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unison 2.6.1 (stable release) now available

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  • Jerome Vouillon
    As the latest beta-release seems to be behaving fine, we re promoting this version to a stable release. Get it from here:
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 9, 2000
      As the latest beta-release seems to be behaving fine, we're promoting
      this version to a stable release.

      Get it from here:

      The main feature added since the last stable release is the
      ability to synchronize file modtimes, user-ids, and group-ids.

      Please let us now if you notice any problems.


      The Unison Team
      (Trevor, Benjamin, and Jerome)


      The current version of Unison is 2.6.1.

      Changes since 2.5.31:
      * The log preference is now set to true by default, since the log
      file seems useful for most users.
      * Several miscellaneous bugfixes (most involving symlinks).

      Changes since 2.5.25:
      * INCOMPATIBLE CHANGE: Archive format has changed (again).
      * Several significant bugs introduced in 2.5.25 have been fixed.

      Changes since 2.5.1:
      * INCOMPATIBLE CHANGE: Archive format has changed. Make sure you
      synchronize your replicas before upgrading, to avoid spurious
      conflicts. The first sync after upgrading will be slow.
      * New functionality:
      + Unison now synchronizes file modtimes, user-ids, and
      These new features are controlled by a set of new
      preferences, all of which are currently false by default.
      o When the times preference is set to true, file
      modification times are propaged. (Because the
      representations of time may not have the same
      granularity on both replicas, Unison may not always be
      able to make the modtimes precisely equal, but it will
      get them as close as the operating systems involved
      o When the owner preference is set to true, file ownership
      information is synchronized.
      o When the group preference is set to true, group
      information is synchronized.
      o When the numericIds preference is set to true, owner and
      group information is synchronized numerically. By
      default, owner and group numbers are converted to names
      on each replica and these names are synchronized. (The
      special user id 0 and the special group 0 are never
      mapped via user/group names even if this preference is
      not set.)
      + Added an integer-valued preference perms that can be used to
      control the propagation of permission bits. The value of this
      preference is a mask indicating which permission bits should
      be synchronized. It is set by default to 0o1777: all bits but
      the set-uid and set-gid bits are synchronised (synchronizing
      theses latter bits can be a security hazard). If you want to
      synchronize all bits, you can set the value of this
      preference to -1.
      + Added a log preference (default false), which makes Unison
      keep a complete record of the changes it makes to the
      replicas. By default, this record is written to a file called
      unison.log in the user's home directory (the value of the
      HOME environment variable). If you want it someplace else,
      set the logfile preference to the full pathname you want
      Unison to use.
      + Added an ignorenot preference that maintains a set of
      patterns for paths that should definitely not be ignored,
      whether or not they match an ignore pattern. (That is, a path
      will now be ignored iff it matches an ignore pattern and does
      not match any ignorenot patterns.)
      * User-interface improvements:
      + Roots are now displayed in the user interface in the same
      order as they were given on the command line or in the
      preferences file.
      + When the batch preference is set, the graphical user
      interface no longer waits for user confirmation when it
      displays a warning message: it simply pops up an advisory
      window with a Dismiss button at the bottom and keeps on
      + Added a new preference for controlling how many status
      messages are printed during update detection: statusdepth
      controls the maximum depth for paths on the local machine
      (longer paths are not displayed, nor are non-directory
      paths). The value should be an integer; default is 1.
      + Removed the trace and silent preferences. They did not seem
      very useful, and there were too many preferences for
      controlling output in various ways.
      + The text UI now displays just the default command (the one
      that will be used if the user just types <return>) instead of
      all available commands. Typing ? will print the full list of
      + The function that finds the canonical hostname of the local
      host (which is used, for example, in calculating the name of
      the archive file used to remember which files have been
      synchronized) normally uses the gethostname operating system
      call. However, if the environment variable
      UNISONLOCALHOSTNAME is set, its value will now be used
      instead. This makes it easier to use Unison in situations
      where a machine's name changes frequently (e.g., because it
      is a laptop and gets moved around a lot).
      + File owner and group are now displayed in the ``detail
      window'' at the bottom of the screen, when unison is
      configured to synchronize them.
      * For hackers:
      + Updated to Jacques Garrigue's new version of lablgtk, which
      means we can throw away our local patched version.
      If you're compiling the GTK version of unison from sources,
      you'll need to update your copy of lablgtk to the developers
      release, available from
      (Warning: installing lablgtk under Windows is currently a bit
      + The TODO.txt file (in the source distribution) has been
      cleaned up and reorganized. The list of pending tasks should
      be much easier to make sense of, for people that may want to
      contribute their programming energies. There is also a
      separate file BUGS.txt for open bugs.
      + The Tk user interface has been removed (it was not being
      maintained and no longer compiles).
      + The debug preference now prints quite a bit of additional
      information that should be useful for identifying sources of
      + The version number of the remote server is now checked right
      away during the connection setup handshake, rather than
      later. (Somebody sent a bug report of a server crash that
      turned out to come from using inconsistent versions: better
      to check this earlier and in a way that can't crash either
      client or server.)
      + Unison now runs correctly on 64-bit architectures (e.g. Alpha
      linux). We will not be distributing binaries for these
      architectures ourselves (at least for a while) but if someone
      would like to make them available, we'll be glad to provide a
      link to them.
      * Bug fixes:
      + Pattern matching (e.g. for ignore) is now case-insensitive
      when Unison is in case-insensitive mode (i.e., when one of
      the replicas is on a windows machine).
      + Some people had trouble with mysterious failures during
      propagation of updates, where files would be falsely reported
      as having changed during synchronization. This should be
      + Numerous smaller fixes.

      Changes since 2.4.1:
      * Added a number of 'sorting modes' for the user interface. By
      default, conflicting changes are displayed at the top, and the
      rest of the entries are sorted in alphabetical order. This
      behavior can be changed in the following ways:
      + Setting the sortnewfirst preference to true causes newly
      created files to be displayed before changed files.
      + Setting sortbysize causes files to be displayed in increasing
      order of size.
      + Giving the preference sortfirst=<pattern> (where <pattern> is
      a path descriptor in the same format as 'ignore' and 'follow'
      patterns, causes paths matching this pattern to be displayed
      + Similarly, giving the preference sortlast=<pattern> causes
      paths matching this pattern to be displayed last.
      The sorting preferences are described in more detail in the user
      manual. The sortnewfirst and sortbysize flags can also be accessed
      from the 'Sort' menu in the grpahical user interface.
      * Added two new preferences that can be used to change unison's
      fundamental behavior to make it more like a mirroring tool instead
      of a synchronizer.
      + Giving the preference prefer with argument <root> (by adding
      -prefer <root> to the command line or prefer=<root>) to your
      profile) means that, if there is a conflict, the contents of
      <root> should be propagated to the other replica (with no
      questions asked). Non-conflicting changes are treated as
      + Giving the preference force with argument <root> will make
      unison resolve all differences in favor of the given root,
      even if it was the other replica that was changed.
      These options should be used with care! (More information is
      available in the manual.)
      * Small changes:
      + Changed default answer to 'Yes' in all two-button dialogs in
      the graphical interface (this seems more intuitive).
      + The rsync preference has been removed (it was used to
      activate rsync compression for file transfers, but rsync
      compression is now enabled by default).
      + In the text user interface, the arrows indicating which
      direction changes are being propagated are printed
      differently when the user has overridded Unison's default
      recommendation (====> instead of ---->). This matches the
      behavior of the graphical interface, which displays such
      arrows in a different color.
      + Carriage returns (Control-M's) are ignored at the ends of
      lines in profiles, for Windows compatibility.
      + All preferences are now fully documented in the user manual.

      Changes since 2.3.12:
      * INCOMPATIBLE CHANGE: Archive format has changed. Make sure you
      synchronize your replicas before upgrading, to avoid spurious
      conflicts. The first sync after upgrading will be slow.
      * New/improved functionality:
      + A new preference -sortbysize controls the order in which
      changes are displayed to the user: when it is set to true,
      the smallest changed files are displayed first. (The default
      setting is false.)
      + A new preference -sortnewfirst causes newly created files to
      be listed before other updates in the user interface.
      + We now allow the ssh protocol to specify a port.
      + Incompatible change: The unison: protocol is deprecated, and
      we added file: and socket:. You may have to modify your
      profiles in the .unison directory. If a replica is specified
      without an explicit protocol, we now assume it refers to a
      file. (Previously "//saul/foo" meant to use SSH to connect to
      saul, then access the foo directory. Now it means to access
      saul via a remote file mechanism such as samba; the old
      effect is now achieved by writing ssh://saul/foo.)
      + Changed the startup sequence for the case where roots are
      given but no profile is given on the command line. The new
      behavior is to use the default profile (creating it if it
      does not exist), and temporarily override its roots. The
      manual claimed that this case would work by reading no
      profile at all, but AFAIK this was never true.
      + In all user interfaces, files with conflicts are always
      listed first
      + A new preference 'sshversion' can be used to control which
      version of ssh should be used to connect to the server. Legal
      values are 1 and 2. (Default is empty, which will make unison
      use whatever version of ssh is installed as the default 'ssh'
      + The situation when the permissions of a file was updated the
      same on both side is now handled correctly (we used to report
      a spurious conflict)
      * Improvements for the Windows version:
      + The fact that filenames are treated case-insensitively under
      Windows should now be handled correctly. The exact behavior
      is described in the cross-platform section of the manual.
      + It should be possible to synchronize with Windows shares,
      e.g., //host/drive/path.
      + Workarounds to the bug in syncing root directories in
      Windows. The most difficult thing to fix is an ocaml bug:
      Unix.opendir fails on c: in some versions of Windows.
      * Improvements to the GTK user interface (the Tk interface is no
      longer being maintained):
      + The UI now displays actions differently (in blue) when they
      have been explicitly changed by the user from Unison's
      default recommendation.
      + More colorful appearance.
      + The initial profile selection window works better.
      + If any transfers failed, a message to this effect is
      displayed along with 'Synchronization complete' at the end of
      the transfer phase (in case they may have scrolled off the
      + Added a global progress meter, displaying the percentage of
      total bytes that have been transferred so far.
      * Improvements to the text user interface:
      + The file details will be displayed automatically when a
      conflict is been detected.
      + when a warning is generated (e.g. for a temporary file left
      over from a previous run of unison) Unison will no longer
      wait for a response if it is running in -batch mode.
      + The UI now displays a short list of possible inputs each time
      it waits for user interaction.
      + The UI now quits immediately (rather than looping back and
      starting the interaction again) if the user presses 'q' when
      asked whether to propagate changes.
      + Pressing 'g' in the text user interface will proceed
      immediately with propagating updates, without asking any more
      * Documentation and installation changes:
      + The manual now includes a FAQ, plus sections on common
      problems and on tricks contributed by users.
      + Both the download page and the download directory explicitly
      say what are the current stable and beta-test version
      + The OCaml sources for the up-to-the-minute developers'
      version (not guaranteed to be stable, or even to compile, at
      any given time!) are now available from the download page.
      + Added a subsection to the manual describing cross-platform
      issues (case conflicts, illegal filenames)
      * Many small bug fixes and random improvements.

      Changes since 2.3.1:
      * Several bug fixes. The most important is a bug in the rsync module
      that would occasionally cause change propagation to fail with a
      'rename' error.

      Changes since 2.2:
      * The multi-threaded transport system is now disabled by default.
      (It is not stable enough yet.)
      * Various bug fixes.
      * A new experimental feature:
      The final component of a -path argument may now be the wildcard
      specifier *. When Unison sees such a path, it expands this path on
      the client into into the corresponding list of paths by listing
      the contents of that directory.
      Note that if you use wildcard paths from the command line, you
      will probably need to use quotes or a backslash to prevent the *
      from being interpreted by your shell.
      If both roots are local, the contents of the first one will be
      used for expanding wildcard paths. (Nb: this is the first one
      after the canonization step -- i.e., the one that is listed first
      in the user interface -- not the one listed first on the command
      line or in the preferences file.)

      Changes since 2.1:
      * The transport subsystem now includes an implementation by Sylvain
      Gommier and Norman Ramsey of Tridgell and Mackerras's rsync
      protocol. This protocol achieves much faster transfers when only a
      small part of a large file has been changed by sending just diffs.
      This feature is mainly helpful for transfers over slow links---on
      fast local area networks it can actually degrade performance---so
      we have left it off by default. Start unison with the -rsync
      option (or put rsync=true in your preferences file) to turn it on.
      * ``Progress bars'' are now diplayed during remote file transfers,
      showing what percentage of each file has been transferred so far.
      * The version numbering scheme has changed. New releases will now be
      have numbers like 2.2.30, where the second component is
      incremented on every significant public release and the third
      component is the ``patch level.''
      * Miscellaneous improvements to the GTK-based user interface.
      * The manual is now available in PDF format.
      * We are experimenting with using a multi-threaded transport
      subsystem to transfer several files at the same time, making much
      more effective use of available network bandwidth. This feature is
      not completely stable yet, so by default it is disabled in the
      release version of Unison.
      If you want to play with the multi-threaded version, you'll need
      to recompile Unison from sources (as described in the
      documentation), setting the THREADS flag in Makefile.OCaml to
      true. Make sure that your OCaml compiler has been installed with
      the -with-pthreads configuration option. (You can verify this by
      checking whether the file threads/threads.cma in the OCaml
      standard library directory contains the string -lpthread near the

      Changes since 1.292:
      * Reduced memory footprint (this is especially important during the
      first run of unison, where it has to gather information about all
      the files in both repositories).
      * Fixed a bug that would cause the socket server under NT to fail
      after the client exits.
      * Added a SHIFT modifier to the Ignore menu shortcut keys in GTK
      interface (to avoid hitting them accidentally).

      Changes since 1.231:
      * Tunneling over ssh is now supported in the Windows version. See
      the installation section of the manual for detailed instructions.
      * The transport subsystem now includes an implementation of the
      rsync protocol, built by Sylvain Gommier and Norman Ramsey. This
      protocol achieves much faster transfers when only a small part of
      a large file has been changed by sending just diffs. The rsync
      feature is off by default in the current version. Use the -rsync
      switch to turn it on. (Nb. We still have a lot of tuning to do:
      you may not notice much speedup yet.)
      * We're experimenting with a multi-threaded transport subsystem,
      written by Jerome Vouillon. The downloadable binaries are still
      single-threaded: if you want to try the multi-threaded version,
      you'll need to recompile from sources. (Say make THREADS=true.)
      Native thread support from the compiler is required. Use the
      option -threads N to select the maximal number of concurrent
      threads (default is 5). Multi-threaded and single-threaded
      clients/servers can interoperate.
      * A new GTK-based user interface is now available, thanks to Jacques
      Garrigue. The Tk user interface still works, but we'll be shifting
      development effort to the GTK interface from now on.
      * OCaml 3.00 is now required for compiling Unison from sources. The
      modules uitk and myfileselect have been changed to use labltk
      instead of camltk. To compile the Tk interface in Windows, you
      must have ocaml-3.00 and tk8.3. When installing tk8.3, put it in
      c:\Tcl rather than the suggested c:\Program Files\Tcl, and be sure
      to install the headers and libraries (which are not installed by
      * Added a new -addversionno switch, which causes unison to use
      unison-<currentversionnumber> instead of just unison as the remote
      server command. This allows multiple versions of unison to coexist
      conveniently on the same server: whichever version is run on the
      client, the same version will be selected on the server.

      Changes since 1.219:
      * INCOMPATIBLE CHANGE: Archive format has changed. Make sure you
      synchronize your replicas before upgrading, to avoid spurious
      conflicts. The first sync after upgrading will be slow.
      * This version fixes several annoying bugs, including:
      + Some cases where propagation of file permissions was not
      + umask is now ignored when creating directories
      + directories are create writable, so that a read-only
      directory and its contents can be propagated.
      + Handling of warnings generated by the server.
      + Synchronizing a path whose parent is not a directory on both
      sides is now flagged as erroneous.
      + Fixed some bugs related to symnbolic links and nonexistant
      o When a change (deletion or new contents) is propagated
      onto a 'follow'ed symlink, the file pointed to by the
      link is now changed. (We used to change the link itself,
      which doesn't fit our assertion that 'follow' means the
      link is completely invisible)
      o When one root did not exist, propagating the other root
      on top of it used to fail, becuase unison could not
      calculate the working directory into which to write
      changes. This should be fixed.
      * A human-readable timestamp has been added to Unison's archive
      * The semantics of Path and Name regular expressions now correspond
      * Some minor improvements to the text UI (e.g. a command for going
      back to previous items)
      * The organization of the export directory has changed --- should be
      easier to find / download things now.

      Changes since 1.200:
      * INCOMPATIBLE CHANGE: Archive format has changed. Make sure you
      synchronize your replicas before upgrading, to avoid spurious
      conflicts. The first sync after upgrading will be slow.
      * This version has not been tested extensively on Windows.
      * Major internal changes designed to make unison safer to run at the
      same time as the replicas are being changed by the user.
      * Internal performance improvements.

      Changes since 1.190:
      * INCOMPATIBLE CHANGE: Archive format has changed. Make sure you
      synchronize your replicas before upgrading, to avoid spurious
      conflicts. The first sync after upgrading will be slow.
      * A number of internal functions have been changed to reduce the
      amount of memory allocation, especially during the first
      synchronization. This should help power users with very big
      * Reimplementation of low-level remote procedure call stuff, in
      preparation for adding rsync-like smart file transfer in a later
      * Miscellaneous bug fixes.

      Changes since 1.180:
      * INCOMPATIBLE CHANGE: Archive format has changed. Make sure you
      synchronize your replicas before upgrading, to avoid spurious
      conflicts. The first sync after upgrading will be slow.
      * Fixed some small bugs in the interpretation of ignore patterns.
      * Fixed some problems that were preventing the Windows version from
      working correctly when click-started.
      * Fixes to treatment of file permissions under Windows, which were
      causing spurious reports of different permissions when
      synchronizing between windows and unix systems.
      * Fixed one more non-tail-recursive list processing function, which
      was causing stack overflows when synchronizing very large

      Changes since 1.169:
      * The text user interface now provides commands for ignoring files.
      * We found and fixed some more non-tail-recursive list processing
      functions. Some power users have reported success with very large
      * INCOMPATIBLE CHANGE: Files ending in .tmp are no longer ignored
      automatically. If you want to ignore such files, put an
      appropriate ignore pattern in your profile.
      * INCOMPATIBLE CHANGE: The syntax of ignore and follow patterns has
      changed. Instead of putting a line of the form

      ignore = <regexp>
      in your profile (.unison/default.prf), you should put:

      ignore = Regexp <regexp>
      Moreover, two other styles of pattern are also recognized:

      ignore = Name <name>
      matches any path in which one component matches <name>, while

      ignore = Path <path>
      matches exactly the path <path>.
      Standard ``globbing'' conventions can be used in <name> and
      + a ? matches any single character except /
      + a * matches any sequence of characters not including /
      + [xyz] matches any character from the set {x, y, z }
      + {a,bb,ccc} matches any one of a, bb, or ccc.
      See the user manual for some examples.

      Changes since 1.146:
      * Some users were reporting stack overflows when synchronizing huge
      directories. We found and fixed some non-tail-recursive list
      processing functions, which we hope will solve the problem. Please
      give it a try and let us know.
      * Major additions to the documentation.

      Changes since 1.142:
      * Major internal tidying and many small bugfixes.
      * Major additions to the user manual.
      * Unison can now be started with no arguments -- it will prompt
      automatically for the name of a profile file containing the roots
      to be synchronized. This makes it possible to start the graphical
      UI from a desktop icon.
      * Fixed a small bug where the text UI on NT was raising a 'no such
      signal' exception.

      Changes since 1.139:
      * The precompiled windows binary in the last release was compiled
      with an old OCaml compiler, causing propagation of permissions not
      to work (and perhaps leading to some other strange behaviors we've
      heard reports about). This has been corrected. If you're using
      precompiled binaries on Windows, please upgrade.
      * Added a -debug command line flag, which controls debugging of
      various modules. Say -debug XXX to enable debug tracing for module
      XXX, or -debug all to turn on absolutely everything.
      * Fixed a small bug where the text UI on NT was raising a 'no such
      signal' exception.

      Changes since 1.111:
      * INCOMPATIBLE CHANGE: The names and formats of the preference files
      in the .unison directory have changed. In particular:
      + the file ``prefs'' should be renamed to default.prf
      + the contents of the file ``ignore'' should be merged into
      default.prf. Each line of the form REGEXP in ignore should
      become a line of the form ignore = REGEXP in default.prf.
      * Unison now handles permission bits and symbolic links. See the
      manual for details.
      * You can now have different preference files in your .unison
      directory. If you start unison like this

      unison profilename
      (i.e. with just one ``anonymous'' command-line argument), then the
      file ~/.unison/profilename.prf will be loaded instead of
      * Some improvements to terminal handling in the text user interface
      * Added a switch -killServer that terminates the remote server
      process when the unison client is shutting down, even when using
      sockets for communication. (By default, a remote server created
      using ssh/rsh is terminated automatically, while a socket server
      is left running.)
      * When started in 'socket server' mode, unison prints 'server
      started' on stderr when it is ready to accept connections. (This
      may be useful for scripts that want to tell when a socket-mode
      server has finished initalization.)
      * We now make a nightly mirror of our current internal development
      tree, in case anyone wants an up-to-the-minute version to hack
      around with.
      * Added a file CONTRIB with some suggestions for how to help us make
      Unison better.
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