Rich Freeman on 11 Feb 2011 05:01:13 -0800

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Re: [PLUG] (Free) Graphical Diff Tools

On Fri, Feb 11, 2011 at 5:50 AM, JP Vossen <> wrote:
> However, both of those pale before 'meld', which is Unix/Linux only (and
> in the stock Debian, & Ubuntu repos or the CentOS/RHEL EPEL third-party
> repo). See it at; it is much cooler looking
> than the two above. It does syntax highlighting too, but apparently not for
> *.conf files, which WinMerge handled. Interesting...

I have to add my endorsement to meld.  I've been using it for years
now with cfg-update, which is a Gentoo tool for updating config files
after upgrades.  That tool depends on 3-way diffing, which works fine
in meld.

I know that many distros discourage users from just editing files in
/etc - but if you do need to maintain them then it might be worth your
while to look at gentoo's cfg-update.  Granted, it has a bunch of
gentoo-ish assumptions in it that you might need to deal with.

Basically cfg-update keeps a history of your changes in RCS, and it
also uses some algorithms to figure out what lines of a config file
you've changed from their defaults, and then it will merge in unedited
areas of the config files when they need to change, and then do a
graphical diff using meld when it doesn't know how to handle it.  99%
of my config file updates end up getting handled automatically, but
you won't fully get that benefit until you've gone through an upgrade
cycle or two and the tool has learned which lines in each file are
stock.  It actually works in a way somewhat similar to git/etc - it
takes a new incoming stock config file, compares it to the last
incoming stock config file, and then basically turns that into a
"patch" that it tries to apply to your customized config file.  That
said I haven't studied the source and while that seems to be the
effect it might actually work a little differently...

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