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 2.14.1?
* Updates since v2.14
UI, Workflows & Features
* An example that is now obsolete has been removed from a sample hook,
and an old example in it that added a sign-off manually has been
improved to use the interpret-trailers command.
* The advice message given when "git rebase" stops for conflicting
changes has been improved.
* The "rerere-train" script (in contrib/) learned the "--overwrite"
option to allow overwriting existing recorded resolutions.
(merge ad53bf79aa rg/rerere-train-overwrite later to maint).
* "git contacts" (in contrib/) now lists the address on the
"Reported-by:" trailer to its output, in addition to those on
S-o-b: and other trailers, to make it easier to notify (and thank)
the original bug reporter.
(merge 09ac673788 eb/contacts-reported-by later to maint).
Performance, Internal Implementation, Development Support etc.
* Conversion from uchar to struct object_id continues.
* Start using selected c99 constructs in small, stable and
essentialpart of the system to catch people who care about
older compilers that do not grok them.
* The filter-process interface learned to allow a process with long
latency give a "delayed" response.
* Many uses of comparision callback function the hashmap API uses
cast the callback function type when registering it to
hashmap_init(), which defeats the compile time type checking when
the callback interface changes (e.g. gaining more parameters).
The callback implementations have been updated to take "void *"
pointers and cast them to the type they expect instead.
* Because recent Git for Windows do come with a real msgfmt, the
build procedure for git-gui has been updated to use it instead of a
(merge 90dbf226ba js/git-gui-msgfmt-on-windows later to maint).
Also contains various documentation updates and code clean-ups.
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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