Best practice for Documents directory: looking for comments on my current setup

Rustom Mody rustompmody at
Mon Apr 20 08:29:15 CEST 2009

On Mon, Apr 20, 2009 at 2:04 AM, Chanoch (Ken) Bloom <kbloom at>wrote:

> On Sun, 2009-04-19 at 16:40 +0200, W. Kaplan wrote:
> > Hi all,
> >
> > I just recently started giving version control systems another go. I'm a
> > humanities grad student and not a programmer, so I assume that my needs
> > are a little different from those for which these tools were written.
> > However, the same applies for managing your whole home directory, so I
> > think this list is a good place to ask for opinions.
> Keep in mind that if you have merge conflicts in your office files,
> whether OpenOffice or MS Word, git and other version control systems are
> much less likely to be able to do something sensible about merging them.
> The reason we programmers can make it work is because we use text files
> for everything. (Our source code is text files, our configuration files
> are text files, our scholarly papers are written in LaTeX...).

From Odt article on wikipedia:

A basic OpenDocument file consists of an
XML<>document that has
<document> as its root element. OpenDocument files can also take the format
of a ZIP <> compressed
archive containing a number of files and directories; these can contain
binary content and benefit from ZIP's lossless
reduce file size. OpenDocument benefits from separation
of concerns <> by
separating the content, styles, metadata and application settings into four
separate XML files.

Thanks to this push, good-ol MS has moved (unwillingly?) from doc (for which
your comments above are correct) to docx that is similarly at core xml and
hence text.

> I don't expect any other synchronization system can reconcile these
> files any better though.

This true today.  And merging XML is not identical to merging program
sources.  But is much closer to it than arbitrary binry data

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