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This month's question - Winter 2008

Q: Hi Greg,

I recently converted my CVS repository to a Subversion repository. Ever since the RCS days, we've used the "$Log$" keyword in our source files to automatically insert our log messages each commit. Since switching to Subversion, this no longer works. Why is that? --J.R.

A: After checking into this issue for you, I discovered that the Subversion developers intentionally omitted support for the $Log$ keyword. There are several reasons why they did this, including:

  • Contents of the log message in the source files are very likely to cause conflicts when merging from a branch
  • Log message contents are duplicated across many files in the repository, increasing repetition and wasted space
  • Subversion uses the svn:log property to store the log message, and since it is mutable, the contents of a $Log$ keyword would not stay in sync with the actual log message, if the property value is changed.

There has been some discussion about the $Log$ keyword on the Subversion users mailing list, and there is an official FAQ entry as well.

If you still need to emulate the $Log$ keyword in some way, contact us with your requirements, and we can work with you to come up with an acceptable solution.

Regards,
Greg


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