text.
*Note Invoking sdiff::, for more details on the options to 'sdiff'.

   Another way to merge files interactively is to use the Emacs Lisp
package 'emerge'.  *Note Emerge: (emacs)Emerge, for more information.

* Menu:

* sdiff Option Summary:: Summary of 'sdiff' options.
* Merge Commands::       Merging two files interactively.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: sdiff Option Summary,  Next: Merge Commands,  Up: Interactive Merging

9.1 Specifying 'diff' Options to 'sdiff'
========================================

The following 'sdiff' options have the same meaning as for 'diff'.
*Note diff Options::, for the use of these options.

     -a -b -d -i -t -v
     -B -E -I REGEXP -Z

     --expand-tabs
     --ignore-blank-lines  --ignore-case
     --ignore-matching-lines=REGEXP  --ignore-space-change
     --ignore-tab-expansion  --ignore-trailing-space
     --left-column  --minimal  --speed-large-files
     --strip-trailing-cr  --suppress-common-lines
     --tabsize=COLUMNS  --text  --version  --width=COLUMNS

   For historical reasons, 'sdiff' has alternate names for some options.
The '-l' option is equivalent to the '--left-column' option, and
similarly '-s' is equivalent to '--suppress-common-lines'.  The meaning
of the 'sdiff' '-w' and '-W' options is interchanged from that of
'diff': with 'sdiff', '-w COLUMNS' is equivalent to '--width=COLUMNS',
and '-W' is equivalent to '--ignore-all-space'.  'sdiff' without the
'-o' option is equivalent to 'diff' with the '--side-by-side' ('-y')
option (*note Side by Side::).

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Merge Commands,  Prev: sdiff Option Summary,  Up: Interactive Merging

9.2 Merge Commands
==================

Groups of common lines, with a blank gutter, are copied from the first
file to the output.  After each group of differing lines, 'sdiff'
prompts with '%' and pauses, waiting for one of the following commands.
Follow each command with <RET>.

'e'
     Discard both versions.  Invoke a text editor on an empty temporary
     file, then copy the resulting file to the output.

'eb'
     Concatenate the two versions, edit the result in a temporary file,
     then copy the edited result to the output.

'ed'
     Like 'eb', except precede each version with a header that shows
     what file and lines the version came from.

'el'
'e1'
     Edit a copy of the left version, then copy the result to the
     output.

'er'
'e2'
     Edit a copy of the right version, then copy the result to the
     output.

'l'
'1'
     Copy the left version to the output.

'q'
     Quit.

'r'
'2'
     Copy the right version to the output.

's'
     Silently copy common lines.

'v'
     Verbosely copy common lines.  This is the default.

   The text editor invoked is specified by the 'EDITOR' environment
variable if it is set.  The default is system-dependent.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Merging with patch,  Next: Making Patches,  Prev: Interactive Merging,  Up: Top

10 Merging with 'patch'
***********************

'patch' takes comparison output produced by 'diff' and applies the
differences to a copy of the original file, producing a patched version.
With 'patch', you can distribute just the changes to a set of files
instead of distributing the entire file set; your correspondents can
apply 'patch' to update their copy of the files with your changes.
'patch' automatically determines the diff format, skips any leading or
trailing headers, and uses the headers to determine which file to patch.
This lets your correspondents feed a mail message containing a
difference listing directly to 'patch'.

   'patch' detects and warns about common problems like forward patches.
It saves any patches that it could not apply.  It can also maintain a
'patchlevel.h' file to ensure that your correspondents apply diffs in
the proper order.

   'patch' accepts a series of diffs in its standard input, usually
separated by headers that specify which file to patch.  It applies
'diff' hunks (*note Hunks::) one by one.  If a hunk does not exactly
match the original file, 'patch' uses heuristics to try to patch the
file as well as it can.  If no approximate match can be found, 'patch'
rejects the hunk and skips to the next hunk.  'patch' normally replaces
each file F with its new version, putting reject hunks (if any) into
'F.rej'.

   *Note Invoking patch::, for detailed information on the options to
'patch'.

* Menu:

* patch Input::            Selecting the type of 'patch' input.
* Revision Control::       Getting files from RCS, SCCS, etc.
* Imperfect::              Dealing with imperfect patches.
* Creating and Removing::  Creating and removing files with a patch.
* Patching Timestamps::   Updating timestamps on patched files.
* Multiple Patches::       Handling multiple patches in a file.
* patch Directories::      Changing directory and stripping directories.
* Backups::                Whether backup files are made.
* Backup Names::           Backup file names.
* Reject Names::           Reject file names.
* patch Messages::         Messages and questions 'patch' can produce.
* patch and POSIX::        Conformance to the POSIX standard.
* patch and Tradition::    GNU versus traditional 'patch'.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: patch Input,  Next: Revision Control,  Up: Merging with patch

10.1 Selecting the 'patch' Input Format
=======================================

'patch' normally determines which 'diff' format the patch file uses by
examining its contents.  For patch files that contain particularly
confusing leading text, you might need to use one of the following
options to force 'patch' to interpret the patch file as a certain format
of diff.  The output formats listed here are the only ones that 'patch'
can understand.

'-c'
'--context'
     context diff.

'-e'
'--ed'
     'ed' script.

'-n'
'--normal'
     normal diff.

'-u'
'--unified'
     unified diff.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Revision Control,  Next: Imperfect,  Prev: patch Input,  Up: Merging with patch

10.2 Revision Control
=====================

If a nonexistent input file is under a revision control system supported
by 'patch', 'patch' normally asks the user whether to get (or check out)
the file from the revision control system.  Patch currently supports
RCS, ClearCase and SCCS. Under RCS and SCCS, 'patch' also asks when the
input file is read-only and matches the default version in the revision
control system.

   The '--get=NUM' ('-g NUM') option affects access to files under
supported revision control systems.  If NUM is positive, 'patch' gets
the file without asking the user; if zero, 'patch' neither asks the user
nor gets the file; and if negative, 'patch' asks the user before getting
the file.  The default value of NUM is given by the value of the
'PATCH_GET' environment variable if it is set; if not, the default value
is zero if 'patch' is conforming to POSIX, negative otherwise.  *Note
patch and POSIX::.

   The choice of revision control system is unaffected by the
'VERSION_CONTROL' environment variable (*note Backup Names::).

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Imperfect,  Next: Creating and Removing,  Prev: Revision Control,  Up: Merging with patch

10.3 Applying Imperfect Patches
===============================

'patch' tries to skip any leading text in the patch file, apply the
diff, and then skip any trailing text.  Thus you can feed a mail message
directly to 'patch', and it should work.  If the entire diff is indented
by a constant amount of white space, 'patch' automatically ignores the
indentation.  If a context diff contains trailing carriage return on
each line, 'patch' automatically ignores the carriage return.  If a
context diff has been encapsulated by prepending '- ' to lines beginning
with '-' as per Internet RFC 934
(ftp://ftp.isi.edu/in-notes/rfc934.txt), 'patch' automatically
unencapsulates the input.

   However, certain other types of imperfect input require user
intervention or testing.

* Menu:

* Changed White Space:: When tabs and spaces don't match exactly.
* Reversed Patches::    Applying reversed patches correctly.
* Inexact::             Helping 'patch' find close matches.
* Dry Runs::            Predicting what 'patch' will do.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Changed White Space,  Next: Reversed Patches,  Up: Imperfect

10.3.1 Applying Patches with Changed White Space
------------------------------------------------

Sometimes mailers, editors, or other programs change spaces into tabs,
or vice versa.  If this happens to a patch file or an input file, the
files might look the same, but 'patch' will not be able to match them
properly.  If this problem occurs, use the '-l' or
'--ignore-white-space' option, which makes 'patch' compare blank
characters (i.e. spaces and tabs) loosely so that any nonempty sequence
of blanks in the patch file matches any nonempty sequence of blanks in
the input files.  Non-blank characters must still match exactly.  Each
line of the context must still match a line in the input file.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Reversed Patches,  Next: Inexact,  Prev: Changed White Space,  Up: Imperfect

10.3.2 Applying Reversed Patches
--------------------------------

Sometimes people run 'diff' with the new file first instead of second.
This creates a diff that is "reversed".  To apply such patches, give
'patch' the '--reverse' ('-R') option.  'patch' then attempts to swap
each hunk around before applying it.  Rejects come out in the swapped
format.

   Often 'patch' can guess that the patch is reversed.  If the first
hunk of a patch fails, 'patch' reverses the hunk to see if it can apply
it that way.  If it can, 'patch' asks you if you want to have the '-R'
option set; if it can't, 'patch' continues to apply the patch normally.
This method cannot detect a reversed patch if it is a normal diff and
the first command is an append (which should have been a delete) since
appends always succeed, because a null context matches anywhere.  But
most patches add or change lines rather than delete them, so most
reversed normal diffs begin with a delete, which fails, and 'patch'
notices.

   If you apply a patch that you have already applied, 'patch' thinks it
is a reversed patch and offers to un-apply the patch.  This could be
construed as a feature.  If you did this inadvertently and you don't
want to un-apply the patch, just answer 'n' to this offer and to the
subsequent "apply anyway" question--or type 'C-c' to kill the 'patch'
process.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Inexact,  Next: Dry Runs,  Prev: Reversed Patches,  Up: Imperfect

10.3.3 Helping 'patch' Find Inexact Matches
-------------------------------------------

For context diffs, and to a lesser extent normal diffs, 'patch' can
detect when the line numbers mentioned in the patch are incorrect, and
it attempts to find the correct place to apply each hunk of the patch.
As a first guess, it takes the line number mentioned in the hunk, plus
or minus any offset used in applying the previous hunk.  If that is not
the correct place, 'patch' scans both forward and backward for a set of
lines matching the context given in the hunk.

   First 'patch' looks for a place where all lines of the context match.
If it cannot find such a place, and it is reading a context or unified
diff, and the maximum fuzz factor is set to 1 or more, then 'patch'
makes another scan, ignoring the first and last line of context.  If
that fails, and the maximum fuzz factor is set to 2 or more, it makes
another scan, ignoring the first two and last two lines of context are
ignored.  It continues similarly if the maximum fuzz factor is larger.

   The '--fuzz=LINES' ('-F LINES') option sets the maximum fuzz factor
to LINES.  This option only applies to context and unified diffs; it
ignores up to LINES lines while looking for the place to install a hunk.
Note that a larger fuzz factor increases the odds of making a faulty
patch.  The default fuzz factor is 2; there is no point to setting it to
more than the number of lines of context in the diff, ordinarily 3.

   If 'patch' cannot find a place to install a hunk of the patch, it
writes the hunk out to a reject file (*note Reject Names::, for
information on how reject files are named).  It writes out rejected
hunks in context format no matter what form the input patch is in.  If
the input is a normal or 'ed' diff, many of the contexts are simply
null.  The line numbers on the hunks in the reject file may be different
from those in the patch file: they show the approximate location where
'patch' thinks the failed hunks belong in the new file rather than in
the old one.

   If the '--verbose' option is given, then as it completes each hunk
'patch' tells you whether the hunk succeeded or failed, and if it
failed, on which line (in the new file) 'patch' thinks the hunk should
go.  If this is different from the line number specified in the diff, it
tells you the offset.  A single large offset _may_ indicate that 'patch'
installed a hunk in the wrong place.  'patch' also tells you if it used
a fuzz factor to make the match, in which case you should also be
slightly suspicious.

   'patch' cannot tell if the line numbers are off in an 'ed' script,
and can only detect wrong line numbers in a normal diff when it finds a
change or delete command.  It may have the same problem with a context
diff using a fuzz factor equal to or greater than the number of lines of
context shown in the diff (typically 3).  In these cases, you should
probably look at a context diff between your original and patched input
files to see if the changes make sense.  Compiling without errors is a
pretty good indication that the patch worked, but not a guarantee.

   A patch against an empty file applies to a nonexistent file, and vice
versa.  *Note Creating and Removing::.

   'patch' usually produces the correct results, even when it must make
many guesses.  However, the results are guaranteed only when the patch
is applied to an exact copy of the file that the patch was generated
from.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Dry Runs,  Prev: Inexact,  Up: Imperfect

10.3.4 Predicting what 'patch' will do
--------------------------------------

It may not be obvious in advance what 'patch' will do with a complicated
or poorly formatted patch.  If you are concerned that the input might
cause 'patch' to modify the wrong files, you can use the '--dry-run'
option, which causes 'patch' to print the results of applying patches
without actually changing any files.  You can then inspect the
diagnostics generated by the dry run to see whether 'patch' will modify
the files that you expect.  If the patch does not do what you want, you
can modify the patch (or the other options to 'patch') and try another
dry run.  Once you are satisfied with the proposed patch you can apply
it by invoking 'patch' as before, but this time without the '--dry-run'
option.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Creating and Removing,  Next: Patching Timestamps,  Prev: Imperfect,  Up: Merging with patch

10.4 Creating and Removing Files
================================

Sometimes when comparing two directories, a file may exist in one
directory but not the other.  If you give 'diff' the '--new-file' ('-N')
option, or if you supply an old or new file that is named '/dev/null' or
is empty and is dated the Epoch (1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC), 'diff'
outputs a patch that adds or deletes the contents of this file.  When
given such a patch, 'patch' normally creates a new file or removes the
old file.  However, when conforming to POSIX (*note patch and POSIX::),
'patch' does not remove the old file, but leaves it empty.  The
'--remove-empty-files' ('-E') option causes 'patch' to remove output
files that are empty after applying a patch, even if the patch does not
appear to be one that removed the file.

   If the patch appears to create a file that already exists, 'patch'
asks for confirmation before applying the patch.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Patching Timestamps,  Next: Multiple Patches,  Prev: Creating and Removing,  Up: Merging with patch

10.5 Updating Timestamps on Patched Files
=========================================

When 'patch' updates a file, it normally sets the file's last-modified
timestamp to the current time of day.  If you are using 'patch' to track
a software distribution, this can cause 'make' to incorrectly conclude
that a patched file is out of date.  For example, if 'syntax.c' depends
on 'syntax.y', and 'patch' updates 'syntax.c' and then 'syntax.y', then
'syntax.c' will normally appear to be out of date with respect to
'syntax.y' even though its contents are actually up to date.

   The '--set-utc' ('-Z') option causes 'patch' to set a patched file's
modification and access times to the timestamps given in context diff
headers.  If the context diff headers do not specify a time zone, they
are assumed to use Coordinated Universal Time (UTC, often known as GMT).

   The '--set-time' ('-T') option acts like '-Z' or '--set-utc', except
that it assumes that the context diff headers' timestamps use local time
instead of UTC. This option is not recommended, because patches using
local time cannot easily be used by people in other time zones, and
because local timestamps are ambiguous when local clocks move backwards
during daylight-saving time adjustments.  If the context diff headers
specify a time zone, this option is equivalent to '--set-utc' ('-Z').

   'patch' normally refrains from setting a file's timestamps if the
file's original last-modified timestamp does not match the time given in
the diff header, of if the file's contents do not exactly match the
patch.  However, if the '--force' ('-f') option is given, the file's
timestamps are set regardless.

   Due to the limitations of the current 'diff' format, 'patch' cannot
update the times of files whose contents have not changed.  Also, if you
set file timestamps to values other than the current time of day, you
should also remove (e.g., with 'make clean') all files that depend on
the patched files, so that later invocations of 'make' do not get
confused by the patched files' times.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Multiple Patches,  Next: patch Directories,  Prev: Patching Timestamps,  Up: Merging with patch

10.6 Multiple Patches in a File
===============================

If the patch file contains more than one patch, and if you do not
specify an input file on the command line, 'patch' tries to apply each
patch as if they came from separate patch files.  This means that it
determines the name of the file to patch for each patch, and that it
examines the leading text before each patch for file names and
prerequisite revision level (*note Making Patches::, for more on that
topic).

   'patch' uses the following rules to intuit a file name from the
leading text before a patch.  First, 'patch' takes an ordered list of
candidate file names as follows:

   * If the header is that of a context diff, 'patch' takes the old and
     new file names in the header.  A name is ignored if it does not
     have enough slashes to satisfy the '-pNUM' or '--strip=NUM' option.
     The name '/dev/null' is also ignored.

   * If there is an 'Index:' line in the leading garbage and if either
     the old and new names are both absent or if 'patch' is conforming
     to POSIX, 'patch' takes the name in the 'Index:' line.

   * For the purpose of the following rules, the candidate file names
     are considered to be in the order (old, new, index), regardless of
     the order that they appear in the header.

Then 'patch' selects a file name from the candidate list as follows:

   * If some of the named files exist, 'patch' selects the first name if
     conforming to POSIX, and the best name otherwise.

   * If 'patch' is not ignoring RCS, ClearCase, and SCCS (*note Revision
     Control::), and no named files exist but an RCS, ClearCase, or SCCS
     master is found, 'patch' selects the first named file with an RCS,
     ClearCase, or SCCS master.

   * If no named files exist, no RCS, ClearCase, or SCCS master was
     found, some names are given, 'patch' is not conforming to POSIX,
     and the patch appears to create a file, 'patch' selects the best
     name requiring the creation of the fewest directories.

   * If no file name results from the above heuristics, you are asked
     for the name of the file to patch, and 'patch' selects that name.

   To determine the "best" of a nonempty list of file names, 'patch'
first takes all the names with the fewest path name components; of
those, it then takes all the names with the shortest basename; of those,
it then takes all the shortest names; finally, it takes the first
remaining name.

   *Note patch and POSIX::, to see whether 'patch' is conforming to
POSIX.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: patch Directories,  Next: Backups,  Prev: Multiple Patches,  Up: Merging with patch

10.7 Applying Patches in Other Directories
==========================================

The '--directory=DIRECTORY' ('-d DIRECTORY') option to 'patch' makes
directory DIRECTORY the current directory for interpreting both file
names in the patch file, and file names given as arguments to other
options (such as '-B' and '-o').  For example, while in a mail reading
program, you can patch a file in the '/usr/src/emacs' directory directly
from a message containing the patch like this:

     | patch -d /usr/src/emacs

   Sometimes the file names given in a patch contain leading
directories, but you keep your files in a directory different from the
one given in the patch.  In those cases, you can use the
'--strip=NUMBER' ('-pNUMBER') option to set the file name strip count to
NUMBER.  The strip count tells 'patch' how many slashes, along with the
directory names between them, to strip from the front of file names.  A
sequence of one or more adjacent slashes is counted as a single slash.
By default, 'patch' strips off all leading directories, leaving just the
base file names.

   For example, suppose the file name in the patch file is
'/gnu/src/emacs/etc/NEWS'.  Using '-p0' gives the entire file name
unmodified, '-p1' gives 'gnu/src/emacs/etc/NEWS' (no leading slash),
'-p4' gives 'etc/NEWS', and not specifying '-p' at all gives 'NEWS'.

   'patch' looks for each file (after any slashes have been stripped) in
the current directory, or if you used the '-d DIRECTORY' option, in that
directory.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Backups,  Next: Backup Names,  Prev: patch Directories,  Up: Merging with patch

10.8 Backup Files
=================

Normally, 'patch' creates a backup file if the patch does not exactly
match the original input file, because in that case the original data
might not be recovered if you undo the patch with 'patch -R' (*note
Reversed Patches::).  However, when conforming to POSIX, 'patch' does
not create backup files by default.  *Note patch and POSIX::.

   The '--backup' ('-b') option causes 'patch' to make a backup file
regardless of whether the patch matches the original input.  The
'--backup-if-mismatch' option causes 'patch' to create backup files for
mismatches files; this is the default when not conforming to POSIX. The
'--no-backup-if-mismatch' option causes 'patch' to not create backup
files, even for mismatched patches; this is the default when conforming
to POSIX.

   When backing up a file that does not exist, an empty, unreadable
backup file is created as a placeholder to represent the nonexistent
file.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Backup Names,  Next: Reject Names,  Prev: Backups,  Up: Merging with patch

10.9 Backup File Names
======================

Normally, 'patch' renames an original input file into a backup file by
appending to its name the extension '.orig', or '~' if using '.orig'
would make the backup file name too long.(1)  The '-z BACKUP-SUFFIX' or
'--suffix=BACKUP-SUFFIX' option causes 'patch' to use BACKUP-SUFFIX as
the backup extension instead.

   Alternately, you can specify the extension for backup files with the
'SIMPLE_BACKUP_SUFFIX' environment variable, which the options override.

   'patch' can also create numbered backup files the way GNU Emacs does.
With this method, instead of having a single backup of each file,
'patch' makes a new backup file name each time it patches a file.  For
example, the backups of a file named 'sink' would be called,
successively, 'sink.~1~', 'sink.~2~', 'sink.~3~', etc.

   The '-V BACKUP-STYLE' or '--version-control=BACKUP-STYLE' option
takes as an argument a method for creating backup file names.  You can
alternately control the type of backups that 'patch' makes with the
'PATCH_VERSION_CONTROL' environment variable, which the '-V' option
overrides.  If 'PATCH_VERSION_CONTROL' is not set, the 'VERSION_CONTROL'
environment variable is used instead.  Please note that these options
and variables control backup file names; they do not affect the choice
of revision control system (*note Revision Control::).

   The values of these environment variables and the argument to the
'-V' option are like the GNU Emacs 'version-control' variable (*note
(emacs)Backup Names::, for more information on backup versions in
Emacs).  They also recognize synonyms that are more descriptive.  The
valid values are listed below; unique abbreviations are acceptable.

't'
'numbered'
     Always make numbered backups.

'nil'
'existing'
     Make numbered backups of files that already have them, simple
     backups of the others.  This is the default.

'never'
'simple'
     Always make simple backups.

   You can also tell 'patch' to prepend a prefix, such as a directory
name, to produce backup file names.  The '--prefix=PREFIX' ('-B PREFIX')
option makes backup files by prepending PREFIX to them.  The
'--basename-prefix=PREFIX' ('-Y PREFIX') prepends PREFIX to the last
file name component of backup file names instead; for example, '-Y ~'
causes the backup name for 'dir/file.c' to be 'dir/~file.c'.  If you use
either of these prefix options, the suffix-based options are ignored.

   If you specify the output file with the '-o' option, that file is the
one that is backed up, not the input file.

   Options that affect the names of backup files do not affect whether
backups are made.  For example, if you specify the
'--no-backup-if-mismatch' option, none of the options described in this
section have any affect, because no backups are made.

   ---------- Footnotes ----------

   (1) A coding error in GNU 'patch' version 2.5.4 causes it to always
use '~', but this should be fixed in the next release.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Reject Names,  Next: patch Messages,  Prev: Backup Names,  Up: Merging with patch

10.10 Reject File Names
=======================

The names for reject files (files containing patches that 'patch' could
not find a place to apply) are normally the name of the output file with
'.rej' appended (or '#' if using '.rej' would make the backup file name
too long).

   Alternatively, you can tell 'patch' to place all of the rejected
patches in a single file.  The '-r REJECT-FILE' or
'--reject-file=REJECT-FILE' option uses REJECT-FILE as the reject file
name.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: patch Messages,  Next: patch and POSIX,  Prev: Reject Names,  Up: Merging with patch

10.11 Messages and Questions from 'patch'
=========================================

'patch' can produce a variety of messages, especially if it has trouble
decoding its input.  In a few situations where it's not sure how to
proceed, 'patch' normally prompts you for more information from the
keyboard.  There are options to produce more or fewer messages, to have
it not ask for keyboard input, and to affect the way that file names are
quoted in messages.

* Menu:

* More or Fewer Messages::    Controlling the verbosity of 'patch'.
* patch and Keyboard Input::  Inhibiting keyboard input.
* patch Quoting Style::       Quoting file names in diagnostics.

   'patch' exits with status 0 if all hunks are applied successfully, 1
if some hunks cannot be applied, and 2 if there is more serious trouble.
When applying a set of patches in a loop, you should check the exit
status, so you don't apply a later patch to a partially patched file.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: More or Fewer Messages,  Next: patch and Keyboard Input,  Up: patch Messages

10.11.1 Controlling the Verbosity of 'patch'
--------------------------------------------

You can cause 'patch' to produce more messages by using the '--verbose'
option.  For example, when you give this option, the message 'Hmm...'
indicates that 'patch' is reading text in the patch file, attempting to
determine whether there is a patch in that text, and if so, what kind of
patch it is.

   You can inhibit all terminal output from 'patch', unless an error
occurs, by using the '-s', '--quiet', or '--silent' option.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: patch and Keyboard Input,  Next: patch Quoting Style,  Prev: More or Fewer Messages,  Up: patch Messages

10.11.2 Inhibiting Keyboard Input
---------------------------------

There are two ways you can prevent 'patch' from asking you any
questions.  The '--force' ('-f') option assumes that you know what you
are doing.  It causes 'patch' to do the following:

   * Skip patches that do not contain file names in their headers.

   * Patch files even though they have the wrong version for the
     'Prereq:' line in the patch;

   * Assume that patches are not reversed even if they look like they
     are.

The '--batch' ('-t') option is similar to '-f', in that it suppresses
questions, but it makes somewhat different assumptions:

   * Skip patches that do not contain file names in their headers (the
     same as '-f').

   * Skip patches for which the file has the wrong version for the
     'Prereq:' line in the patch;

   * Assume that patches are reversed if they look like they are.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: patch Quoting Style,  Prev: patch and Keyboard Input,  Up: patch Messages

10.11.3 'patch' Quoting Style
-----------------------------

When 'patch' outputs a file name in a diagnostic message, it can format
the name in any of several ways.  This can be useful to output file
names unambiguously, even if they contain punctuation or special
characters like newlines.  The '--quoting-style=WORD' option controls
how names are output.  The WORD should be one of the following:

'literal'
     Output names as-is.
'shell'
     Quote names for the shell if they contain shell metacharacters or
     would cause ambiguous output.
'shell-always'
     Quote names for the shell, even if they would normally not require
     quoting.
'c'
     Quote names as for a C language string.
'escape'
     Quote as with 'c' except omit the surrounding double-quote
     characters.

   You can specify the default value of the '--quoting-style' option
with the environment variable 'QUOTING_STYLE'.  If that environment
variable is not set, the default value is 'shell', but this default may
change in a future version of 'patch'.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: patch and POSIX,  Next: patch and Tradition,  Prev: patch Messages,  Up: Merging with patch

10.12 'patch' and the POSIX Standard
====================================

If you specify the '--posix' option, or set the 'POSIXLY_CORRECT'
environment variable, 'patch' conforms more strictly to the POSIX
standard, as follows:

   * Take the first existing file from the list (old, new, index) when
     intuiting file names from diff headers.  *Note Multiple Patches::.

   * Do not remove files that are removed by a diff.  *Note Creating and
     Removing::.

   * Do not ask whether to get files from RCS, ClearCase, or SCCS. *Note
     Revision Control::.

   * Require that all options precede the files in the command line.

   * Do not backup files, even when there is a mismatch.  *Note
     Backups::.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: patch and Tradition,  Prev: patch and POSIX,  Up: Merging with patch

10.13 GNU 'patch' and Traditional 'patch'
=========================================

The current version of GNU 'patch' normally follows the POSIX standard.
*Note patch and POSIX::, for the few exceptions to this general rule.

   Unfortunately, POSIX redefined the behavior of 'patch' in several
important ways.  You should be aware of the following differences if you
must interoperate with traditional 'patch', or with GNU 'patch' version
2.1 and earlier.

   * In traditional 'patch', the '-p' option's operand was optional, and
     a bare '-p' was equivalent to '-p0'.  The '-p' option now requires
     an operand, and '-p 0' is now equivalent to '-p0'.  For maximum
     compatibility, use options like '-p0' and '-p1'.

     Also, traditional 'patch' simply counted slashes when stripping
     path prefixes; 'patch' now counts pathname components.  That is, a
     sequence of one or more adjacent slashes now counts as a single
     slash.  For maximum portability, avoid sending patches containing
     '//' in file names.

   * In traditional 'patch', backups were enabled by default.  This
     behavior is now enabled with the '--backup' ('-b') option.

     Conversely, in POSIX 'patch', backups are never made, even when
     there is a mismatch.  In GNU 'patch', this behavior is enabled with
     the '--no-backup-if-mismatch' option, or by conforming to POSIX.

     The '-b SUFFIX' option of traditional 'patch' is equivalent to the
     '-b -z SUFFIX' options of GNU 'patch'.

   * Traditional 'patch' used a complicated (and incompletely
     documented) method to intuit the name of the file to be patched
     from the patch header.  This method did not conform to POSIX, and
     had a few gotchas.  Now 'patch' uses a different, equally
     complicated (but better documented) method that is optionally
     POSIX-conforming; we hope it has fewer gotchas.  The two methods
     are compatible if the file names in the context diff header and the
     'Index:' line are all identical after prefix-stripping.  Your patch
     is normally compatible if each header's file names all contain the
     same number of slashes.

   * When traditional 'patch' asked the user a question, it sent the
     question to standard error and looked for an answer from the first
     file in the following list that was a terminal: standard error,
     standard output, '/dev/tty', and standard input.  Now 'patch' sends
     questions to standard output and gets answers from '/dev/tty'.
     Defaults for some answers have been changed so that 'patch' never
     goes into an infinite loop when using default answers.

   * Traditional 'patch' exited with a status value that counted the
     number of bad hunks, or with status 1 if there was real trouble.
     Now 'patch' exits with status 1 if some hunks failed, or with 2 if
     there was real trouble.

   * Limit yourself to the following options when sending instructions
     meant to be executed by anyone running GNU 'patch', traditional
     'patch', or a 'patch' that conforms to POSIX. Spaces are
     significant in the following list, and operands are required.

          -c
          -d DIR
          -D DEFINE
          -e
          -l
          -n
          -N
          -o OUTFILE
          -pNUM
          -R
          -r REJECTFILE

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Making Patches,  Next: Invoking cmp,  Prev: Merging with patch,  Up: Top

11 Tips for Making and Using Patches
************************************

Use some common sense when making and using patches.  For example, when
sending bug fixes to a program's maintainer, send several small patches,
one per independent subject, instead of one large, harder-to-digest
patch that covers all the subjects.

   Here are some other things you should keep in mind if you are going
to distribute patches for updating a software package.

* Menu:

* Tips for Patch Producers::    Advice for making patches.
* Tips for Patch Consumers::    Advice for using patches.
* Avoiding Common Mistakes::    Avoiding common mistakes when using 'patch'.
* Generating Smaller Patches::  How to generate smaller patches.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Tips for Patch Producers,  Next: Tips for Patch Consumers,  Up: Making Patches

11.1 Tips for Patch Producers
=============================

To create a patch that changes an older version of a package into a
newer version, first make a copy of the older and newer versions in
adjacent subdirectories.  It is common to do that by unpacking 'tar'
archives of the two versions.

   To generate the patch, use the command 'diff -Naur OLD NEW' where OLD
and NEW identify the old and new directories.  The names OLD and NEW
should not contain any slashes.  The '-N' option lets the patch create
and remove files; '-a' lets the patch update non-text files; '-u'
generates useful timestamps and enough context; and '-r' lets the patch
update subdirectories.  Here is an example command, using Bourne shell
syntax:

     diff -Naur gcc-3.0.3 gcc-3.0.4

   Tell your recipients how to apply the patches.  This should include
which working directory to use, and which 'patch' options to use; the
option '-p1' is recommended.  Test your procedure by pretending to be a
recipient and applying your patches to a copy of the original files.

   *Note Avoiding Common Mistakes::, for how to avoid common mistakes
when generating a patch.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Tips for Patch Consumers,  Next: Avoiding Common Mistakes,  Prev: Tips for Patch Producers,  Up: Making Patches

11.2 Tips for Patch Consumers
=============================

A patch producer should tell recipients how to apply the patches, so the
first rule of thumb for a patch consumer is to follow the instructions
supplied with the patch.

   GNU 'diff' can analyze files with arbitrarily long lines and files
that end in incomplete lines.  However, older versions of 'patch' cannot
patch such files.  If you are having trouble applying such patches, try
upgrading to a recent version of GNU 'patch'.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Avoiding Common Mistakes,  Next: Generating Smaller Patches,  Prev: Tips for Patch Consumers,  Up: Making Patches

11.3 Avoiding Common Mistakes
=============================

When producing a patch for multiple files, apply 'diff' to directories
whose names do not have slashes.  This reduces confusion when the patch
consumer specifies the '-pNUMBER' option, since this option can have
surprising results when the old and new file names have different
numbers of slashes.  For example, do not send a patch with a header that
looks like this:

     diff -Naur v2.0.29/prog/README prog/README
     --- v2.0.29/prog/README	2002-03-10 23:30:39.942229878 -0800
     +++ prog/README	2002-03-17 20:49:32.442260588 -0800

because the two file names have different numbers of slashes, and
different versions of 'patch' interpret the file names differently.  To
avoid confusion, send output that looks like this instead:

     diff -Naur v2.0.29/prog/README v2.0.30/prog/README
     --- v2.0.29/prog/README	2002-03-10 23:30:39.942229878 -0800
     +++ v2.0.30/prog/README	2002-03-17 20:49:32.442260588 -0800

   Make sure you have specified the file names correctly, either in a
context diff header or with an 'Index:' line.  Take care to not send out
reversed patches, since these make people wonder whether they have
already applied the patch.

   Avoid sending patches that compare backup file names like
'README.orig' or 'README~', since this might confuse 'patch' into
patching a backup file instead of the real file.  Instead, send patches
that compare the same base file names in different directories, e.g.
'old/README' and 'new/README'.

   To save people from partially applying a patch before other patches
that should have gone before it, you can make the first patch in the
patch file update a file with a name like 'patchlevel.h' or 'version.c',
which contains a patch level or version number.  If the input file
contains the wrong version number, 'patch' will complain immediately.

   An even clearer way to prevent this problem is to put a 'Prereq:'
line before the patch.  If the leading text in the patch file contains a
line that starts with 'Prereq:', 'patch' takes the next word from that
line (normally a version number) and checks whether the next input file
contains that word, preceded and followed by either white space or a
newline.  If not, 'patch' prompts you for confirmation before
proceeding.  This makes it difficult to accidentally apply patches in
the wrong order.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Generating Smaller Patches,  Prev: Avoiding Common Mistakes,  Up: Making Patches

11.4 Generating Smaller Patches
===============================

The simplest way to generate a patch is to use 'diff -Naur' (*note Tips
for Patch Producers::), but you might be able to reduce the size of the
patch by renaming or removing some files before making the patch.  If
the older version of the package contains any files that the newer
version does not, or if any files have been renamed between the two
versions, make a list of 'rm' and 'mv' commands for the user to execute
in the old version directory before applying the patch.  Then run those
commands yourself in the scratch directory.

   If there are any files that you don't need to include in the patch
because they can easily be rebuilt from other files (for example, 'TAGS'
and output from 'yacc' and 'makeinfo'), exclude them from the patch by
giving 'diff' the '-x PATTERN' option (*note Comparing Directories::).
If you want your patch to modify a derived file because your recipients
lack tools to build it, make sure that the patch for the derived file
follows any patches for files that it depends on, so that the
recipients' timestamps will not confuse 'make'.

   Now you can create the patch using 'diff -Naur'.  Make sure to
specify the scratch directory first and the newer directory second.

   Add to the top of the patch a note telling the user any 'rm' and 'mv'
commands to run before applying the patch.  Then you can remove the
scratch directory.

   You can also shrink the patch size by using fewer lines of context,
but bear in mind that 'patch' typically needs at least two lines for
proper operation when patches do not exactly match the input files.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Invoking cmp,  Next: Invoking diff,  Prev: Making Patches,  Up: Top

12 Invoking 'cmp'
*****************

The 'cmp' command compares two files, and if they differ, tells the
first byte and line number where they differ or reports that one file is
a prefix of the other.  Bytes and lines are numbered starting with 1.
The arguments of 'cmp' are as follows:

     cmp OPTIONS... FROM-FILE [TO-FILE [FROM-SKIP [TO-SKIP]]]

   The file name '-' is always the standard input.  'cmp' also uses the
standard input if one file name is omitted.  The FROM-SKIP and TO-SKIP
operands specify how many bytes to ignore at the start of each file;
they are equivalent to the '--ignore-initial=FROM-SKIP:TO-SKIP' option.

   By default, 'cmp' outputs nothing if the two files have the same
contents.  If the two files have bytes that differ, 'cmp' reports the
location of the first difference to standard output:

     FROM-FILE TO-FILE differ: char BYTE-NUMBER, line LINE-NUMBER

If one file is a prefix of the other, 'cmp' reports the shorter file's
name to standard error, followed by a blank and extra information about
the shorter file:

     cmp: EOF on SHORTER-FILE EXTRA-INFO

   The message formats can differ outside the POSIX locale.  POSIX
allows but does not require the EOF diagnostic's file name to be
followed by a blank and additional information.

   An exit status of 0 means no differences were found, 1 means some
differences were found, and 2 means trouble.

* Menu:

* cmp Options:: Summary of options to 'cmp'.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: cmp Options,  Up: Invoking cmp

12.1 Options to 'cmp'
=====================

Below is a summary of all of the options that GNU 'cmp' accepts.  Most
options have two equivalent names, one of which is a single letter
preceded by '-', and the other of which is a long name preceded by '--'.
Multiple single letter options (unless they take an argument) can be
combined into a single command line word: '-bl' is equivalent to '-b
-l'.

'-b'
'--print-bytes'
     Print the differing bytes.  Display control bytes as a '^' followed
     by a letter of the alphabet and precede bytes that have the high
     bit set with 'M-' (which stands for "meta").

'--help'
     Output a summary of usage and then exit.

'-i SKIP'
'--ignore-initial=SKIP'
     Ignore any differences in the first SKIP bytes of the input files.
     Treat files with fewer than SKIP bytes as if they are empty.  If
     SKIP is of the form 'FROM-SKIP:TO-SKIP', skip the first FROM-SKIP
     bytes of the first input file and the first TO-SKIP bytes of the
     second.

'-l'
'--verbose'
     Output the (decimal) byte numbers and (octal) values of all
     differing bytes, instead of the default standard output.  Each
     output line contains a differing byte's number relative to the
     start of the input, followed by the differing byte values.  Byte
     numbers start at 1.  Also, output the EOF message if one file is
     shorter than the other.

'-n COUNT'
'--bytes=COUNT'
     Compare at most COUNT input bytes.

'-s'
'--quiet'
'--silent'
     Do not print anything; only return an exit status indicating
     whether the files differ.

'-v'
'--version'
     Output version information and then exit.

   In the above table, operands that are byte counts are normally
decimal, but may be preceded by '0' for octal and '0x' for hexadecimal.

   A byte count can be followed by a suffix to specify a multiple of
that count; in this case an omitted integer is understood to be 1.  A
bare size letter, or one followed by 'iB', specifies a multiple using
powers of 1024.  A size letter followed by 'B' specifies powers of 1000
instead.  For example, '-n 4M' and '-n 4MiB' are equivalent to '-n
4194304', whereas '-n 4MB' is equivalent to '-n 4000000'.  This notation
is upward compatible with the SI prefixes
(http://www.bipm.fr/enus/3_SI/si-prefixes.html) for decimal multiples
and with the IEC 60027-2 prefixes for binary multiples
(http://physics.nist.gov/cuu/Units/binary.html).

   The following suffixes are defined.  Large sizes like '1Y' may be
rejected by your computer due to limitations of its arithmetic.

'kB'
     kilobyte: 10^3 = 1000.
'k'
'K'
'KiB'
     kibibyte: 2^10 = 1024.  'K' is special: the SI prefix is 'k' and
     the IEC 60027-2 prefix is 'Ki', but tradition and POSIX use 'k' to
     mean 'KiB'.
'MB'
     megabyte: 10^6 = 1,000,000.
'M'
'MiB'
     mebibyte: 2^20 = 1,048,576.
'GB'
     gigabyte: 10^9 = 1,000,000,000.
'G'
'GiB'
     gibibyte: 2^30 = 1,073,741,824.
'TB'
     terabyte: 10^12 = 1,000,000,000,000.
'T'
'TiB'
     tebibyte: 2^40 = 1,099,511,627,776.
'PB'
     petabyte: 10^15 = 1,000,000,000,000,000.
'P'
'PiB'
     pebibyte: 2^50 = 1,125,899,906,842,624.
'EB'
     exabyte: 10^18 = 1,000,000,000,000,000,000.
'E'
'EiB'
     exbibyte: 2^60 = 1,152,921,504,606,846,976.
'ZB'
     zettabyte: 10^21 = 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
'Z'
'ZiB'
     2^70 = 1,180,591,620,717,411,303,424.  ('Zi' is a GNU extension to
     IEC 60027-2.)
'YB'
     yottabyte: 10^24 = 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.
'Y'
'YiB'
     2^80 = 1,208,925,819,614,629,174,706,176.  ('Yi' is a GNU extension
     to IEC 60027-2.)

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Invoking diff,  Next: Invoking diff3,  Prev: Invoking cmp,  Up: Top

13 Invoking 'diff'
******************

The format for running the 'diff' command is:

     diff OPTIONS... FILES...

   In the simplest case, two file names FROM-FILE and TO-FILE are given,
and 'diff' compares the contents of FROM-FILE and TO-FILE.  A file name
of '-' stands for the standard input.

   If one file is a directory and the other is not, 'diff' compares the
file in the directory whose name is that of the non-directory.  The
non-directory file must not be '-'.

   If two file names are given and both are directories, 'diff' compares
corresponding files in both directories, in alphabetical order; this
comparison is not recursive unless the '--recursive' ('-r') option is
given.  'diff' never compares the actual contents of a directory as if
it were a file.  The file that is fully specified may not be standard
input, because standard input is nameless and the notion of "file with
the same name" does not apply.

   If the '--from-file=FILE' option is given, the number of file names
is arbitrary, and FILE is compared to each named file.  Similarly, if
the '--to-file=FILE' option is given, each named file is compared to
FILE.

   'diff' options begin with '-', so normally file names may not begin
with '-'.  However, '--' as an argument by itself treats the remaining
arguments as file names even if they begin with '-'.

   An exit status of 0 means no differences were found, 1 means some
differences were found, and 2 means trouble.

* Menu:

* diff Options:: Summary of options to 'diff'.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: diff Options,  Up: Invoking diff

13.1 Options to 'diff'
======================

Below is a summary of all of the options that GNU 'diff' accepts.  Most
options have two equivalent names, one of which is a single letter
preceded by '-', and the other of which is a long name preceded by '--'.
Multiple single letter options (unless they take an argument) can be
combined into a single command line word: '-ac' is equivalent to '-a
-c'.  Long named options can be abbreviated to any unique prefix of
their name.  Brackets ([ and ]) indicate that an option takes an
optional argument.

'-a'
'--text'
     Treat all files as text and compare them line-by-line, even if they
     do not seem to be text.  *Note Binary::.

'-b'
'--ignore-space-change'
     Ignore changes in amount of white space.  *Note White Space::.

'-B'
'--ignore-blank-lines'
     Ignore changes that just insert or delete blank lines.  *Note Blank
     Lines::.

'--binary'
     Read and write data in binary mode.  *Note Binary::.

'-c'
     Use the context output format, showing three lines of context.
     *Note Context Format::.

'--color [=WHEN]'
     Specify whether to use color for distinguishing different contexts,
     like header, added or removed lines.  WHEN may be omitted, or one
     of:
        * none Do not use color at all.  This is the default when no
          -color option is specified.
        * auto Use color only if standard output is a terminal.
        * always Always use color.
     Specifying '--color' and no WHEN is equivalent to '--color=auto'.

'-C LINES'
'--context[=LINES]'
     Use the context output format, showing LINES (an integer) lines of
     context, or three if LINES is not given.  *Note Context Format::.
     For proper operation, 'patch' typically needs at least two lines of
     context.

     For compatibility 'diff' also supports an obsolete option syntax
     '-LINES' that has effect when combined with '-c', '-p', or '-u'.
     New scripts should use '-U LINES' ('-C LINES') instead.

'--changed-group-format=FORMAT'
     Use FORMAT to output a line group containing differing lines from
     both files in if-then-else format.  *Note Line Group Formats::.

'-d'
'--minimal'
     Change the algorithm perhaps find a smaller set of changes.  This
     makes 'diff' slower (sometimes much slower).  *Note diff
     Performance::.

'-D NAME'
'--ifdef=NAME'
     Make merged '#ifdef' format output, conditional on the preprocessor
     macro NAME.  *Note If-then-else::.

'-e'
'--ed'
     Make output that is a valid 'ed' script.  *Note ed Scripts::.

'-E'
'--ignore-tab-expansion'
     Ignore changes due to tab expansion.  *Note White Space::.

'-f'
'--forward-ed'
     Make output that looks vaguely like an 'ed' script but has changes
     in the order they appear in the file.  *Note Forward ed::.

'-F REGEXP'
'--show-function-line=REGEXP'
     In context and unified format, for each hunk of differences, show
     some of the last preceding line that matches REGEXP.  *Note
     Specified Headings::.

'--from-file=FILE'
     Compare FILE to each operand; FILE may be a directory.

'--help'
     Output a summary of usage and then exit.

'--horizon-lines=LINES'
     Do not discard the last LINES lines of the common prefix and the
     first LINES lines of the common suffix.  *Note diff Performance::.

'-i'
'--ignore-case'
     Ignore changes in case; consider upper- and lower-case letters
     equivalent.  *Note Case Folding::.

'-I REGEXP'
'--ignore-matching-lines=REGEXP'
     Ignore changes that just insert or delete lines that match REGEXP.
     *Note Specified Lines::.

'--ignore-file-name-case'
     Ignore case when comparing file names.  For example, recursive
     comparison of 'd' to 'e' might compare the contents of 'd/Init' and
     'e/inIt'.  At the top level, 'diff d inIt' might compare the
     contents of 'd/Init' and 'inIt'.  *Note Comparing Directories::.

'-l'
'--paginate'
     Pass the output through 'pr' to paginate it.  *Note Pagination::.

'-L LABEL'
'--label=LABEL'
     Use LABEL instead of the file name in the context format (*note
     Context Format::) and unified format (*note Unified Format::)
     headers.  *Note RCS::.

'--left-column'
     Print only the left column of two common lines in side by side
     format.  *Note Side by Side Format::.

'--line-format=FORMAT'
     Use FORMAT to output all input lines in if-then-else format.  *Note
     Line Formats::.

'-n'
'--rcs'
     Output RCS-format diffs; like '-f' except that each command
     specifies the number of lines affected.  *Note RCS::.

'-N'
'--new-file'
     If one file is missing, treat it as present but empty.  *Note
     Comparing Directories::.

'--new-group-format=FORMAT'
     Use FORMAT to output a group of lines taken from just the second
     file in if-then-else format.  *Note Line Group Formats::.

'--new-line-format=FORMAT'
     Use FORMAT to output a line taken from just the second file in
     if-then-else format.  *Note Line Formats::.

'--no-dereference'
     Act on symbolic links themselves instead of what they point to.
     Two symbolic links are deemed equal only when each points to
     precisely the same name.

'--old-group-format=FORMAT'
     Use FORMAT to output a group of lines taken from just the first
     file in if-then-else format.  *Note Line Group Formats::.

'--old-line-format=FORMAT'
     Use FORMAT to output a line taken from just the first file in
     if-then-else format.  *Note Line Formats::.

'-p'
'--show-c-function'
     Show which C function each change is in.  *Note C Function
     Headings::.

'--palette=PALETTE'
     Specify what color palette to use when colored output is enabled.
     It defaults to 'rs=0:hd=1:ad=32:de=31:ln=36' for red deleted lines,
     green added lines, cyan line numbers, bold header.

     Supported capabilities are as follows.

     'ad=32'

          SGR substring for added lines.  The default is green
          foreground.

     'de=31'

          SGR substring for deleted lines.  The default is red
          foreground.

     'hd=1'

          SGR substring for chunk header.  The default is bold
          foreground.

     'ln=36'

          SGR substring for line numbers.  The default is cyan
          foreground.

'-q'
'--brief'
     Report only whether the files differ, not the details of the
     differences.  *Note Brief::.

'-r'
'--recursive'
     When comparing directories, recursively compare any subdirectories
     found.  *Note Comparing Directories::.

'-s'
'--report-identical-files'
     Report when two files are the same.  *Note Comparing Directories::.

'-S FILE'
'--starting-file=FILE'
     When comparing directories, start with the file FILE.  This is used
     for resuming an aborted comparison.  *Note Comparing Directories::.

'--speed-large-files'
     Use heuristics to speed handling of large files that have numerous
     scattered small changes.  *Note diff Performance::.

'--strip-trailing-cr'
     Strip any trailing carriage return at the end of an input line.
     *Note Binary::.

'--suppress-common-lines'
     Do not print common lines in side by side format.  *Note Side by
     Side Format::.

'-t'
'--expand-tabs'
     Expand tabs to spaces in the output, to preserve the alignment of
     tabs in the input files.  *Note Tabs::.

'-T'
'--initial-tab'
     Output a tab rather than a space before the text of a line in
     normal or context format.  This causes the alignment of tabs in the
     line to look normal.  *Note Tabs::.

'--tabsize=COLUMNS'
     Assume that tab stops are set every COLUMNS (default 8) print
     columns.  *Note Tabs::.

'--suppress-blank-empty'
     Suppress any blanks before newlines when printing the
     representation of an empty line, when outputting normal, context,
     or unified format.  *Note Trailing Blanks::.

'--to-file=FILE'
     Compare each operand to FILE; FILE may be a directory.

'-u'
     Use the unified output format, showing three lines of context.
     *Note Unified Format::.

'--unchanged-group-format=FORMAT'
     Use FORMAT to output a group of common lines taken from both files
     in if-then-else format.  *Note Line Group Formats::.

'--unchanged-line-format=FORMAT'
     Use FORMAT to output a line common to both files in if-then-else
     format.  *Note Line Formats::.

'--unidirectional-new-file'
     If a first file is missing, treat it as present but empty.  *Note
     Comparing Directories::.

'-U LINES'
'--unified[=LINES]'
     Use the unified output format, showing LINES (an integer) lines of
     context, or three if LINES is not given.  *Note Unified Format::.
     For proper operation, 'patch' typically needs at least two lines of
     context.

     On older systems, 'diff' supports an obsolete option '-LINES' that
     has effect when combined with '-u'.  POSIX 1003.1-2001 (*note
     Standards conformance::) does not allow this; use '-U LINES'
     instead.

'-v'
'--version'
     Output version information and then exit.

'-w'
'--ignore-all-space'
     Ignore white space when comparing lines.  *Note White Space::.

'-W COLUMNS'
'--width=COLUMNS'
     Output at most COLUMNS (default 130) print columns per line in side
     by side format.  *Note Side by Side Format::.

'-x PATTERN'
'--exclude=PATTERN'
     When comparing directories, ignore files and subdirectories whose
     basenames match PATTERN.  *Note Comparing Directories::.

'-X FILE'
'--exclude-from=FILE'
     When comparing directories, ignore files and subdirectories whose
     basenames match any pattern contained in FILE.  *Note Comparing
     Directories::.

'-y'
'--side-by-side'
     Use the side by side output format.  *Note Side by Side Format::.

'-Z'
'--ignore-trailing-space'
     Ignore white space at line end.  *Note White Space::.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Invoking diff3,  Next: Invoking patch,  Prev: Invoking diff,  Up: Top

14 Invoking 'diff3'
*******************

The 'diff3' command compares three files and outputs descriptions of
their differences.  Its arguments are as follows:

     diff3 OPTIONS... MINE OLDER YOURS

   The files to compare are MINE, OLDER, and YOURS.  At most one of
these three file names may be '-', which tells 'diff3' to read the
standard input for that file.

   An exit status of 0 means 'diff3' was successful, 1 means some
conflicts were found, and 2 means trouble.

* Menu:

* diff3 Options:: Summary of options to 'diff3'.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: diff3 Options,  Up: Invoking diff3

14.1 Options to 'diff3'
=======================

Below is a summary of all of the options that GNU 'diff3' accepts.
Multiple single letter options (unless they take an argument) can be
combined into a single command line argument.

'-a'
'--text'
     Treat all files as text and compare them line-by-line, even if they
     do not appear to be text.  *Note Binary::.

'-A'
'--show-all'
     Incorporate all unmerged changes from OLDER to YOURS into MINE,
     surrounding conflicts with bracket lines.  *Note Marking
     Conflicts::.

'--diff-program=PROGRAM'
     Use the compatible comparison program PROGRAM to compare files
     instead of 'diff'.

'-e'
'--ed'
     Generate an 'ed' script that incorporates all the changes from
     OLDER to YOURS into MINE.  *Note Which Changes::.

'-E'
'--show-overlap'
     Like '-e', except bracket lines from overlapping changes' first and
     third files.  *Note Marking Conflicts::.  With '-E', an overlapping
     change looks like this:

          <<<<<<< MINE
          lines from MINE
          =======
          lines from YOURS
          >>>>>>> YOURS

'--help'
     Output a summary of usage and then exit.

'-i'
     Generate 'w' and 'q' commands at the end of the 'ed' script for
     System V compatibility.  This option must be combined with one of
     the '-AeExX3' options, and may not be combined with '-m'.  *Note
     Saving the Changed File::.

'--label=LABEL'
     Use the label LABEL for the brackets output by the '-A', '-E' and
     '-X' options.  This option may be given up to three times, one for
     each input file.  The default labels are the names of the input
     files.  Thus 'diff3 --label X --label Y --label Z -m A B C' acts
     like 'diff3 -m A B C', except that the output looks like it came
     from files named 'X', 'Y' and 'Z' rather than from files named 'A',
     'B' and 'C'.  *Note Marking Conflicts::.

'-m'
'--merge'
     Apply the edit script to the first file and send the result to
     standard output.  Unlike piping the output from 'diff3' to 'ed',
     this works even for binary files and incomplete lines.  '-A' is
     assumed if no edit script option is specified.  *Note Bypassing
     ed::.

'--strip-trailing-cr'
     Strip any trailing carriage return at the end of an input line.
     *Note Binary::.

'-T'
'--initial-tab'
     Output a tab rather than two spaces before the text of a line in
     normal format.  This causes the alignment of tabs in the line to
     look normal.  *Note Tabs::.

'-v'
'--version'
     Output version information and then exit.

'-x'
'--overlap-only'
     Like '-e', except output only the overlapping changes.  *Note Which
     Changes::.

'-X'
     Like '-E', except output only the overlapping changes.  In other
     words, like '-x', except bracket changes as in '-E'.  *Note Marking
     Conflicts::.

'-3'
'--easy-only'
     Like '-e', except output only the nonoverlapping changes.  *Note
     Which Changes::.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Invoking patch,  Next: Invoking sdiff,  Prev: Invoking diff3,  Up: Top

15 Invoking 'patch'
*******************

Normally 'patch' is invoked like this:

     patch <PATCHFILE

   The full format for invoking 'patch' is:

     patch OPTIONS... [ORIGFILE [PATCHFILE]]

   You can also specify where to read the patch from with the '-i
PATCHFILE' or '--input=PATCHFILE' option.  If you do not specify
PATCHFILE, or if PATCHFILE is '-', 'patch' reads the patch (that is, the
'diff' output) from the standard input.

   If you do not specify an input file on the command line, 'patch'
tries to intuit from the "leading text" (any text in the patch that
comes before the 'diff' output) which file to edit.  *Note Multiple
Patches::.

   By default, 'patch' replaces the original input file with the patched
version, possibly after renaming the original file into a backup file
(*note Backup Names::, for a description of how 'patch' names backup
files).  You can also specify where to put the output with the '-o FILE'
or '--output=FILE' option; however, do not use this option if FILE is
one of the input files.

* Menu:

* patch Options::     Summary table of options to 'patch'.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: patch Options,  Up: Invoking patch

15.1 Options to 'patch'
=======================

Here is a summary of all of the options that GNU 'patch' accepts.  *Note
patch and Tradition::, for which of these options are safe to use in
older versions of 'patch'.

   Multiple single-letter options that do not take an argument can be
combined into a single command line argument with only one dash.

'-b'
'--backup'
     Back up the original contents of each file, even if backups would
     normally not be made.  *Note Backups::.

'-B PREFIX'
'--prefix=PREFIX'
     Prepend PREFIX to backup file names.  *Note Backup Names::.

'--backup-if-mismatch'
     Back up the original contents of each file if the patch does not
     exactly match the file.  This is the default behavior when not
     conforming to POSIX. *Note Backups::.

'--binary'
     Read and write all files in binary mode, except for standard output
     and '/dev/tty'.  This option has no effect on POSIX-conforming
     systems like GNU/Linux.  On systems where this option makes a
     difference, the patch should be generated by 'diff -a --binary'.
     *Note Binary::.

'-c'
'--context'
     Interpret the patch file as a context diff.  *Note patch Input::.

'-d DIRECTORY'
'--directory=DIRECTORY'
     Make directory DIRECTORY the current directory for interpreting
     both file names in the patch file, and file names given as
     arguments to other options.  *Note patch Directories::.

'-D NAME'
'--ifdef=NAME'
     Make merged if-then-else output using NAME.  *Note If-then-else::.

'--dry-run'
     Print the results of applying the patches without actually changing
     any files.  *Note Dry Runs::.

'-e'
'--ed'
     Interpret the patch file as an 'ed' script.  *Note patch Input::.

'-E'
'--remove-empty-files'
     Remove output files that are empty after the patches have been
     applied.  *Note Creating and Removing::.

'-f'
'--force'
     Assume that the user knows exactly what he or she is doing, and do
     not ask any questions.  *Note patch Messages::.

'-F LINES'
'--fuzz=LINES'
     Set the maximum fuzz factor to LINES.  *Note Inexact::.

'-g NUM'
'--get=NUM'
     If NUM is positive, get input files from a revision control system
     as necessary; if zero, do not get the files; if negative, ask the
     user whether to get the files.  *Note Revision Control::.

'--help'
     Output a summary of usage and then exit.

'-i PATCHFILE'
'--input=PATCHFILE'
     Read the patch from PATCHFILE rather than from standard input.
     *Note patch Options::.

'-l'
'--ignore-white-space'
     Let any sequence of blanks (spaces or tabs) in the patch file match
     any sequence of blanks in the input file.  *Note Changed White
     Space::.

'-n'
'--normal'
     Interpret the patch file as a normal diff.  *Note patch Input::.

'-N'
'--forward'
     Ignore patches that 'patch' thinks are reversed or already applied.
     See also '-R'.  *Note Reversed Patches::.

'--no-backup-if-mismatch'
     Do not back up the original contents of files.  This is the default
     behavior when conforming to POSIX. *Note Backups::.

'-o FILE'
'--output=FILE'
     Use FILE as the output file name.  *Note patch Options::.

'-pNUMBER'
'--strip=NUMBER'
     Set the file name strip count to NUMBER.  *Note patch
     Directories::.

'--posix'
     Conform to POSIX, as if the 'POSIXLY_CORRECT' environment variable
     had been set.  *Note patch and POSIX::.

'--quoting-style=WORD'
     Use style WORD to quote names in diagnostics, as if the
     'QUOTING_STYLE' environment variable had been set to WORD.  *Note
     patch Quoting Style::.

'-r REJECT-FILE'
'--reject-file=REJECT-FILE'
     Use REJECT-FILE as the reject file name.  *Note Reject Names::.

'-R'
'--reverse'
     Assume that this patch was created with the old and new files
     swapped.  *Note Reversed Patches::.

'-s'
'--quiet'
'--silent'
     Work silently unless an error occurs.  *Note patch Messages::.

'-t'
'--batch'
     Do not ask any questions.  *Note patch Messages::.

'-T'
'--set-time'
     Set the modification and access times of patched files from
     timestamps given in context diff headers, assuming that the context
     diff headers use local time.  *Note Patching Timestamps::.

'-u'
'--unified'
     Interpret the patch file as a unified diff.  *Note patch Input::.

'-v'
'--version'
     Output version information and then exit.

'-V BACKUP-STYLE'
'--version=control=BACKUP-STYLE'
     Select the naming convention for backup file names.  *Note Backup
     Names::.

'--verbose'
     Print more diagnostics than usual.  *Note patch Messages::.

'-x NUMBER'
'--debug=NUMBER'
     Set internal debugging flags.  Of interest only to 'patch'
     patchers.

'-Y PREFIX'
'--basename-prefix=PREFIX'
     Prepend PREFIX to base names of backup files.  *Note Backup
     Names::.

'-z SUFFIX'
'--suffix=SUFFIX'
     Use SUFFIX as the backup extension instead of '.orig' or '~'.
     *Note Backup Names::.

'-Z'
'--set-utc'
     Set the modification and access times of patched files from
     timestamps given in context diff headers, assuming that the context
     diff headers use UTC. *Note Patching Timestamps::.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Invoking sdiff,  Next: Standards conformance,  Prev: Invoking patch,  Up: Top

16 Invoking 'sdiff'
*******************

The 'sdiff' command merges two files and interactively outputs the
results.  Its arguments are as follows:

     sdiff -o OUTFILE OPTIONS... FROM-FILE TO-FILE

   This merges FROM-FILE with TO-FILE, with output to OUTFILE.  If
FROM-FILE is a directory and TO-FILE is not, 'sdiff' compares the file
in FROM-FILE whose file name is that of TO-FILE, and vice versa.
FROM-FILE and TO-FILE may not both be directories.

   'sdiff' options begin with '-', so normally FROM-FILE and TO-FILE may
not begin with '-'.  However, '--' as an argument by itself treats the
remaining arguments as file names even if they begin with '-'.  You may
not use '-' as an input file.

   'sdiff' without '--output' ('-o') produces a side-by-side difference.
This usage is obsolete; use the '--side-by-side' ('-y') option of 'diff'
instead.

   An exit status of 0 means no differences were found, 1 means some
differences were found, and 2 means trouble.

* Menu:

* sdiff Options:: Summary of options to 'diff'.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: sdiff Options,  Up: Invoking sdiff

16.1 Options to 'sdiff'
=======================

Below is a summary of all of the options that GNU 'sdiff' accepts.  Each
option has two equivalent names, one of which is a single letter
preceded by '-', and the other of which is a long name preceded by '--'.
Multiple single letter options (unless they take an argument) can be
combined into a single command line argument.  Long named options can be
abbreviated to any unique prefix of their name.

'-a'
'--text'
     Treat all files as text and compare them line-by-line, even if they
     do not appear to be text.  *Note Binary::.

'-b'
'--ignore-space-change'
     Ignore changes in amount of white space.  *Note White Space::.

'-B'
'--ignore-blank-lines'
     Ignore changes that just insert or delete blank lines.  *Note Blank
     Lines::.

'-d'
'--minimal'
     Change the algorithm to perhaps find a smaller set of changes.
     This makes 'sdiff' slower (sometimes much slower).  *Note diff
     Performance::.

'--diff-program=PROGRAM'
     Use the compatible comparison program PROGRAM to compare files
     instead of 'diff'.

'-E'
'--ignore-tab-expansion'
     Ignore changes due to tab expansion.  *Note White Space::.

'--help'
     Output a summary of usage and then exit.

'-i'
'--ignore-case'
     Ignore changes in case; consider upper- and lower-case to be the
     same.  *Note Case Folding::.

'-I REGEXP'
'--ignore-matching-lines=REGEXP'
     Ignore changes that just insert or delete lines that match REGEXP.
     *Note Specified Lines::.

'-l'
'--left-column'
     Print only the left column of two common lines.  *Note Side by Side
     Format::.

'-o FILE'
'--output=FILE'
     Put merged output into FILE.  This option is required for merging.

'-s'
'--suppress-common-lines'
     Do not print common lines.  *Note Side by Side Format::.

'--speed-large-files'
     Use heuristics to speed handling of large files that have numerous
     scattered small changes.  *Note diff Performance::.

'--strip-trailing-cr'
     Strip any trailing carriage return at the end of an input line.
     *Note Binary::.

'-t'
'--expand-tabs'
     Expand tabs to spaces in the output, to preserve the alignment of
     tabs in the input files.  *Note Tabs::.

'--tabsize=COLUMNS'
     Assume that tab stops are set every COLUMNS (default 8) print
     columns.  *Note Tabs::.

'-v'
'--version'
     Output version information and then exit.

'-w COLUMNS'
'--width=COLUMNS'
     Output at most COLUMNS (default 130) print columns per line.  *Note
     Side by Side Format::.  Note that for historical reasons, this
     option is '-W' in 'diff', '-w' in 'sdiff'.

'-W'
'--ignore-all-space'
     Ignore white space when comparing lines.  *Note White Space::.
     Note that for historical reasons, this option is '-w' in 'diff',
     '-W' in 'sdiff'.

'-Z'
'--ignore-trailing-space'
     Ignore white space at line end.  *Note White Space::.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Standards conformance,  Next: Projects,  Prev: Invoking sdiff,  Up: Top

17 Standards conformance
************************

In a few cases, the GNU utilities' default behavior is incompatible with
the POSIX standard.  To suppress these incompatibilities, define the
'POSIXLY_CORRECT' environment variable.  Unless you are checking for
POSIX conformance, you probably do not need to define 'POSIXLY_CORRECT'.

   Normally options and operands can appear in any order, and programs
act as if all the options appear before any operands.  For example,
'diff lao tzu -C 2' acts like 'diff -C 2 lao tzu', since '2' is an
option-argument of '-C'.  However, if the 'POSIXLY_CORRECT' environment
variable is set, options must appear before operands, unless otherwise
specified for a particular command.

   Newer versions of POSIX are occasionally incompatible with older
versions.  For example, older versions of POSIX allowed the command
'diff -c -10' to have the same meaning as 'diff -C 10', but POSIX
1003.1-2001 'diff' no longer allows digit-string options like '-10'.

   The GNU utilities normally conform to the version of POSIX that is
standard for your system.  To cause them to conform to a different
version of POSIX, define the '_POSIX2_VERSION' environment variable to a
value of the form YYYYMM specifying the year and month the standard was
adopted.  Two values are currently supported for '_POSIX2_VERSION':
'199209' stands for POSIX 1003.2-1992, and '200112' stands for POSIX
1003.1-2001.  For example, if you are running older software that
assumes an older version of POSIX and uses 'diff -c -10', you can work
around the compatibility problems by setting '_POSIX2_VERSION=199209' in
your environment.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Projects,  Next: Copying This Manual,  Prev: Standards conformance,  Up: Top

18 Future Projects
******************

Here are some ideas for improving GNU 'diff' and 'patch'.  The GNU
project has identified some improvements as potential programming
projects for volunteers.  You can also help by reporting any bugs that
you find.

   If you are a programmer and would like to contribute something to the
GNU project, please consider volunteering for one of these projects.  If
you are seriously contemplating work, please write to <gvc AT gnu.org> to
coordinate with other volunteers.

* Menu:

* Shortcomings:: Suggested projects for improvements.
* Bugs::         Reporting bugs.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Shortcomings,  Next: Bugs,  Up: Projects

18.1 Suggested Projects for Improving GNU 'diff' and 'patch'
============================================================

One should be able to use GNU 'diff' to generate a patch from any pair
of directory trees, and given the patch and a copy of one such tree, use
'patch' to generate a faithful copy of the other.  Unfortunately, some
changes to directory trees cannot be expressed using current patch
formats; also, 'patch' does not handle some of the existing formats.
These shortcomings motivate the following suggested projects.

* Menu:

* Internationalization:: Handling multibyte and varying-width characters.
* Changing Structure::   Handling changes to the directory structure.
* Special Files::        Handling symbolic links, device special files, etc.
* Unusual File Names::   Handling file names that contain unusual characters.
* Timestamp Order::     Outputting diffs in timestamp order.
* Ignoring Changes::     Ignoring certain changes while showing others.
* Speedups::             Improving performance.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Internationalization,  Next: Changing Structure,  Up: Shortcomings

18.1.1 Handling Multibyte and Varying-Width Characters
------------------------------------------------------

'diff', 'diff3' and 'sdiff' treat each line of input as a string of
unibyte characters.  This can mishandle multibyte characters in some
cases.  For example, when asked to ignore spaces, 'diff' does not
properly ignore a multibyte space character.

   Also, 'diff' currently assumes that each byte is one column wide, and
this assumption is incorrect in some locales, e.g., locales that use
UTF-8 encoding.  This causes problems with the '-y' or '--side-by-side'
option of 'diff'.

   These problems need to be fixed without unduly affecting the
performance of the utilities in unibyte environments.

   The IBM GNU/Linux Technology Center Internationalization Team has
proposed patches to support internationalized 'diff'
(http://oss.software.ibm.com/developer/opensource/linux/patches/i18n/diffutils-2.7.2-i18n-0.1.patch.gz).
Unfortunately, these patches are incomplete and are to an older version
of 'diff', so more work needs to be done in this area.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Changing Structure,  Next: Special Files,  Prev: Internationalization,  Up: Shortcomings

18.1.2 Handling Changes to the Directory Structure
--------------------------------------------------

'diff' and 'patch' do not handle some changes to directory structure.
For example, suppose one directory tree contains a directory named 'D'
with some subsidiary files, and another contains a file with the same
name 'D'.  'diff -r' does not output enough information for 'patch' to
transform the directory subtree into the file.

   There should be a way to specify that a file has been removed without
having to include its entire contents in the patch file.  There should
also be a way to tell 'patch' that a file was renamed, even if there is
no way for 'diff' to generate such information.  There should be a way
to tell 'patch' that a file's timestamp has changed, even if its
contents have not changed.

   These problems can be fixed by extending the 'diff' output format to
represent changes in directory structure, and extending 'patch' to
understand these extensions.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Special Files,  Next: Unusual File Names,  Prev: Changing Structure,  Up: Shortcomings

18.1.3 Files that are Neither Directories Nor Regular Files
-----------------------------------------------------------

Some files are neither directories nor regular files: they are unusual
files like symbolic links, device special files, named pipes, and
sockets.  Currently, 'diff' treats symbolic links as if they were the
pointed-to files, except that a recursive 'diff' reports an error if it
detects infinite loops of symbolic links (e.g., symbolic links to '..').
'diff' treats other special files like regular files if they are
specified at the top level, but simply reports their presence when
comparing directories.  This means that 'patch' cannot represent changes
to such files.  For example, if you change which file a symbolic link
points to, 'diff' outputs the difference between the two files, instead
of the change to the symbolic link.

   'diff' should optionally report changes to special files specially,
and 'patch' should be extended to understand these extensions.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Unusual File Names,  Next: Timestamp Order,  Prev: Special Files,  Up: Shortcomings

18.1.4 File Names that Contain Unusual Characters
-------------------------------------------------

When a file name contains an unusual character like a newline or white
space, 'diff -r' generates a patch that 'patch' cannot parse.  The
problem is with format of 'diff' output, not just with 'patch', because
with odd enough file names one can cause 'diff' to generate a patch that
is syntactically correct but patches the wrong files.  The format of
'diff' output should be extended to handle all possible file names.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Timestamp Order,  Next: Ignoring Changes,  Prev: Unusual File Names,  Up: Shortcomings

18.1.5 Outputting Diffs in Timestamp Order
------------------------------------------

Applying 'patch' to a multiple-file diff can result in files whose
timestamps are out of order.  GNU 'patch' has options to restore the
timestamps of the updated files (*note Patching Timestamps::), but
sometimes it is useful to generate a patch that works even if the
recipient does not have GNU patch, or does not use these options.  One
way to do this would be to implement a 'diff' option to output diffs in
timestamp order.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Ignoring Changes,  Next: Speedups,  Prev: Timestamp Order,  Up: Shortcomings

18.1.6 Ignoring Certain Changes
-------------------------------

It would be nice to have a feature for specifying two strings, one in
FROM-FILE and one in TO-FILE, which should be considered to match.
Thus, if the two strings are 'foo' and 'bar', then if two lines differ
only in that 'foo' in file 1 corresponds to 'bar' in file 2, the lines
are treated as identical.

   It is not clear how general this feature can or should be, or what
syntax should be used for it.

   A partial substitute is to filter one or both files before comparing,
e.g.:

     sed 's/foo/bar/g' file1 | diff - file2

   However, this outputs the filtered text, not the original.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Speedups,  Prev: Ignoring Changes,  Up: Shortcomings

18.1.7 Improving Performance
----------------------------

When comparing two large directory structures, one of which was
originally copied from the other with timestamps preserved (e.g., with
'cp -pR'), it would greatly improve performance if an option told 'diff'
to assume that two files with the same size and timestamps have the same
content.  *Note diff Performance::.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Bugs,  Prev: Shortcomings,  Up: Projects

18.2 Reporting Bugs
===================

If you think you have found a bug in GNU 'cmp', 'diff', 'diff3', or
'sdiff', please report it by electronic mail to the GNU utilities bug
report mailing list (http://mail.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/bug-diffutils)
<bug-diffutils AT gnu.org>.  Please send bug reports for GNU 'patch' to
<bug-patch AT gnu.org>.  Send as precise a description of the problem as
you can, including the output of the '--version' option and sample input
files that produce the bug, if applicable.  If you have a nontrivial fix
for the bug, please send it as well.  If you have a patch, please send
it too.  It may simplify the maintainer's job if the patch is relative
to a recent test release, which you can find in the directory
<ftp://alpha.gnu.org/gnu/diffutils/>.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Copying This Manual,  Next: Translations,  Prev: Projects,  Up: Top

Appendix A Copying This Manual
******************************

                     Version 1.3, 3 November 2008

     Copyright (C) 2000, 2001, 2002, 2007, 2008 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
     <http://fsf.org/>

     Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies
     of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.

  0. PREAMBLE

     The purpose of this License is to make a manual, textbook, or other
     functional and useful document "free" in the sense of freedom: to
     assure everyone the effective freedom to copy and redistribute it,
     with or without modifying it, either commercially or
     noncommercially.  Secondarily, this License preserves for the
     author and publisher a way to get credit for their work, while not
     being considered responsible for modifications made by others.

     This License is a kind of "copyleft", which means that derivative
     works of the document must themselves be free in the same sense.
     It complements the GNU General Public License, which is a copyleft
     license designed for free software.

     We have designed this License in order to use it for manuals for
     free software, because free software needs free documentation: a
     free program should come with manuals providing the same freedoms
     that the software does.  But this License is not limited to
     software manuals; it can be used for any textual work, regardless
     of subject matter or whether it is published as a printed book.  We
     recommend this License principally for works whose purpose is
     instruction or reference.

  1. APPLICABILITY AND DEFINITIONS

     This License applies to any manual or other work, in any medium,
     that contains a notice placed by the copyright holder saying it can
     be distributed under the terms of this License.  Such a notice
     grants a world-wide, royalty-free license, unlimited in duration,
     to use that work under the conditions stated herein.  The
     "Document", below, refers to any such manual or work.  Any member
     of the public is a licensee, and is addressed as "you".  You accept
     the license if you copy, modify or distribute the work in a way
     requiring permission under copyright law.

     A "Modified Version" of the Document means any work containing the
     Document or a portion of it, either copied verbatim, or with
     modifications and/or translated into another language.

     A "Secondary Section" is a named appendix or a front-matter section
     of the Document that deals exclusively with the relationship of the
     publishers or authors of the Document to the Document's overall
     subject (or to related matters) and contains nothing that could
     fall directly within that overall subject.  (Thus, if the Document
     is in part a textbook of mathematics, a Secondary Section may not
     explain any mathematics.)  The relationship could be a matter of
     historical connection with the subject or with related matters, or
     of legal, commercial, philosophical, ethical or political position
     regarding them.

     The "Invariant Sections" are certain Secondary Sections whose
     titles are designated, as being those of Invariant Sections, in the
     notice that says that the Document is released under this License.
     If a section does not fit the above definition of Secondary then it
     is not allowed to be designated as Invariant.  The Document may
     contain zero Invariant Sections.  If the Document does not identify
     any Invariant Sections then there are none.

     The "Cover Texts" are certain short passages of text that are
     listed, as Front-Cover Texts or Back-Cover Texts, in the notice
     that says that the Document is released under this License.  A
     Front-Cover Text may be at most 5 words, and a Back-Cover Text may
     be at most 25 words.

     A "Transparent" copy of the Document means a machine-readable copy,
     represented in a format whose specification is available to the
     general public, that is suitable for revising the document
     straightforwardly with generic text editors or (for images composed
     of pixels) generic paint programs or (for drawings) some widely
     available drawing editor, and that is suitable for input to text
     formatters or for automatic translation to a variety of formats
     suitable for input to text formatters.  A copy made in an otherwise
     Transparent file format whose markup, or absence of markup, has
     been arranged to thwart or discourage subsequent modification by
     readers is not Transparent.  An image format is not Transparent if
     used for any substantial amount of text.  A copy that is not
     "Transparent" is called "Opaque".

     Examples of suitable formats for Transparent copies include plain
     ASCII without markup, Texinfo input format, LaTeX input format,
     SGML or XML using a publicly available DTD, and standard-conforming
     simple HTML, PostScript or PDF designed for human modification.
     Examples of transparent image formats include PNG, XCF and JPG.
     Opaque formats include proprietary formats that can be read and
     edited only by proprietary word processors, SGML or XML for which
     the DTD and/or processing tools are not generally available, and
     the machine-generated HTML, PostScript or PDF produced by some word
     processors for output purposes only.

     The "Title Page" means, for a printed book, the title page itself,
     plus such following pages as are needed to hold, legibly, the
     material this License requires to appear in the title page.  For
     works in formats which do not have any title page as such, "Title
     Page" means the text near the most prominent appearance of the
     work's title, preceding the beginning of the body of the text.

     The "publisher" means any person or entity that distributes copies
     of the Document to the public.

     A section "Entitled XYZ" means a named subunit of the Document
     whose title either is precisely XYZ or contains XYZ in parentheses
     following text that translates XYZ in another language.  (Here XYZ
     stands for a specific section name mentioned below, such as
     "Acknowledgements", "Dedications", "Endorsements", or "History".)
     To "Preserve the Title" of such a section when you modify the
     Document means that it remains a section "Entitled XYZ" according
     to this definition.

     The Document may include Warranty Disclaimers next to the notice
     which states that this License applies to the Document.  These
     Warranty Disclaimers are considered to be included by reference in
     this License, but only as regards disclaiming warranties: any other
     implication that these Warranty Disclaimers may have is void and
     has no effect on the meaning of this License.

  2. VERBATIM COPYING

     You may copy and distribute the Document in any medium, either
     commercially or noncommercially, provided that this License, the
     copyright notices, and the license notice saying this License
     applies to the Document are reproduced in all copies, and that you
     add no other conditions whatsoever to those of this License.  You
     may not use technical measures to obstruct or control the reading
     or further copying of the copies you make or distribute.  However,
     you may accept compensation in exchange for copies.  If you
     distribute a large enough number of copies you must also follow the
     conditions in section 3.

     You may also lend copies, under the same conditions stated above,
     and you may publicly display copies.

  3. COPYING IN QUANTITY

     If you publish printed copies (or copies in media that commonly
     have printed covers) of the Document, numbering more than 100, and
     the Document's license notice requires Cover Texts, you must
     enclose the copies in covers that carry, clearly and legibly, all
     these Cover Texts: Front-Cover Texts on the front cover, and
     Back-Cover Texts on the back cover.  Both covers must also clearly
     and legibly identify you as the publisher of these copies.  The
     front cover must present the full title with all words of the title
     equally prominent and visible.  You may add other material on the
     covers in addition.  Copying with changes limited to the covers, as
     long as they preserve the title of the Document and satisfy these
     conditions, can be treated as verbatim copying in other respects.

     If the required texts for either cover are too voluminous to fit
     legibly, you should put the first ones listed (as many as fit
     reasonably) on the actual cover, and continue the rest onto
     adjacent pages.

     If you publish or distribute Opaque copies of the Document
     numbering more than 100, you must either include a machine-readable
     Transparent copy along with each Opaque copy, or state in or with
     each Opaque copy a computer-network location from which the general
     network-using public has access to download using public-standard
     network protocols a complete Transparent copy of the Document, free
     of added material.  If you use the latter option, you must take
     reasonably prudent steps, when you begin distribution of Opaque
     copies in quantity, to ensure that this Transparent copy will
     remain thus accessible at the stated location until at least one
     year after the last time you distribute an Opaque copy (directly or
     through your agents or retailers) of that edition to the public.

     It is requested, but not required, that you contact the authors of
     the Document well before redistributing any large number of copies,
     to give them a chance to provide you with an updated version of the
     Document.

  4. MODIFICATIONS

     You may copy and distribute a Modified Version of the Document
     under the conditions of sections 2 and 3 above, provided that you
     release the Modified Version under precisely this License, with the
     Modified Version filling the role of the Document, thus licensing
     distribution and modification of the Modified Version to whoever
     possesses a copy of it.  In addition, you must do these things in
     the Modified Version:

       A. Use in the Title Page (and on the covers, if any) a title
          distinct from that of the Document, and from those of previous
          versions (which should, if there were any, be listed in the
          History section of the Document).  You may use the same title
          as a previous version if the original publisher of that
          version gives permission.

       B. List on the Title Page, as authors, one or more persons or
          entities responsible for authorship of the modifications in
          the Modified Version, together with at least five of the
          principal authors of the Document (all of its principal
          authors, if it has fewer than five), unless they release you
          from this requirement.

       C. State on the Title page the name of the publisher of the
          Modified Version, as the publisher.

       D. Preserve all the copyright notices of the Document.

       E. Add an appropriate copyright notice for your modifications
          adjacent to the other copyright notices.

       F. Include, immediately after the copyright notices, a license
          notice giving the public permission to use the Modified
          Version under the terms of this License, in the form shown in
          the Addendum below.

       G. Preserve in that license notice the full lists of Invariant
          Sections and required Cover Texts given in the Document's
          license notice.

       H. Include an unaltered copy of this License.

       I. Preserve the section Entitled "History", Preserve its Title,
          and add to it an item stating at least the title, year, new
          authors, and publisher of the Modified Version as given on the
          Title Page.  If there is no section Entitled "History" in the
          Document, create one stating the title, year, authors, and
          publisher of the Document as given on its Title Page, then add
          an item describing the Modified Version as stated in the
          previous sentence.

       J. Preserve the network location, if any, given in the Document
          for public access to a Transparent copy of the Document, and
          likewise the network locations given in the Document for
          previous versions it was based on.  These may be placed in the
          "History" section.  You may omit a network location for a work
          that was published at least four years before the Document
          itself, or if the original publisher of the version it refers
          to gives permission.

       K. For any section Entitled "Acknowledgements" or "Dedications",
          Preserve the Title of the section, and preserve in the section
          all the substance and tone of each of the contributor
          acknowledgements and/or dedications given therein.

       L. Preserve all the Invariant Sections of the Document, unaltered
          in their text and in their titles.  Section numbers or the
          equivalent are not considered part of the section titles.

       M. Delete any section Entitled "Endorsements".  Such a section
          may not be included in the Modified Version.

       N. Do not retitle any existing section to be Entitled
          "Endorsements" or to conflict in title with any Invariant
          Section.

       O. Preserve any Warranty Disclaimers.

     If the Modified Version includes new front-matter sections or
     appendices that qualify as Secondary Sections and contain no
     material copied from the Document, you may at your option designate
     some or all of these sections as invariant.  To do this, add their
     titles to the list of Invariant Sections in the Modified Version's
     license notice.  These titles must be distinct from any other
     section titles.

     You may add a section Entitled "Endorsements", provided it contains
     nothing but endorsements of your Modified Version by various
     parties--for example, statements of peer review or that the text
     has been approved by an organization as the authoritative
     definition of a standard.

     You may add a passage of up to five words as a Front-Cover Text,
     and a passage of up to 25 words as a Back-Cover Text, to the end of
     the list of Cover Texts in the Modified Version.  Only one passage
     of Front-Cover Text and one of Back-Cover Text may be added by (or
     through arrangements made by) any one entity.  If the Document
     already includes a cover text for the same cover, previously added
     by you or by arrangement made by the same entity you are acting on
     behalf of, you may not add another; but you may replace the old
     one, on explicit permission from the previous publisher that added
     the old one.

     The author(s) and publisher(s) of the Document do not by this
     License give permission to use their names for publicity for or to
     assert or imply endorsement of any Modified Version.

  5. COMBINING DOCUMENTS

     You may combine the Document with other documents released under
     this License, under the terms defined in section 4 above for
     modified versions, provided that you include in the combination all
     of the Invariant Sections of all of the original documents,
     unmodified, and list them all as Invariant Sections of your
     combined work in its license notice, and that you preserve all
     their Warranty Disclaimers.

     The combined work need only contain one copy of this License, and
     multiple identical Invariant Sections may be replaced with a single
     copy.  If there are multiple Invariant Sections with the same name
     but different contents, make the title of each such section unique
     by adding at the end of it, in parentheses, the name of the
     original author or publisher of that section if known, or else a
     unique number.  Make the same adjustment to the section titles in
     the list of Invariant Sections in the license notice of the
     combined work.

     In the combination, you must combine any sections Entitled
     "History" in the various original documents, forming one section
     Entitled "History"; likewise combine any sections Entitled
     "Acknowledgements", and any sections Entitled "Dedications".  You
     must delete all sections Entitled "Endorsements."

  6. COLLECTIONS OF DOCUMENTS

     You may make a collection consisting of the Document and other
     documents released under this License, and replace the individual
     copies of this License in the various documents with a single copy
     that is included in the collection, provided that you follow the
     rules of this License for verbatim copying of each of the documents
     in all other respects.

     You may extract a single document from such a collection, and
     distribute it individually under this License, provided you insert
     a copy of this License into the extracted document, and follow this
     License in all other respects regarding verbatim copying of that
     document.

  7. AGGREGATION WITH INDEPENDENT WORKS

     A compilation of the Document or its derivatives with other
     separate and independent documents or works, in or on a volume of a
     storage or distribution medium, is called an "aggregate" if the
     copyright resulting from the compilation is not used to limit the
     legal rights of the compilation's users beyond what the individual
     works permit.  When the Document is included in an aggregate, this
     License does not apply to the other works in the aggregate which
     are not themselves derivative works of the Document.

     If the Cover Text requirement of section 3 is applicable to these
     copies of the Document, then if the Document is less than one half
     of the entire aggregate, the Document's Cover Texts may be placed
     on covers that bracket the Document within the aggregate, or the
     electronic equivalent of covers if the Document is in electronic
     form.  Otherwise they must appear on printed covers that bracket
     the whole aggregate.

  8. TRANSLATION

     Translation is considered a kind of modification, so you may
     distribute translations of the Document under the terms of section
     4.  Replacing Invariant Sections with translations requires special
     permission from their copyright holders, but you may include
     translations of some or all Invariant Sections in addition to the
     original versions of these Invariant Sections.  You may include a
     translation of this License, and all the license notices in the
     Document, and any Warranty Disclaimers, provided that you also
     include the original English version of this License and the
     original versions of those notices and disclaimers.  In case of a
     disagreement between the translation and the original version of
     this License or a notice or disclaimer, the original version will
     prevail.

     If a section in the Document is Entitled "Acknowledgements",
     "Dedications", or "History", the requirement (section 4) to
     Preserve its Title (section 1) will typically require changing the
     actual title.

  9. TERMINATION

     You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Document
     except as expressly provided under this License.  Any attempt
     otherwise to copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute it is void,
     and will automatically terminate your rights under this License.

     However, if you cease all violation of this License, then your
     license from a particular copyright holder is reinstated (a)
     provisionally, unless and until the copyright holder explicitly and
     finally terminates your license, and (b) permanently, if the
     copyright holder fails to notify you of the violation by some
     reasonable means prior to 60 days after the cessation.

     Moreover, your license from a particular copyright holder is
     reinstated permanently if the copyright holder notifies you of the
     violation by some reasonable means, this is the first time you have
     received notice of violation of this License (for any work) from
     that copyright holder, and you cure the violation prior to 30 days
     after your receipt of the notice.

     Termination of your rights under this section does not terminate
     the licenses of parties who have received copies or rights from you
     under this License.  If your rights have been terminated and not
     permanently reinstated, receipt of a copy of some or all of the
     same material does not give you any rights to use it.

  10. FUTURE REVISIONS OF THIS LICENSE

     The Free Software Foundation may publish new, revised versions of
     the GNU Free Documentation License from time to time.  Such new
     versions will be similar in spirit to the present version, but may
     differ in detail to address new problems or concerns.  See
     <http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/>.

     Each version of the License is given a distinguishing version
     number.  If the Document specifies that a particular numbered
     version of this License "or any later version" applies to it, you
     have the option of following the terms and conditions either of
     that specified version or of any later version that has been
     published (not as a draft) by the Free Software Foundation.  If the
     Document does not specify a version number of this License, you may
     choose any version ever published (not as a draft) by the Free
     Software Foundation.  If the Document specifies that a proxy can
     decide which future versions of this License can be used, that
     proxy's public statement of acceptance of a version permanently
     authorizes you to choose that version for the Document.

  11. RELICENSING

     "Massive Multiauthor Collaboration Site" (or "MMC Site") means any
     World Wide Web server that publishes copyrightable works and also
     provides prominent facilities for anybody to edit those works.  A
     public wiki that anybody can edit is an example of such a server.
     A "Massive Multiauthor Collaboration" (or "MMC") contained in the
     site means any set of copyrightable works thus published on the MMC
     site.

     "CC-BY-SA" means the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
     license published by Creative Commons Corporation, a not-for-profit
     corporation with a principal place of business in San Francisco,
     California, as well as future copyleft versions of that license
     published by that same organization.

     "Incorporate" means to publish or republish a Document, in whole or
     in part, as part of another Document.

     An MMC is "eligible for relicensing" if it is licensed under this
     License, and if all works that were first published under this
     License somewhere other than this MMC, and subsequently
     incorporated in whole or in part into the MMC, (1) had no cover
     texts or invariant sections, and (2) were thus incorporated prior
     to November 1, 2008.

     The operator of an MMC Site may republish an MMC contained in the
     site under CC-BY-SA on the same site at any time before August 1,
     2009, provided the MMC is eligible for relicensing.

ADDENDUM: How to use this License for your documents
====================================================

To use this License in a document you have written, include a copy of
the License in the document and put the following copyright and license
notices just after the title page:

       Copyright (C)  YEAR  YOUR NAME.
       Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document
       under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3
       or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation;
       with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover
       Texts.  A copy of the license is included in the section entitled ``GNU
       Free Documentation License''.

   If you have Invariant Sections, Front-Cover Texts and Back-Cover
Texts, replace the "with...Texts." line with this:

         with the Invariant Sections being LIST THEIR TITLES, with
         the Front-Cover Texts being LIST, and with the Back-Cover Texts
         being LIST.

   If you have Invariant Sections without Cover Texts, or some other
combination of the three, merge those two alternatives to suit the
situation.

   If your document contains nontrivial examples of program code, we
recommend releasing these examples in parallel under your choice of free
software license, such as the GNU General Public License, to permit
their use in free software.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Translations,  Next: Index,  Prev: Copying This Manual,  Up: Top

Appendix B Translations of This Manual
**************************************

Nishio Futoshi of the GNUjdoc project has prepared a Japanese
translation of this manual.  Its most recent version can be found at
<http://openlab.ring.gr.jp/gnujdoc/cvsweb/cvsweb.cgi/gnujdoc/>.

File: diffutils.info-t,  Node: Index,  Prev: Translations,  Up: Top

Appendix C Index
****************


* Menu:

* ! output format:                       Context.             (line   6)
* +- output format:                      Unified Format.      (line   6)
* < output format:                       Normal.              (line   6)
* <<<<<<< for marking conflicts:         Marking Conflicts.   (line   6)
* _POSIX2_VERSION:                       Standards conformance.
                                                              (line  23)
* ad capability:                         diff Options.        (line 179)
* aligning tab stops:                    Tabs.                (line   6)
* alternate file names:                  Alternate Names.     (line   6)
* always color option:                   diff Options.        (line  43)
* auto color option:                     diff Options.        (line  42)
* backup file names:                     Backup Names.        (line   6)
* backup file strategy:                  Backups.             (line   6)
* binary file diff:                      Binary.              (line   6)
* blank and tab difference suppression:  White Space.         (line   6)
* blank line difference suppression:     Blank Lines.         (line   6)
* brief difference reports:              Brief.               (line   6)
* bug reports:                           Bugs.                (line   6)
* C function headings:                   C Function Headings. (line   6)
* C if-then-else output format:          If-then-else.        (line   6)
* case difference suppression:           Case Folding.        (line   6)
* ClearCase:                             Revision Control.    (line   6)
* cmp invocation:                        Invoking cmp.        (line   6)
* cmp options:                           cmp Options.         (line   6)
* color, distinguishing different context: diff Options.      (line  37)
* columnar output:                       Side by Side.        (line   6)
* common mistakes with patches:          Avoiding Common Mistakes.
                                                              (line   6)
* comparing three files:                 Comparing Three Files.
                                                              (line   6)
* conflict:                              diff3 Merging.       (line  26)
* conflict marking:                      Marking Conflicts.   (line   6)
* context output format:                 Context.             (line   6)
* creating files:                        Creating and Removing.
                                                              (line   6)
* de capability:                         diff Options.        (line 184)
* diagnostics from patch:                patch Messages.      (line   6)
* diff invocation:                       Invoking diff.       (line   6)
* diff merging:                          Interactive Merging. (line   6)
* diff options:                          diff Options.        (line   6)
* diff sample input:                     Sample diff Input.   (line   6)
* diff3 hunks:                           diff3 Hunks.         (line   6)
* diff3 invocation:                      Invoking diff3.      (line   6)
* diff3 options:                         diff3 Options.       (line   6)
* diff3 sample input:                    Sample diff3 Input.  (line   6)
* directories and patch:                 patch Directories.   (line   6)
* directory structure changes:           Changing Structure.  (line   6)
* dry runs for patch:                    Dry Runs.            (line   6)
* ed script output format:               ed Scripts.          (line   6)
* EDITOR:                                Merge Commands.      (line  50)
* empty files, removing:                 Creating and Removing.
                                                              (line   6)
* exabyte, definition of:                cmp Options.         (line  99)
* exbibyte, definition of:               cmp Options.         (line 102)
* file name alternates:                  Alternate Names.     (line   6)
* file names with unusual characters:    Unusual File Names.  (line   6)
* format of diff output:                 Output Formats.      (line   6)
* format of diff3 output:                Comparing Three Files.
                                                              (line   6)
* formats for if-then-else line groups:  Line Group Formats.  (line   6)
* forward ed script output format:       Forward ed.          (line   6)
* full lines:                            Incomplete Lines.    (line   6)
* function headings, C:                  C Function Headings. (line   6)
* fuzz factor when patching:             Inexact.             (line   6)
* gibibyte, definition of:               cmp Options.         (line  87)
* gigabyte, definition of:               cmp Options.         (line  84)
* hd capability:                         diff Options.        (line 189)
* headings:                              Sections.            (line   6)
* hunks:                                 Hunks.               (line   6)
* hunks for diff3:                       diff3 Hunks.         (line   6)
* if-then-else output format:            If-then-else.        (line   6)
* ifdef output format:                   If-then-else.        (line   6)
* imperfect patch application:           Imperfect.           (line   6)
* incomplete line merging:               Merging Incomplete Lines.
                                                              (line   6)
* incomplete lines:                      Incomplete Lines.    (line   6)
* inexact patches:                       Inexact.             (line   6)
* inhibit messages from patch:           More or Fewer Messages.
                                                              (line   6)
* interactive merging:                   Interactive Merging. (line   6)
* introduction:                          Comparison.          (line   6)
* intuiting file names from patches:     Multiple Patches.    (line   6)
* invoking cmp:                          Invoking cmp.        (line   6)
* invoking diff:                         Invoking diff.       (line   6)
* invoking diff3:                        Invoking diff3.      (line   6)
* invoking patch:                        Invoking patch.      (line   6)
* invoking sdiff:                        Invoking sdiff.      (line   6)
* keyboard input to patch:               patch and Keyboard Input.
                                                              (line   6)
* kibibyte, definition of:               cmp Options.         (line  75)
* kilobyte, definition of:               cmp Options.         (line  71)
* LC_COLLATE:                            Comparing Directories.
                                                              (line   6)
* LC_NUMERIC:                            Line Group Formats.  (line 143)
* LC_TIME:                               Detailed Context.    (line  12)
* line formats:                          Line Formats.        (line   6)
* line group formats:                    Line Group Formats.  (line   6)
* ln capability:                         diff Options.        (line 194)
* mebibyte, definition of:               cmp Options.         (line  82)
* megabyte, definition of:               cmp Options.         (line  79)
* merge commands:                        Merge Commands.      (line   6)
* merged diff3 format:                   Bypassing ed.        (line   6)
* merged output format:                  If-then-else.        (line   6)
* merging from a common ancestor:        diff3 Merging.       (line   6)
* merging interactively:                 Merge Commands.      (line   6)
* messages from patch:                   patch Messages.      (line   6)
* multibyte characters:                  Internationalization.
                                                              (line   6)
* multiple patches:                      Multiple Patches.    (line   6)
* newline treatment by diff:             Incomplete Lines.    (line   6)
* none color option:                     diff Options.        (line  40)
* normal output format:                  Normal.              (line   6)
* options for cmp:                       cmp Options.         (line   6)
* options for diff:                      diff Options.        (line   6)
* options for diff3:                     diff3 Options.       (line   6)
* options for patch:                     patch Options.       (line   6)
* options for sdiff:                     sdiff Options.       (line   6)
* output formats:                        Output Formats.      (line   6)
* overlap:                               diff3 Merging.       (line  26)
* overlapping change, selection of:      Which Changes.       (line   6)
* overview of diff and patch:            Overview.            (line   6)
* paginating diff output:                Pagination.          (line   6)
* patch consumer tips:                   Tips for Patch Consumers.
                                                              (line   6)
* patch input format:                    patch Input.         (line   6)
* patch invocation:                      Invoking patch.      (line   6)
* patch messages and questions:          patch Messages.      (line   6)
* patch options:                         patch Options.       (line   6)
* patch producer tips:                   Tips for Patch Producers.
                                                              (line   6)
* patch, common mistakes:                Avoiding Common Mistakes.
                                                              (line   6)
* patches, shrinking:                    Generating Smaller Patches.
                                                              (line   6)
* patching directories:                  patch Directories.   (line   6)
* PATCH_GET:                             Revision Control.    (line  13)
* PATCH_VERSION_CONTROL:                 Backup Names.        (line  21)
* pebibyte, definition of:               cmp Options.         (line  97)
* performance of diff:                   diff Performance.    (line   6)
* petabyte, definition of:               cmp Options.         (line  94)
* POSIX:                                 patch and POSIX.     (line   6)
* POSIX <1>:                             Standards conformance.
                                                              (line   6)
* POSIXLY_CORRECT:                       patch and POSIX.     (line   6)
* POSIXLY_CORRECT <1>:                   Standards conformance.
                                                              (line   6)
* projects for directories:              Shortcomings.        (line   6)
* quoting style:                         patch Quoting Style. (line   6)
* QUOTING_STYLE:                         patch Quoting Style. (line  26)
* RCS:                                   Revision Control.    (line   6)
* RCS script output format:              RCS.                 (line   6)
* regular expression matching headings:  Specified Headings.  (line   6)
* regular expression suppression:        Specified Lines.     (line   6)
* reject file names:                     Reject Names.        (line   6)
* removing empty files:                  Creating and Removing.
                                                              (line   6)
* reporting bugs:                        Bugs.                (line   6)
* reversed patches:                      Reversed Patches.    (line   6)
* revision control:                      Revision Control.    (line   6)
* sample input for diff:                 Sample diff Input.   (line   6)
* sample input for diff3:                Sample diff3 Input.  (line   6)
* SCCS:                                  Revision Control.    (line   6)
* script output formats:                 Scripts.             (line   6)
* sdiff invocation:                      Invoking sdiff.      (line   6)
* sdiff options:                         sdiff Options.       (line   6)
* sdiff output format:                   sdiff Option Summary.
                                                              (line   6)
* section headings:                      Sections.            (line   6)
* side by side:                          Side by Side.        (line   6)
* side by side format:                   Side by Side Format. (line   6)
* SIMPLE_BACKUP_SUFFIX:                  Backup Names.        (line  12)
* special files:                         Special Files.       (line   6)
* specified headings:                    Specified Headings.  (line   6)
* summarizing which files differ:        Brief.               (line   6)
* System V diff3 compatibility:          Saving the Changed File.
                                                              (line   6)
* tab and blank difference suppression:  White Space.         (line   6)
* tab stop alignment:                    Tabs.                (line   6)
* tebibyte, definition of:               cmp Options.         (line  92)
* terabyte, definition of:               cmp Options.         (line  89)
* terminal, using color iff:             diff Options.        (line  42)
* testing patch:                         Dry Runs.            (line   6)
* text versus binary diff:               Binary.              (line   6)
* timestamp format, context diffs:       Detailed Context.    (line  12)
* timestamp format, unified diffs:       Detailed Unified.    (line  12)
* timestamps on patched files:           Patching Timestamps. (line   6)
* traditional patch:                     patch and Tradition. (line   6)
* trailing blanks:                       Trailing Blanks.     (line   6)
* two-column output:                     Side by Side.        (line   6)
* unified output format:                 Unified Format.      (line   6)
* unmerged change:                       Which Changes.       (line   6)
* varying-width characters:              Internationalization.
                                                              (line   6)
* verbose messages from patch:           More or Fewer Messages.
                                                              (line   6)
* version control:                       Revision Control.    (line   6)
* VERSION_CONTROL:                       Revision Control.    (line  22)
* VERSION_CONTROL <1>:                   Backup Names.        (line  21)
* white space in patches:                Changed White Space. (line   6)
* yottabyte, definition of:              cmp Options.         (line 110)
* zettabyte, definition of:              cmp Options.         (line 104)



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