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HP-UX 11i Version 3: February 2007

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merge — three-way file merge


merge [-p] file1 file2 file3


merge combines two files that are revisions of a single original file. The original file is file2, and the revised files are file1 and file3. merge identifies all changes that lead from file2 to file3 and from file2 to file1, then deposits the merged text into file1. If the -p option is used, the result goes to standard output instead of file1.

An overlap occurs if both file1 and file3 have changes in the same place. merge prints how many overlaps occurred, and includes both alternatives in the result. The alternatives are delimited as follows:

<<<<<<< file1 lines in file1 ======= lines in file3 >>>>>>> file3

If there are overlaps, edit the result in file1 and delete one of the alternatives.

This command is particularly useful for revision control, especially if file1 and file3 are the ends of two branches that have file2 as a common ancestor.


A typical use for merge is as follows:


To merge an RCS branch into the trunk, first check out the three different versions from RCS (see co(1)) and rename them for their revision numbers: 5.2, 5.11, and File is the end of an RCS branch that split off the trunk at file 5.2.


For this example, assume file 5.11 is the latest version on the trunk, and is also a revision of the "original" file, 5.2. Merge the branch into the trunk with the command:

merge 5.11 5.2


File 5.11 now contains all changes made on the branch and the trunk, and has markings in the file to show all overlapping changes.


Edit file 5.11 to correct the overlaps, then use the ci command to check the file back in (see ci(1)).


merge uses the ed(1) system editor. Therefore, the file size limits of ed(1) apply to merge.


merge was developed by Walter F. Tichy.

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