svn: head/usr.sbin/mergemaster

Doug Barton dougb at
Mon Jan 5 22:46:55 UTC 2009

Garrett Wollman wrote:
>> Garrett Wollman wrote:
>>> It would be much better if the options that *nearly every user will
>>> want to use* are set correctly by default. 

Taking a step back from the specifics for a minute, I completely fail to
understand why so many people believe that this should be true for this
one program. I have been using Unix systems for 15 years now, and I have
extensive tweaks to nearly every command I use on a regular basis.

I have a .nexrc file for vi
I have a .inputrc file for readline (esp. bash)
I have a .cvsrc
I have a .profile for sh, an aliases file that is common to sh and bash,
a .bash_profile, .bashrc, etc.
I have a .portmasterrc, and of course a .mergemasterrc

That's not counting all of the aliases for things like ls, df, etc.; and
it's totally ignoring all of the programs that dump their own config
files (like Alpine, Openbox, WindowMaker, etc.).

On my most basic system I have no less than 12 config files in /etc (and
nothing particularly exotic) that I have to copy when I do a clean
upgrade, so I have no sympathy for the argument that copying
/etc/mergemaster.rc is an overwhelming burden.

It's Ok with me if you don't like the defaults for mergemaster. I have
provided extensive capabilities for customizing it for your preferences.
I note with interest that several of the people who have complained the
loudest have either never read the man page, or haven't read it all the
way through.

And yes, I do believe that users continue to have the "nothing done to
your system by default" expectation. But given that the default has been
what it is for over 10 years, and given that it's always a bad idea to
change default behavior in an application, I don't see myself agreeing
to change it any time soon.

A few more specifics in no particular order:

You can save yourself a lot of time hitting 'i' with the -U option.

You don't have to page through the whole diff if you use less as your PAGER.

Matt Dillon's change to the PAGER was the single thing I got the most
user complaints about.

Sometimes, particularly between major version upgrades, default behavior
for something in /etc/ changes. I personally think it's useful for users
to see those changes by default. Others may disagree, that's why there
are options to avoid that.

I will not be supportive of anything with "mergemaster" in the name set
to modify the base by default.

I have always said however that I would be pleased as punch if someone
wanted to make a new etc/config file updating thingy, in which case you
should feel free to have whatever defaults you want. If mergemaster
falls out of favor and is no longer needed in the base because the new
thing is much better, I have no problems with that. There are even a few
candidates in ports that are worth a look.

hope this helps,



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