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Re: meaning of "Automatic date update in" commits

On Wed, Sep 20, 2017 at 8:33 AM, Petr Ovtchenkov <> wrote:
> On Wed, 20 Sep 2017 08:05:48 -0700
> Joel Brobecker <> wrote:
>> [adding the GDB group, as this affects both]
>> > What is the meaning of "Automatic date update in" commits?
>> > I mean commits like f625a739e5.
>> >
>> > This commits litter commits tree and create problems for
>> > deterministic, bit-identical and/or verifiable builds.
>> >
>> > May be worth to remove this (historical?) artifact?
>> We've had that discussion several times in the past. I'd be quite
>> happy to get rid of that daily commit, and most people here probably
>> would be too. The issue is that no one has been able to get us
>> to agree on what we should be doing instead, and then implement it.
>> Part of the obstacles, I think, is that everyone has their own idea
>> of the requirements that should be met. Maybe one solution would be
>> to ask the group of Global Maintainers to make a decision (at least
>> for GDB) once everyone had a chance to provide their feedback. Once
>> we have a clear plan of what should be done, I suspect finding
>> a volunteer to implement it wouldn't be too hard. I might even
>> take an hour or two in a weekend to look into that...
> For [possible] transition/solution/etc it would be useful to tell here what
> this ["Automatic date update in"] commits was intended for.

Historically speaking, my recollection is that Ken Raeburn introduced
it around 1994 or so when he started producing daily binutils
snapshots.  At the time the binutils source code repository was not
publicly available: it was held internally on the Cygnus CVS server
(the binutils source code repo was not publicly accessible until
1999).  Ken started making daily snapshots of the code available via
FTP for non-Cygnus developers and users.  The daily snapshots were
named after the day, naturally, and he added code to record the day in
the version file so that people knew which snapshot had been used to
build the tools.

As people have said it is now also used as part of the libbfd SONAME,
but at the time that Ken introduced it there was no support for
building BFD as a shared library.


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