Re: [alsa-devel] HG -> GIT migration

From: Linus Torvalds
Date: Wed May 21 2008 - 15:03:21 EST

On Wed, 21 May 2008, Takashi Iwai wrote:
> > - cherry-pick it. Is it a small, simple patch that you want, but that
> > isn't really worth pulling in all the other stuff that you simply don't
> > know?
> >
> > This isn't wrong. It shouldn't be *common*, but it's not wrong to have
> > the same patch in two different branches. It makes sense if it is
> > something you really want, but it's still not important or complex
> > enough to actually mege everything else!
> Hm, that's what I didn't consider seriously. I thought cherry-picking
> patches may cause merge errors easily.

Cherry-picking can certainly cause merge errors, but not generally very

Cherry-picking by definition will obviously apply the *same* patch to two
different branches, and as a result, when you merge, that merge will
generally be totally clean. So a trivial merge that succeeds without you
even noticing is actually the common case.

But you can certainly get merge failures where you then have to fix things
up if there were *other* changes to that same area. At that point, you end
up with two different branches that changed the same few lines
differently, and it doesn't matter if then _some_ of the changes were
identical - the fact that others were not is enough to cause a merge

If cherry-picking is an uncommon situation, the merge problems are not
going to show up (and when they do, they'll generally be simple to
resolve, especially if you limit cherry-picking to simple fixes). But if
you do a *lot* of cherry-picking, and you cherry-pick big changes, then
yes, you'll start hitting merge problems.

So cherry-picking is fine if you do it (a) fairly seldom and (b) just to
small patches, because then the upsides of cherry-picking (easy to get a
single fix without merging everything else) are bigger than the downsides
(the potential merge problems later).

IOW, think of cherry-picking as just another tool. It has upsides and
downsides. It's not "wrong" per se, but you can use it the wrong way. You
shouldn't use a hammer on a screw, and you shouldn't use cherry-picking
for big and complex stuff.

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