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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 2.25.0?

Git 2.25 Release Notes

Updates since v2.24

Backward compatibility notes

UI, Workflows & Features

 * A tutorial on object enumeration has been added.

 * The branch description ("git branch --edit-description") has been
   used to fill the body of the cover letters by the format-patch
   command; this has been enhanced so that the subject can also be

 * "git rebase --preserve-merges" has been marked as deprecated; this
   release stops advertising it in the "git rebase -h" output.

 * The code to generate multi-pack index learned to show (or not to
   show) progress indicators.

 * "git apply --3way" learned to honor merge.conflictStyle
   configuration variable, like merges would.

 * The custom format for "git log --format=<format>" learned the l/L
   placeholder that is similar to e/E that fills in the e-mail
   address, but only the local part on the left side of '@'.

 * Documentation pages for "git shortlog" now list commit limiting
   options explicitly.

 * The patterns to detect function boundary for Elixir language has
   been added.

 * The completion script (in contrib/) learned that the "--onto"
   option of "git rebase" can take its argument as the value of the

 * The userdiff machinery has been taught that "async def" is another
   way to begin a "function" in Python.

 * "git range-diff" learned to take the "--notes=<ref>" and the
   "--no-notes" options to control the commit notes included in the
   log message that gets compared.

 * "git rev-parse --show-toplevel" run outside of any working tree did
   not error out, which has been corrected.

 * A few commands learned to take the pathspec from the standard input
   or a named file, instead of taking it as the command line
   arguments, with the "--pathspec-from-file" option.

 * "git submodule" learned a subcommand "set-url".

 * "git log" family learned "--pretty=reference" that gives the name
   of a commit in the format that is often used to refer to it in log

 * The interaction between "git clone --recurse-submodules" and
   alternate object store was ill-designed.  The documentation and
   code have been taught to make more clear recommendations when the
   users see failures.

 * Management of sparsely checked-out working tree has gained a
   dedicated "sparse-checkout" command.

 * Miscellaneous small UX improvements on "git-p4".

 * "git sparse-checkout list" subcommand learned to give its output in
   a more concise form when the "cone" mode is in effect.

Performance, Internal Implementation, Development Support etc.

 * Debugging support for lazy cloning has been a bit improved.

 * Move the definition of a set of bitmask constants from 0ctal
   literal to (1U<<count) notation.

 * Test updates to prepare for SHA-2 transition continues.

 * Crufty code and logic accumulated over time around the object
   parsing and low-level object access used in "git fsck" have been
   cleaned up.

 * The implementation of "git log --graph" got refactored and then its
   output got simplified.

 * Follow recent push to move API docs from Documentation/ to header
   files and update config.h

 * "git bundle" has been taught to use the parse options API.  "git
   bundle verify" learned "--quiet" and "git bundle create" learned
   options to control the progress output.

 * Handling of commit objects that use non UTF-8 encoding during
   "rebase -i" has been improved.

 * The beginning of rewriting "git add -i" in C.

 * A label used in the todo list that are generated by "git rebase
   --rebase-merges" is used as a part of a refname; the logic to come
   up with the label has been tightened to avoid names that cannot be
   used as such.

 * The logic to avoid duplicate label names generated by "git rebase
   --rebase-merges" forgot that the machinery itself uses "onto" as a
   label name, which must be avoided by auto-generated labels, which
   has been corrected.

 * We have had compatibility fallback macro definitions for "PRIuMAX",
   "PRIu32", etc. but did not for "PRIdMAX", while the code used the
   last one apparently without any hiccup reported recently.  The
   fallback macro definitions for these <inttypes.h> macros that must
   appear in C99 systems have been removed.

 * Recently we have declared that GIT_TEST_* variables take the
   usual boolean values (it used to be that some used "non-empty
   means true" and taking GIT_TEST_VAR=YesPlease as true); make
   sure we notice and fail when non-bool strings are given to
   these variables.

 * Users of oneway_merge() (like "reset --hard") learned to take
   advantage of fsmonitor to avoid unnecessary lstat(2) calls.

 * Performance tweak on "git push" into a repository with many refs
   that point at objects we have never heard of.

 * PerfTest fix to avoid stale result mixed up with the latest round
   of test results.

 * Hide lower-level verify_signed-buffer() API as a pure helper to
   implement the public check_signature() function, in order to
   encourage new callers to use the correct and more strict

 * Unnecessary reading of state variables back from the disk during
   sequencer operation has been reduced.

 * The code has been made to avoid gmtime() and localtime() and prefer
   their reentrant counterparts.

 * In a repository with many packfiles, the cost of the procedure that
   avoids registering the same packfile twice was unnecessarily high
   by using an inefficient search algorithm, which has been corrected.

 * Redo "git name-rev" to avoid recursive calls.

 * FreeBSD CI support via Cirrus-CI has been added.

Fixes since v2.24

 * "rebase -i" ceased to run post-commit hook by mistake in an earlier
   update, which has been corrected.

 * "git notes copy $original" ought to copy the notes attached to the
   original object to HEAD, but a mistaken tightening to command line
   parameter validation made earlier disabled that feature by mistake.

 * When all files from some subdirectory were renamed to the root
   directory, the directory rename heuristics would fail to detect that
   as a rename/merge of the subdirectory to the root directory, which has
   been corrected.

 * Code clean-up and a bugfix in the logic used to tell worktree local
   and repository global refs apart.
   (merge f45f88b2e4 sg/dir-trie-fixes later to maint).

 * "git stash save" in a working tree that is sparsely checked out
   mistakenly removed paths that are outside the area of interest.
   (merge 4a58c3d7f7 js/update-index-ignore-removal-for-skip-worktree later to maint).

 * "git rev-parse --git-path HEAD.lock" did not give the right path
   when run in a secondary worktree.
   (merge 76a53d640f js/git-path-head-dot-lock-fix later to maint).

 * "git merge --no-commit" needs "--no-ff" if you do not want to move
   HEAD, which has been corrected in the manual page for "git bisect".
   (merge 8dd327b246 ma/bisect-doc-sample-update later to maint).

 * "git worktree add" internally calls "reset --hard" that should not
   descend into submodules, even when submodule.recurse configuration
   is set, but it was affected.  This has been corrected.
   (merge 4782cf2ab6 pb/no-recursive-reset-hard-in-worktree-add later to maint).

 * Messages from die() etc. can be mixed up from multiple processes
   without even line buffering on Windows, which has been worked
   (merge 116d1fa6c6 js/vreportf-wo-buffering later to maint).

 * HTTP transport had possible allocator/deallocator mismatch, which
   has been corrected.

 * The watchman integration for fsmonitor was racy, which has been
   corrected to be more conservative.
   (merge dd0b61f577 kw/fsmonitor-watchman-fix later to maint).

 * Fetching from multiple remotes into the same repository in parallel
   had a bad interaction with the recent change to (optionally) update
   the commit-graph after a fetch job finishes, as these parallel
   fetches compete with each other.  Which has been corrected.

 * Recent update to "git stash pop" made the command empty the index
   when run with the "--quiet" option, which has been corrected.

 * "git fetch" codepath had a big "do not lazily fetch missing objects
   when I ask if something exists" switch.  This has been corrected by
   marking the "does this thing exist?" calls with "if not please do not
   lazily fetch it" flag.

 * Test update to avoid wasted cycles.
   (merge e0316695ec sg/skip-skipped-prereq later to maint).

 * Error handling after "git push" finishes sending the packdata and
   waits for the response to the remote side has been improved.
   (merge ad7a403268 jk/send-pack-remote-failure later to maint).

 * Some codepaths in "gitweb" that forgot to escape URLs generated
   based on end-user input have been corrected.
   (merge a376e37b2c jk/gitweb-anti-xss later to maint).

 * CI jobs for macOS has been made less chatty when updating perforce
   package used during testing.
   (merge 0dbc4a0edf jc/azure-ci-osx-fix-fix later to maint).

 * "git unpack-objects" used to show progress based only on the number
   of received and unpacked objects, which stalled when it has to
   handle an unusually large object.  It now shows the throughput as
   (merge bae60ba7e9 sg/unpack-progress-throughput later to maint).

 * The sequencer machinery compared the HEAD and the state it is
   attempting to commit to decide if the result would be a no-op
   commit, even when amending a commit, which was incorrect, and
   has been corrected.

 * The code to parse GPG output used to assume incorrectly that the
   finterprint for the primary key would always be present for a valid
   signature, which has been corrected.
   (merge 67a6ea6300 hi/gpg-optional-pkfp-fix later to maint).

 * "git submodule status" and "git submodule status --cached" show
   different things, but the documentation did not cover them
   correctly, which has been corrected.
   (merge 8d483c8408 mg/doc-submodule-status-cached later to maint).

 * "git reset --patch $object" without any pathspec should allow a
   tree object to be given, but incorrectly required a committish,
   which has been corrected.

 * "git submodule status" that is run from a subdirectory of the
   superproject did not work well, which has been corrected.
   (merge 1f3aea22c7 mg/submodule-status-from-a-subdirectory later to maint).

 * The revision walking machinery uses resources like per-object flag
   bits that need to be reset before a new iteration of walking
   begins, but the resources related to topological walk were not
   cleared correctly, which has been corrected.
   (merge 0aa0c2b2ec mh/clear-topo-walk-upon-reset later to maint).

 * TravisCI update.
   (merge 176441bfb5 sg/osx-force-gcc-9 later to maint).

 * While running "revert" or "cherry-pick --edit" for multiple
   commits, a recent regression incorrectly detected "nothing to
   commit, working tree clean", instead of replaying the commits,
   which has been corrected.
   (merge befd4f6a81 sg/assume-no-todo-update-in-cherry-pick later to maint).

 * Work around a issue where a FD that is left open when spawning a
   child process and is kept open in the child can interfere with the
   operation in the parent process on Windows.

 * One kind of progress messages were always given during commit-graph
   generation, instead of following the "if it takes more than two
   seconds, show progress" pattern, which has been corrected.

 * "git rebase" did not work well when format.useAutoBase
   configuration variable is set, which has been corrected.

 * The "diff" machinery learned not to lose added/removed blank lines
   in the context when --ignore-blank-lines and --function-context are
   used at the same time.
   (merge 0bb313a552 rs/xdiff-ignore-ws-w-func-context later to maint).

 * The test on "fast-import" used to get stuck when "fast-import" died
   in the middle.
   (merge 0d9b0d7885 sg/t9300-robustify later to maint).

 * "git format-patch" can take a set of configured format.notes values
   to specify which notes refs to use in the log message part of the
   output.  The behaviour of this was not consistent with multiple
   --notes command line options, which has been corrected.
   (merge e0f9095aaa dl/format-patch-notes-config-fixup later to maint).

 * "git p4" used to ignore configuration variable, which
   has been corrected.
   (merge ea94b16fb8 rb/p4-lfs later to maint).

 * Assorted fixes to the directory traversal API.
   (merge 6836d2fe06 en/fill-directory-fixes later to maint).

 * Forbid pathnames that the platform's filesystem cannot represent on
   (merge 4dc42c6c18 js/mingw-reserved-filenames later to maint).

 * "git rebase --signoff" stopped working when the command was written
   in C, which has been corrected.
   (merge 4fe7e43c53 en/rebase-signoff-fix later to maint).

 * An earlier update to Git for Windows declared that a tree object is
   invalid if it has a path component with backslash in it, which was
   overly strict, which has been corrected.  The only protection the
   Windows users need is to prevent such path (or any path that their
   filesystem cannot check out) from entering the index.
   (merge 224c7d70fa js/mingw-loosen-overstrict-tree-entry-checks later to maint).

 * The code to write split commit-graph file(s) upon fetching computed
   bogus value for the parameter used in splitting the resulting
   files, which has been corrected.
   (merge 63020f175f ds/commit-graph-set-size-mult later to maint).

 * Other code cleanup, docfix, build fix, etc.
   (merge 80736d7c5e jc/am-show-current-patch-docfix later to maint).
   (merge 8b656572ca sg/commit-graph-usage-fix later to maint).
   (merge 6c02042139 mr/clone-dir-exists-to-path-exists later to maint).
   (merge 44ae131e38 sg/blame-indent-heuristics-is-now-the-default later to maint).
   (merge 0115e5d929 dl/doc-diff-no-index-implies-exit-code later to maint).
   (merge 270de6acbe en/t6024-style later to maint).
   (merge 14c4776d75 ns/test-desc-typofix later to maint).
   (merge 68d40f30c4 dj/typofix-merge-strat later to maint).
   (merge f66e0401ab jk/optim-in-pack-idx-conversion later to maint).
   (merge 169bed7421 rs/parse-options-dup-null-fix later to maint).
   (merge 51bd6be32d rs/use-copy-array-in-mingw-shell-command-preparation later to maint).
   (merge b018719927 ma/t7004 later to maint).
   (merge 932757b0cc ar/install-doc-update-cmds-needing-the-shell later to maint).
   (merge 46efd28be1 ep/guard-kset-tar-headers later to maint).
   (merge 9e5afdf997 ec/fetch-mark-common-refs-trace2 later to maint).
   (merge f0e58b3fe8 pb/submodule-update-fetches later to maint).
   (merge 2a02262078 dl/t5520-cleanup later to maint).
   (merge a4fb016ba1 js/pkt-line-h-typofix later to maint).
   (merge 54a7a64613 rs/simplify-prepare-cmd later to maint).
   (merge 3eae30e464 jk/lore-is-the-archive later to maint).
   (merge 14b7664df8 dl/lore-is-the-archive later to maint).
   (merge 0e40a73a4c po/bundle-doc-clonable later to maint).
   (merge e714b898c6 as/t7812-missing-redirects-fix later to maint).
   (merge 528d9e6d01 jk/perf-wo-git-dot-pm later to maint).
   (merge fc42f20e24 sg/test-squelch-noise-in-commit-bulk later to maint).
   (merge c64368e3a2 bc/t9001-zsh-in-posix-emulation-mode later to maint).
   (merge 11de8dd7ef dr/branch-usage-casefix later to maint).
   (merge e05e8cf074 rs/archive-zip-code-cleanup later to maint).
   (merge 147ee35558 rs/commit-export-env-simplify later to maint).
   (merge 4507ecc771 rs/patch-id-use-oid-to-hex later to maint).
   (merge 51a0a4ed95 mr/bisect-use-after-free later to maint).
   (merge cc2bd5c45d pb/submodule-doc-xref later to maint).
   (merge df5be01669 ja/doc-markup-cleanup later to maint).
   (merge 7c5cea7242 mr/bisect-save-pointer-to-const-string later to maint).
   (merge 20a67e8ce9 js/use-test-tool-on-path later to maint).
   (merge 4e61b2214d ew/packfile-syscall-optim later to maint).
   (merge ace0f86c7f pb/clarify-line-log-doc later to maint).
   (merge 763a59e71c en/merge-recursive-oid-eq-simplify later to maint).
   (merge 4e2c4c0d4f do/gitweb-typofix-in-comments later to maint).
   (merge 421c0ffb02 jb/doc-multi-pack-idx-fix later to maint).
   (merge f8740c586b pm/am-in-body-header-doc-update later to maint).
   (merge 5814d44d9b tm/doc-submodule-absorb-fix 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.

Multiple Backups

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.

Any Workflow

Because of Git’s distributed nature and superb branching system, an almost endless number of workflows can be implemented with relative ease.

Subversion-Style Workflow

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.

Data Assurance

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.

Staging Area

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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