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Version Control with Subversion, 2nd Edition by Brian W. Fitzpatrick, Ben Collins-Sussman, C. Michael Pilato

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Ignoring Unversioned Items

In any given working copy, there is a good chance that alongside all those versioned files and directories are other files and directories that are neither versioned nor intended to be. Text editors litter directories with backup files. Software compilers generate intermediate—or even final—files that you typically wouldn’t bother to version. And users themselves drop various other files and directories wherever they see fit, often in version control working copies.

It’s ludicrous to expect Subversion working copies to be somehow impervious to this kind of clutter and impurity. In fact, Subversion counts it as a feature that its working copies are just typical directories, just like unversioned trees. But these not-to-be-versioned files and directories can cause some annoyance for Subversion users. For example, because the svn add and svn import commands act recursively by default and don’t know which files in a given tree you do and don’t wish to version, it’s easy to accidentally add stuff to version control that you didn’t mean to. And because svn status reports, by default, every item of interest in a working copy—including unversioned files and directories—its output can get quite noisy where many of these things exist.

So Subversion provides two ways for telling it which files you would prefer that it simply disregard. One of the ways involves the use of Subversion’s runtime configuration system (see Runtime Configuration Area), and therefore applies ...

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