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From: Felipe Contreras <>
To: Junio C Hamano <>,
Subject: Re: [PATCH v2] diff: fix interaction between the "-s" option and other options
Date: Mon, 08 May 2023 18:38:13 -0600	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <645995f53dd75_7c6829483@chronos.notmuch> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

Junio C Hamano wrote:
> Sergey Organov noticed and reported "--patch --no-patch --raw"
> behaves differently from just "--raw".  It turns out that there are
> a few interesting bugs in the implementation and documentation.
>  * First, the documentation for "--no-patch" was unclear that it
>    could be read to mean "--no-patch" countermands an earlier
>    "--patch" but not other things.  The intention of "--no-patch"
>    ever since it was introduced at d09cd15d (diff: allow --no-patch
>    as synonym for -s, 2013-07-16) was to serve as a synonym for
>    "-s", so "--raw --patch --no-patch" should have produced no
>    output, but it can be (mis)read to allow showing only "--raw"
>    output.

I would say that is orthogonal.

>  * Then the interaction between "-s" and other format options were
>    poorly implemented.  Modern versions of Git uses one bit each to
>    represent formatting options like "--patch", "--stat" in a single
>    output_format word, but for historical reasons, "-s" also is
>    represented as another bit in the same word.  This allows two
>    interesting bugs to happen, and we have both X-<.
>    (1) After setting a format bit, then setting NO_OUTPUT with "-s",
>        the code to process another "--<format>" option drops the
>        NO_OUTPUT bit to allow output to be shown again.  However,
>        the code to handle "-s" only set NO_OUTPUT without unsetting

s/only set/only sets/

>        format bits set earlier, so the earlier format bit got
>        revealed upon seeing the second "--<format>" option.  This is
>        the problem Sergey observed.
>    (2) After setting NO_OUTPUT with "-s", code to process

s/code/the code/

>        "--<format>" option can forget to unset NO_OUTPUT, leaving
>        the command still silent.

> It is tempting to change the meaning of "--no-patch" to mean
> "disable only the patch format output" and reimplement "-s" as "not
> showing anything", but it would be an end-user visible change in
> behavior.

Yes, it would be a change in behavior from what no reasonable user would
expect, to what most reasonable users would expct.

These are synonyms:

 1.a. git diff --patch-with-raw
 1.b. git diff --patch --raw

And so should these:

 2.a. git diff --raw
 2.b. git diff --no-patch --raw

But who on Earth would then think these are different?

 2.b. git diff --no-patch --raw
 2.c. git diff --raw --no-patch

Your patch is *already* an end-user visible change in behavior, so why
not do the end-user visible change in behavior that reasonable users
would expect?

> Let's fix the interactions of these bits to first make "-s" work as
> intended.

Is it though?

> The fix is conceptually very simple.
>  * Whenever we set DIFF_FORMAT_FOO because we saw the "--foo"
>    option (e.g. DIFF_FORMAT_RAW is set when the "--raw" option is
>    given), we make sure we drop DIFF_FORMAT_NO_OUTPUT.  We forgot to
>    do so in some of the options and caused (2) above.
>  * When processing "-s" option, we should not just set
>    DIFF_FORMAT_NO_OUTPUT bit, but clear other DIFF_FORMAT_* bits.
>    We didn't do so and retained format bits set by options
>    previously seen, causing (1) above.
> It is even more tempting to lose NO_OUTPUT bit and instead take
> output_format word being 0 as its replacement, but that would break
> the mechanism "git show" uses to default to "--patch" output, where
> the distinction between telling the command to be silent with "-s"
> and having no output format specified on the command line matters,
> and an explicit output format given on the command line should not
> be "combined" with the default "--patch" format.

That's because the logic is not correct, the default should not be 0,
the default should be a different value, for example
DIFF_FORMAT_DEFAULT, that way each tool can update DIFF_FORMAT_DEFAULT
to whatever default is desired.

Then 0 doesn't mean default, it means NO_OUTPUT, and then removing all
the formats--including DIFF_FORMAT_DEFAULT--makes it clear what the user
intends to do.

> So, while we cannot lose the NO_OUTPUT bit, as a follow-up work, we
> may want to replace it with OPTION_GIVEN bit, and
>  * make "--patch", "--raw", etc. set DIFF_FORMAT_$format bit and
>    DIFF_FORMAT_OPTION_GIVEN bit on for each format.  "--no-raw",
>    etc. will set off DIFF_FORMAT_$format bit but still record the
>    fact that we saw an option from the command line by setting
>  * make "-s" (and its synonym "--no-patch") clear all other bits
>    and set only the DIFF_FORMAT_OPTION_GIVEN bit on.
> which I suspect would make the code much cleaner without breaking
> any end-user expectations.

much more understandable.

> Once that is in place, transitioning "--no-patch" to mean the
> counterpart of "--patch", just like "--no-raw" only defeats an
> earlier "--raw", would be quite simple at the code level.

It's not only simple, it's a no-op, as (~DIFF_FORMAT_PATCH |
DIFF_FORMAT_OPTION_GIVEN) becomes indistinguishible from
DIFF_FORMAT_NO_OUTPUT unless another optin like DIFF_FORMAT_RAW is

I'm sending a patch series that shows that to be the case.

Felipe Contreras

  parent reply	other threads:[~2023-05-09  0:38 UTC|newest]

Thread overview: 42+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2023-05-03 13:41 [PATCH] t4013: add expected failure for "log --patch --no-patch" Sergey Organov
2023-05-03 16:57 ` Junio C Hamano
2023-05-03 17:31   ` Sergey Organov
2023-05-03 18:07     ` Junio C Hamano
2023-05-03 18:32       ` Felipe Contreras
2023-05-03 19:49       ` Sergey Organov
2023-05-04 15:50       ` Junio C Hamano
2023-05-04 18:24         ` Sergey Organov
2023-05-04 20:53           ` Junio C Hamano
2023-05-04 21:37             ` Re* " Junio C Hamano
2023-05-04 23:10               ` [PATCH] diff: fix behaviour of the "-s" option Junio C Hamano
2023-05-05  5:28                 ` Junio C Hamano
2023-05-05 16:51                   ` Junio C Hamano
2023-05-09  1:16                   ` Felipe Contreras
2023-05-05  8:32                 ` Sergey Organov
2023-05-05 16:31                   ` Junio C Hamano
2023-05-05 17:07                     ` Sergey Organov
2023-05-05 16:59                 ` [PATCH v2] diff: fix interaction between the "-s" option and other options Junio C Hamano
2023-05-05 17:41                   ` Eric Sunshine
2023-05-05 19:01                     ` Junio C Hamano
2023-05-05 21:19                   ` [PATCH 0/2] dirstat: leakfix Junio C Hamano
2023-05-05 21:19                     ` [PATCH 1/2] diff: refactor common tail part of dirstat computation Junio C Hamano
2023-05-05 21:19                     ` [PATCH 2/2] diff: plug leaks in dirstat Junio C Hamano
2023-05-09  0:38                   ` Felipe Contreras [this message]
2023-05-09  1:22                     ` [PATCH v2] diff: fix interaction between the "-s" option and other options Junio C Hamano
2023-05-09  3:50                       ` Felipe Contreras
2023-05-10  4:26                         ` Junio C Hamano
2023-05-10 23:16                           ` Felipe Contreras
2023-05-10 23:41                             ` Felipe Contreras
2023-05-11  1:25                               ` Jeff King
2023-05-13  3:07                                 ` Felipe Contreras
2023-05-11  1:50                             ` Junio C Hamano
2023-05-13  5:32                               ` Felipe Contreras
2023-05-09  1:34           ` [PATCH] t4013: add expected failure for "log --patch --no-patch" Felipe Contreras
2023-05-10 13:54             ` Sergey Organov
2023-05-10 21:54               ` Felipe Contreras
2023-05-09  1:03         ` Felipe Contreras
2023-05-04 18:07   ` Junio C Hamano
2023-05-04 18:26     ` Sergey Organov
2023-05-09  1:07     ` Felipe Contreras
2023-05-10 13:40       ` Sergey Organov
2023-05-10 21:39         ` Felipe Contreras

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