Determine file type (binary or text)

David C. Fox davidcfox at
Thu Aug 14 16:04:36 CEST 2003

Sami Viitanen wrote:
> Thanks for the answers.
> To be more specific I'm making a script that should
> identify binary files as binary and text files as text.
> The script is for automating CVS commands and
> with CVS you have to add the -kb flag to
> add (or import) binary files. (because it can't itself
> determine what type the file is). If binary file is not
> added with -kb the results are awful.

You should note that the question of when to use -kb is not simply based 
on the contents of the file, but on whether you want CVS/RCS to try to 
merge conflicting versions.

For example, I recently added some files containing pickled objects 
(used as test data sets for a regression test) to the CVS repository for 
my project.  Although the pickle files are in fact all printable text, a 
CVS/RCS merge of two valid pickle files won't yield a valid pickle file. 
  Therefore, I used -kb to ensure that the developer would always be 
forced to choose a version in the event of a version conflict.


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