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Are there any particular reasons why I would not want to use the --deltas argument, either for an incremental or a complete svnadmin dump?

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There are some cons listed in svnbook. Here's a snippet from the online svnbook:

There are, however, disadvantages to using this option—deltified dump files are more CPU-intensive to create, cannot be operated on by svndumpfilter, and tend not to compress as well as their nondeltified counterparts when using third-party tools such as gzip and bzip2.

  • argh. it would have been nice if there was a 3rd option, some kind of "smart" delta where the raw file was compared with a regular delta and entropy measures calculated for both, with the smaller entropy method used. Binary files are more efficiently stored in raw form, text files with minor changes are more efficiently stored in delta form. – Jason S Oct 16 '09 at 16:45
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    I'm sure the wouldn't mind some extra dev help :) – squillman Oct 16 '09 at 17:00

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