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 2.14.3?
Git v2.14.3 Release Notes ========================= Fixes since v2.14.2 ------------------- * A helper function to read a single whole line into strbuf mistakenly triggered OOM error at EOF under certain conditions, which has been fixed. * In addition to "cc: <[email protected]> # cruft", "cc: [email protected] # cruft" was taught to "git send-email" as a valid way to tell it that it needs to also send a carbon copy to <[email protected]> in the trailer section. * Fix regression to "gitk --bisect" by a recent update. * Unlike "git commit-tree < file", "git commit-tree -F file" did not pass the contents of the file verbatim and instead completed an incomplete line at the end, if exists. The latter has been updated to match the behaviour of the former. * "git archive", especially when used with pathspec, stored an empty directory in its output, even though Git itself never does so. This has been fixed. * API error-proofing which happens to also squelch warnings from GCC. * "git gc" tries to avoid running two instances at the same time by reading and writing pid/host from and to a lock file; it used to use an incorrect fscanf() format when reading, which has been corrected. * The test linter has been taught that we do not like "echo -e". * Code cmp.std.c nitpick. * "git describe --match" learned to take multiple patterns in v2.13 series, but the feature ignored the patterns after the first one and did not work at all. This has been fixed. * "git cat-file --textconv" started segfaulting recently, which has been corrected. * The built-in pattern to detect the "function header" for HTML did not match <H1>..<H6> elements without any attributes, which has been fixed. * "git mailinfo" was loose in decoding quoted printable and produced garbage when the two letters after the equal sign are not hexadecimal. This has been fixed. * The documentation for '-X<option>' for merges was misleadingly written to suggest that "-s theirs" exists, which is not the case. * Spell the name of our system as "Git" in the output from request-pull script. * Fixes for a handful memory access issues identified by valgrind. * Backports a moral equivalent of 2015 fix to the poll emulation from the upstream gnulib to fix occasional breakages on HPE NonStop. * In the "--format=..." option of the "git for-each-ref" command (and its friends, i.e. the listing mode of "git branch/tag"), "%(atom:)" (e.g. "%(refname:)", "%(body:)" used to error out. Instead, treat them as if the colon and an empty string that follows it were not there. * Users with "color.ui = always" in their configuration were broken by a recent change that made plumbing commands to pay attention to them as the patch created internally by "git add -p" were colored (heh) and made unusable. This has been fixed. * "git branch -M a b" while on a branch that is completely unrelated to either branch a or branch b misbehaved when multiple worktree was in use. This has been fixed. * "git fast-export" with -M/-C option issued "copy" instruction on a path that is simultaneously modified, which was incorrect. * The checkpoint command "git fast-import" did not flush updates to refs and marks unless at least one object was created since the last checkpoint, which has been corrected, as these things can happen without any new object getting created. * The scripts to drive TravisCI has been reorganized and then an optimization to avoid spending cycles on a branch whose tip is tagged has been implemented. * "git fetch <there> <src>:<dst>" allows an object name on the <src> side when the other side accepts such a request since Git v2.5, but the documentation was left stale. * A regression in 2.11 that made the code to read the list of alternate object stores overrun the end of the string has been fixed. 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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