(emacs)State of Difference

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State of a Difference

   In the merge buffer, a difference is marked with lines of `v' and
`^' characters.  Each difference has one of these seven states:

     The difference is showing the A version.  The `a' command always
     produces this state; the mode line indicates it with `A'.

     The difference is showing the B version.  The `b' command always
     produces this state; the mode line indicates it with `B'.

     The difference is showing the A or the B state by default, because
     you haven't made a choice.  All differences start in the default-A
     state (and thus the merge buffer is a copy of the A buffer),
     except those for which one alternative is "preferred" (see below).

     When you select a difference, its state changes from default-A or
     default-B to plain A or B.  Thus, the selected difference never has
     state default-A or default-B, and these states are never displayed
     in the mode line.

     The command `d a' chooses default-A as the default state, and `d
     b' chooses default-B.  This chosen default applies to all
     differences which you haven't selected and for which no
     alternative is preferred.  If you are moving through the merge
     sequentially, the differences you haven't selected are those
     following the selected one.  Thus, while moving sequentially, you
     can effectively make the A version the default for some sections
     of the merge buffer and the B version the default for others by
     using `d a' and `d b' at the end of each section.

     The difference is showing the A or B state because it is
     "preferred".  This means that you haven't made an explicit choice,
     but one alternative seems likely to be right because the other
     alternative agrees with the common ancestor.  Thus, where the A
     buffer agrees with the common ancestor, the B version is
     preferred, because chances are it is the one that was actually

     These two states are displayed in the mode line as `A*' and `B*'.

     The difference is showing a combination of the A and B states, as a
     result of the `x c' or `x C' commands.

     Once a difference is in this state, the `a' and `b' commands don't
     do anything to it unless you give them a prefix argument.

     The mode line displays this state as `comb'.

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