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What is Git?
Git is a free and open source distributed version control system designed to handle everything from small to very large projects with speed and efficiency. Git is easy to learn and has a tiny footprint with lightning fast performance. It outclasses SCM tools like Subversion, CVS, Perforce, and ClearCase with features like cheap local branching, convenient staging areas, and multiple workflows.
What’s New on Git 2.23.0?
Backward compatibility note * The "--base" option of "format-patch" computed the patch-ids for prerequisite patches in an unstable way, which has been updated to compute in a way that is compatible with "git patch-id --stable". * The "git log" command by default behaves as if the --mailmap option was given. UI, Workflows & Features * The "git fast-export/import" pair has been taught to handle commits with log messages in encoding other than UTF-8 better. * In recent versions of Git, per-worktree refs are exposed in refs/worktrees/<wtname>/ hierarchy, which means that worktree names must be a valid refname component. The code now sanitizes the names given to worktrees, to make sure these refs are well-formed. * "git merge" learned "--quit" option that cleans up the in-progress merge while leaving the working tree and the index still in a mess. * "git format-patch" learns a configuration to set the default for its --notes=<ref> option. * The code to show args with potential typo that cannot be interpreted as a commit-ish has been improved. * "git clone --recurse-submodules" learned to set up the submodules to ignore commit object names recorded in the superproject gitlink and instead use the commits that happen to be at the tip of the remote-tracking branches from the get-go, by passing the new "--remote-submodules" option. * The pattern "git diff/grep" use to extract funcname and words boundary for Matlab has been extend to cover Octave, which is more or less equivalent. * "git help git" was hard to discover (well, at least for some people). * The pattern "git diff/grep" use to extract funcname and words boundary for Rust has been added. * "git status" can be told a non-standard default value for the "--[no-]ahead-behind" option with a new configuration variable status.aheadBehind. * "git fetch" and "git pull" reports when a fetch results in non-fast-forward updates to let the user notice unusual situation. The commands learned "--no-show-forced-updates" option to disable this safety feature. * Two new commands "git switch" and "git restore" are introduced to split "checking out a branch to work on advancing its history" and "checking out paths out of the index and/or a tree-ish to work on advancing the current history" out of the single "git checkout" command. * "git branch --list" learned to always output the detached HEAD as the first item (when the HEAD is detached, of course), regardless of the locale. * The conditional inclusion mechanism learned to base the choice on the branch the HEAD currently is on. * "git rev-list --objects" learned the "--no-object-names" option to squelch the path to the object that is used as a grouping hint for pack-objects. * A new tag.gpgSign configuration variable turns "git tag -a" into "git tag -s". * "git multi-pack-index" learned expire and repack subcommands. * "git blame" learned to "ignore" commits in the history, whose effects (as well as their presence) get ignored. * "git cherry-pick/revert" learned a new "--skip" action. * The tips of refs from the alternate object store can be used as starting point for reachability computation now. * Extra blank lines in "git status" output have been reduced. * The commits in a repository can be described by multiple commit-graph files now, which allows the commit-graph files to be updated incrementally. * "git range-diff" output has been tweaked for easier identification of which part of what file the patch shown is about. Performance, Internal Implementation, Development Support etc. * Update supporting parts of "git rebase" to remove code that should no longer be used. * Developer support to emulate unsatisfied prerequisites in tests to ensure that the remainder of the tests still succeeds when tests with prerequisites are skipped. * "git update-server-info" learned not to rewrite the file with the same contents. * The way of specifying the path to find dynamic libraries at runtime has been simplified. The old default to pass -R/path/to/dir has been replaced with the new default to pass -Wl,-rpath,/path/to/dir, which is the more recent GCC uses. Those who need to build with an old GCC can still use "CC_LD_DYNPATH=-R" * Prepare use of reachability index in topological walker that works on a range (A..B). * A new tutorial targeting specifically aspiring git-core developers has been added. * Auto-detect how to tell HP-UX aCC where to use dynamically linked libraries from at runtime. * "git mergetool" and its tests now spawn fewer subprocesses. * Dev support update to help tracing out tests. * Support to build with MSVC has been updated. * "git fetch" that grabs from a group of remotes learned to run the auto-gc only once at the very end. * A handful of Windows build patches have been upstreamed. * The code to read state files used by the sequencer machinery for "git status" has been made more robust against a corrupt or stale state files. * "git for-each-ref" with multiple patterns have been optimized. * The tree-walk API learned to pass an in-core repository instance throughout more codepaths. * When one step in multi step cherry-pick or revert is reset or committed, the command line prompt script failed to notice the current status, which has been improved. * Many GIT_TEST_* environment variables control various aspects of how our tests are run, but a few followed "non-empty is true, empty or unset is false" while others followed the usual "there are a few ways to spell true, like yes, on, etc., and also ways to spell false, like no, off, etc." convention. * Adjust the dir-iterator API and apply it to the local clone optimization codepath. * We have been trying out a few language features outside c89; the coding guidelines document did not talk about them and instead had a blanket ban against them. * A test helper has been introduced to optimize preparation of test repositories with many simple commits, and a handful of test scripts have been updated to use it. Fixes since v2.22 ----------------- * A relative pathname given to "git init --template=<path> <repo>" ought to be relative to the directory "git init" gets invoked in, but it instead was made relative to the repository, which has been corrected. * "git worktree add" used to fail when another worktree connected to the same repository was corrupt, which has been corrected. * The ownership rule for the file descriptor to fast-import remote backend was mixed up, leading to an unrelated file descriptor getting closed, which has been fixed. * A "merge -c" instruction during "git rebase --rebase-merges" should give the user a chance to edit the log message, even when there is otherwise no need to create a new merge and replace the existing one (i.e. fast-forward instead), but did not. Which has been corrected. * Code cleanup and futureproof. * More parameter validation. * "git update-server-info" used to leave stale packfiles in its output, which has been corrected. * The server side support for "git fetch" used to show incorrect value for the HEAD symbolic ref when the namespace feature is in use, which has been corrected. * "git am -i --resolved" segfaulted after trying to see a commit as if it were a tree, which has been corrected. * "git bundle verify" needs to see if prerequisite objects exist in the receiving repository, but the command did not check if we are in a repository upfront, which has been corrected. * "git merge --squash" is designed to update the working tree and the index without creating the commit, and this cannot be countermanded by adding the "--commit" option; the command now refuses to work when both options are given. * The data collected by fsmonitor was not properly written back to the on-disk index file, breaking t7519 tests occasionally, which has been corrected. * Update to Unicode 12.1 width table. * The command line to invoke a "git cat-file" command from inside "git p4" was not properly quoted to protect a caret and running a broken command on Windows, which has been corrected. * "git request-pull" learned to warn when the ref we ask them to pull from in the local repository and in the published repository are different. * When creating a partial clone, the object filtering criteria is recorded for the origin of the clone, but this incorrectly used a hardcoded name "origin" to name that remote; it has been corrected to honor the "--origin <name>" option. * "git fetch" into a lazy clone forgot to fetch base objects that are necessary to complete delta in a thin packfile, which has been corrected. * The filter_data used in the list-objects-filter (which manages a lazily sparse clone repository) did not use the dynamic array API correctly---'nr' is supposed to point at one past the last element of the array in use. This has been corrected. * The description about slashes in gitignore patterns (used to indicate things like "anchored to this level only" and "only matches directories") has been revamped. * The URL decoding code has been updated to avoid going past the end of the string while parsing %-<hex>-<hex> sequence. * The list of for-each like macros used by clang-format has been updated. * "git branch --list" learned to show branches that are checked out in other worktrees connected to the same repository prefixed with '+', similar to the way the currently checked out branch is shown with '*' in front. (merge 6e9381469e nb/branch-show-other-worktrees-head later to maint). * Code restructuring during 2.20 period broke fetching tags via "import" based transports. * The commit-graph file is now part of the "files that the runtime may keep open file descriptors on, all of which would need to be closed when done with the object store", and the file descriptor to an existing commit-graph file now is closed before "gc" finalizes a new instance to replace it. * "git checkout -p" needs to selectively apply a patch in reverse, which did not work well. * Code clean-up to avoid signed integer wraparounds during binary search. * "git interpret-trailers" always treated '#' as the comment character, regardless of core.commentChar setting, which has been corrected. * "git stash show 23" used to work, but no more after getting rewritten in C; this regression has been corrected. * "git rebase --abort" used to leave refs/rewritten/ when concluding "git rebase -r", which has been corrected. * An incorrect list of options was cached after command line completion failed (e.g. trying to complete a command that requires a repository outside one), which has been corrected. * The code to parse scaled numbers out of configuration files has been made more robust and also easier to follow. * The codepath to compute delta islands used to spew progress output without giving the callers any way to squelch it, which has been fixed. * Protocol capabilities that go over wire should never be translated, but it was incorrectly marked for translation, which has been corrected. The output of protocol capabilities for debugging has been tweaked a bit. * Use "Erase in Line" CSI sequence that is already used in the editor support to clear cruft in the progress output. * "git submodule foreach" did not protect command line options passed to the command to be run in each submodule correctly, when the "--recursive" option was in use. * The configuration variable rebase.rescheduleFailedExec should be effective only while running an interactive rebase and should not affect anything when running a non-interactive one, which was not the case. This has been corrected. * The "git clone" documentation refers to command line options in its description in the short form; they have been replaced with long forms to make them more recognisable. * Generation of pack bitmaps are now disabled when .keep files exist, as these are mutually exclusive features. (merge 7328482253 ew/repack-with-bitmaps-by-default later to maint). * "git rm" to resolve a conflicted path leaked an internal message "needs merge" before actually removing the path, which was confusing. This has been corrected. * "git stash --keep-index" did not work correctly on paths that have been removed, which has been fixed. (merge b932f6a5e8 tg/stash-keep-index-with-removed-paths later to maint). * Window 7 update ;-) * A codepath that reads from GPG for signed object verification read past the end of allocated buffer, which has been fixed. * "git clean" silently skipped a path when it cannot lstat() it; now it gives a warning. * "git push --atomic" that goes over the transport-helper (namely, the smart http transport) failed to prevent refs to be pushed when it can locally tell that one of the ref update will fail without having to consult the other end, which has been corrected. * The internal diff machinery can be made to read out of bounds while looking for --function-context line in a corner case, which has been corrected. (merge b777f3fd61 jk/xdiff-clamp-funcname-context-index later to maint). * Other code cleanup, docfix, build fix, etc. (merge fbec05c210 cc/test-oidmap later to maint). (merge 7a06fb038c jk/no-system-includes-in-dot-c later to maint). (merge 81ed2b405c cb/xdiff-no-system-includes-in-dot-c later to maint). (merge d61e6ce1dd sg/fsck-config-in-doc later to maint).
Branching and Merging
The Git feature that really makes it stand apart from nearly every other SCM out there is its branching model.
Git allows and encourages you to have multiple local branches that can be entirely independent of each other. The creation, merging, and deletion of those lines of development takes seconds.
This means that you can do things like:
- Frictionless Context Switching. Create a branch to try out an idea, commit a few times, switch back to where you branched from, apply a patch, switch back to where you are experimenting, and merge it in.
- Role-Based Codelines. Have a branch that always contains only what goes to production, another that you merge work into for testing, and several smaller ones for day to day work.
- Feature Based Workflow. Create new branches for each new feature you’re working on so you can seamlessly switch back and forth between them, then delete each branch when that feature gets merged into your main line.
- Disposable Experimentation. Create a branch to experiment in, realize it’s not going to work, and just delete it – abandoning the work—with nobody else ever seeing it (even if you’ve pushed other branches in the meantime).
Small and Fast
Git is fast. With Git, nearly all operations are performed locally, giving it a huge speed advantage on centralized systems that constantly have to communicate with a server somewhere.
Git was built to work on the Linux kernel, meaning that it has had to effectively handle large repositories from day one. Git is written in C, reducing the overhead of runtimes associated with higher-level languages. Speed and performance has been a primary design goal of the Git from the start.
Let’s see how common operations stack up against Subversion, a common centralized version control system that is similar to CVS or Perforce. Smaller is faster.
One of the nicest features of any Distributed SCM, Git included, is that it’s distributed. This means that instead of doing a “checkout” of the current tip of the source code, you do a “clone” of the entire repository.
This means that even if you’re using a centralized workflow, every user essentially has a full backup of the main server. Each of these copies could be pushed up to replace the main server in the event of a crash or corruption. In effect, there is no single point of failure with Git unless there is only a single copy of the repository.
Because of Git’s distributed nature and superb branching system, an almost endless number of workflows can be implemented with relative ease.
A centralized workflow is very common, especially from people transitioning from a centralized system. Git will not allow you to push if someone has pushed since the last time you fetched, so a centralized model where all developers push to the same server works just fine.
The data model that Git uses ensures the cryptographic integrity of every bit of your project. Every file and commit is checksummed and retrieved by its checksum when checked back out. It’s impossible to get anything out of Git other than the exact bits you put in.
Unlike the other systems, Git has something called the “staging area” or “index”. This is an intermediate area where commits can be formatted and reviewed before completing the commit.
One thing that sets Git apart from other tools is that it’s possible to quickly stage some of your files and commit them without committing all of the other modified files in your working directory or having to list them on the command line during the commit.
Free and Open Source
Git is released under the GNU General Public License version 2.0, which is an open source license. The Git project chose to use GPLv2 to guarantee your freedom to share and change free software—to make sure the software is free for all its users.
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