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       gitglossary - A GIT Glossary




       alternate object database
           Via the alternates mechanism, a repository can inherit part of its object database
           from another object database, which is called "alternate".

       bare repository
           A bare repository is normally an appropriately named directory with a .git suffix that
           does not have a locally checked-out copy of any of the files under revision control.
           That is, all of the git administrative and control files that would normally be
           present in the hidden .git sub-directory are directly present in the repository.git
           directory instead, and no other files are present and checked out. Usually publishers
           of public repositories make bare repositories available.

       blob object
           Untyped object, e.g. the contents of a file.

           A "branch" is an active line of development. The most recent commit on a branch is
           referred to as the tip of that branch. The tip of the branch is referenced by a branch
           head, which moves forward as additional development is done on the branch. A single
           git repository can track an arbitrary number of branches, but your working tree is
           associated with just one of them (the "current" or "checked out" branch), and HEAD
           points to that branch.

           Obsolete for: index.

           A list of objects, where each object in the list contains a reference to its successor
           (for example, the successor of a commit could be one of its parents).

           BitKeeper/cvsps speak for "commit". Since git does not store changes, but states, it
           really does not make sense to use the term "changesets" with git.

           The action of updating all or part of the working tree with a tree object or blob from
           the object database, and updating the index and HEAD if the whole working tree has
           been pointed at a new branch.

           In SCM jargon, "cherry pick" means to choose a subset of changes out of a series of
           changes (typically commits) and record them as a new series of changes on top of a
           different codebase. In GIT, this is performed by the "git cherry-pick" command to
           extract the change introduced by an existing commit and to record it based on the tip
           of the current branch as a new commit.

           A working tree is clean, if it corresponds to the revision referenced by the current
           head. Also see "dirty".

           As a noun: A single point in the git history; the entire history of a project is
           represented as a set of interrelated commits. The word "commit" is often used by git
           in the same places other revision control systems use the words "revision" or
           "version". Also used as a short hand for commit object.

           As a verb: The action of storing a new snapshot of the project’s state in the git
           history, by creating a new commit representing the current state of the index and
           advancing HEAD to point at the new commit.

       commit object
           An object which contains the information about a particular revision, such as parents,
           committer, author, date and the tree object which corresponds to the top directory of
           the stored revision.

       core git
           Fundamental data structures and utilities of git. Exposes only limited source code
           management tools.

           Directed acyclic graph. The commit objects form a directed acyclic graph, because they
           have parents (directed), and the graph of commit objects is acyclic (there is no chain
           which begins and ends with the same object).

       dangling object
           An unreachable object which is not reachable even from other unreachable objects; a
           dangling object has no references to it from any reference or object in the

       detached HEAD
           Normally the HEAD stores the name of a branch. However, git also allows you to check
           out an arbitrary commit that isn’t necessarily the tip of any particular branch. In
           this case HEAD is said to be "detached".

           You are waaaaay behind. See index.

           The list you get with "ls" :-)

           A working tree is said to be "dirty" if it contains modifications which have not been
           committed to the current branch.

           Favorite synonym to "tree-ish" by some total geeks. See
  for an in-depth explanation. Avoid
           this term, not to confuse people.

       evil merge
           An evil merge is a merge that introduces changes that do not appear in any parent.

           A fast-forward is a special type of merge where you have a revision and you are
           "merging" another branch's changes that happen to be a descendant of what you have. In
           such these cases, you do not make a new merge commit but instead just update to his
           revision. This will happen frequently on a remote-tracking branch of a remote

           Fetching a branch means to get the branch’s head ref from a remote repository, to find
           out which objects are missing from the local object database, and to get them, too.
           See also git-fetch(1).

       file system
           Linus Torvalds originally designed git to be a user space file system, i.e. the
           infrastructure to hold files and directories. That ensured the efficiency and speed of

       git archive
           Synonym for repository (for arch people).

           Grafts enables two otherwise different lines of development to be joined together by
           recording fake ancestry information for commits. This way you can make git pretend the
           set of parents a commit has is different from what was recorded when the commit was
           created. Configured via the .git/info/grafts file.

           In git’s context, synonym to object name.

           A named reference to the commit at the tip of a branch. Heads are stored in a file in
           $GIT_DIR/refs/heads/ directory, except when using packed refs. (See git-pack-refs(1).)

           The current branch. In more detail: Your working tree is normally derived from the
           state of the tree referred to by HEAD. HEAD is a reference to one of the heads in your
           repository, except when using a detached HEAD, in which case it directly references an
           arbitrary commit.

       head ref
           A synonym for head.

           During the normal execution of several git commands, call-outs are made to optional
           scripts that allow a developer to add functionality or checking. Typically, the hooks
           allow for a command to be pre-verified and potentially aborted, and allow for a
           post-notification after the operation is done. The hook scripts are found in the
           $GIT_DIR/hooks/ directory, and are enabled by simply removing the .sample suffix from
           the filename. In earlier versions of git you had to make them executable.

           A collection of files with stat information, whose contents are stored as objects. The
           index is a stored version of your working tree. Truth be told, it can also contain a
           second, and even a third version of a working tree, which are used when merging.

       index entry
           The information regarding a particular file, stored in the index. An index entry can
           be unmerged, if a merge was started, but not yet finished (i.e. if the index contains
           multiple versions of that file).

           The default development branch. Whenever you create a git repository, a branch named
           "master" is created, and becomes the active branch. In most cases, this contains the
           local development, though that is purely by convention and is not required.

           As a verb: To bring the contents of another branch (possibly from an external
           repository) into the current branch. In the case where the merged-in branch is from a
           different repository, this is done by first fetching the remote branch and then
           merging the result into the current branch. This combination of fetch and merge
           operations is called a pull. Merging is performed by an automatic process that
           identifies changes made since the branches diverged, and then applies all those
           changes together. In cases where changes conflict, manual intervention may be required
           to complete the merge.

           As a noun: unless it is a fast-forward, a successful merge results in the creation of
           a new commit representing the result of the merge, and having as parents the tips of
           the merged branches. This commit is referred to as a "merge commit", or sometimes just
           a "merge".

           The unit of storage in git. It is uniquely identified by the SHA1 of its contents.
           Consequently, an object can not be changed.

       object database
           Stores a set of "objects", and an individual object is identified by its object name.
           The objects usually live in $GIT_DIR/objects/.

       object identifier
           Synonym for object name.

       object name
           The unique identifier of an object. The hash of the object’s contents using the Secure
           Hash Algorithm 1 and usually represented by the 40 character hexadecimal encoding of
           the hash of the object.

       object type
           One of the identifiers "commit", "tree", "tag" or "blob" describing the type of an

           To merge more than two branches. Also denotes an intelligent predator.

           The default upstream repository. Most projects have at least one upstream project
           which they track. By default origin is used for that purpose. New upstream updates
           will be fetched into remote remote-tracking branches named
           origin/name-of-upstream-branch, which you can see using git branch -r.

           A set of objects which have been compressed into one file (to save space or to
           transmit them efficiently).

       pack index
           The list of identifiers, and other information, of the objects in a pack, to assist in
           efficiently accessing the contents of a pack.

           Pattern used to specify paths.

           Pathspecs are used on the command line of "git ls-files", "git ls-tree", "git add",
           "git grep", "git diff", "git checkout", and many other commands to limit the scope of
           operations to some subset of the tree or worktree. See the documentation of each
           command for whether paths are relative to the current directory or toplevel. The
           pathspec syntax is as follows:

           ·   any path matches itself

           ·   the pathspec up to the last slash represents a directory prefix. The scope of that
               pathspec is limited to that subtree.

           ·   the rest of the pathspec is a pattern for the remainder of the pathname. Paths
               relative to the directory prefix will be matched against that pattern using
               fnmatch(3); in particular, * and ?  can match directory separators.

               For example, Documentation/*.jpg will match all .jpg files in the Documentation
               subtree, including Documentation/chapter_1/figure_1.jpg.

           A pathspec that begins with a colon : has special meaning. In the short form, the
           leading colon : is followed by zero or more "magic signature" letters (which
           optionally is terminated by another colon :), and the remainder is the pattern to
           match against the path. The optional colon that terminates the "magic signature" can
           be omitted if the pattern begins with a character that cannot be a "magic signature"
           and is not a colon.

           In the long form, the leading colon : is followed by a open parenthesis (, a
           comma-separated list of zero or more "magic words", and a close parentheses ), and the
           remainder is the pattern to match against the path.

           The "magic signature" consists of an ASCII symbol that is not alphanumeric.

           top /
               The magic word top (mnemonic: /) makes the pattern match from the root of the
               working tree, even when you are running the command from inside a subdirectory.

           Currently only the slash / is recognized as the "magic signature", but it is
           envisioned that we will support more types of magic in later versions of git.

           A pathspec with only a colon means "there is no pathspec". This form should not be
           combined with other pathspec.

           A commit object contains a (possibly empty) list of the logical predecessor(s) in the
           line of development, i.e. its parents.

           The term pickaxe refers to an option to the diffcore routines that help select changes
           that add or delete a given text string. With the --pickaxe-all option, it can be used
           to view the full changeset that introduced or removed, say, a particular line of text.
           See git-diff(1).

           Cute name for core git.

           Cute name for programs and program suites depending on core git, presenting a high
           level access to core git. Porcelains expose more of a SCM interface than the plumbing.

           Pulling a branch means to fetch it and merge it. See also git-pull(1).

           Pushing a branch means to get the branch’s head ref from a remote repository, find out
           if it is a direct ancestor to the branch’s local head ref, and in that case, putting
           all objects, which are reachable from the local head ref, and which are missing from
           the remote repository, into the remote object database, and updating the remote head
           ref. If the remote head is not an ancestor to the local head, the push fails.

           All of the ancestors of a given commit are said to be "reachable" from that commit.
           More generally, one object is reachable from another if we can reach the one from the
           other by a chain that follows tags to whatever they tag, commits to their parents or
           trees, and trees to the trees or blobs that they contain.

           To reapply a series of changes from a branch to a different base, and reset the head
           of that branch to the result.

           A 40-byte hex representation of a SHA1 or a name that denotes a particular object.
           They may be stored in a file under $GIT_DIR/refs/ directory, or in the
           $GIT_DIR/packed-refs file.

           A reflog shows the local "history" of a ref. In other words, it can tell you what the
           3rd last revision in this repository was, and what was the current state in this
           repository, yesterday 9:14pm. See git-reflog(1) for details.

           A "refspec" is used by fetch and push to describe the mapping between remote ref and
           local ref. They are combined with a colon in the format <src>:<dst>, preceded by an
           optional plus sign, +. For example: git fetch $URL refs/heads/master:refs/heads/origin
           means "grab the master branch head from the $URL and store it as my origin branch
           head". And git push $URL refs/heads/master:refs/heads/to-upstream means "publish my
           master branch head as to-upstream branch at $URL". See also git-push(1).

       remote-tracking branch
           A regular git branch that is used to follow changes from another repository. A
           remote-tracking branch should not contain direct modifications or have local commits
           made to it. A remote-tracking branch can usually be identified as the right-hand-side
           ref in a Pull: refspec.

           A collection of refs together with an object database containing all objects which are
           reachable from the refs, possibly accompanied by meta data from one or more
           porcelains. A repository can share an object database with other repositories via
           alternates mechanism.

           The action of fixing up manually what a failed automatic merge left behind.

           A particular state of files and directories which was stored in the object database.
           It is referenced by a commit object.

           To throw away part of the development, i.e. to assign the head to an earlier revision.

           Source code management (tool).

           Synonym for object name.

       shallow repository
           A shallow repository has an incomplete history some of whose commits have parents
           cauterized away (in other words, git is told to pretend that these commits do not have
           the parents, even though they are recorded in the commit object). This is sometimes
           useful when you are interested only in the recent history of a project even though the
           real history recorded in the upstream is much larger. A shallow repository is created
           by giving the --depth option to git-clone(1), and its history can be later deepened
           with git-fetch(1).

           Symbolic reference: instead of containing the SHA1 id itself, it is of the format ref:
           refs/some/thing and when referenced, it recursively dereferences to this reference.
           HEAD is a prime example of a symref. Symbolic references are manipulated with the git-
           symbolic-ref(1) command.

           A ref under refs/tags/ namespace that points to an object of an arbitrary type
           (typically a tag points to either a tag or a commit object). In contrast to a head, a
           tag is not updated by the commit command. A git tag has nothing to do with a Lisp tag
           (which would be called an object type in git’s context). A tag is most typically used
           to mark a particular point in the commit ancestry chain.

       tag object
           An object containing a ref pointing to another object, which can contain a message
           just like a commit object. It can also contain a (PGP) signature, in which case it is
           called a "signed tag object".

       topic branch
           A regular git branch that is used by a developer to identify a conceptual line of
           development. Since branches are very easy and inexpensive, it is often desirable to
           have several small branches that each contain very well defined concepts or small
           incremental yet related changes.

           Either a working tree, or a tree object together with the dependent blob and tree
           objects (i.e. a stored representation of a working tree).

       tree object
           An object containing a list of file names and modes along with refs to the associated
           blob and/or tree objects. A tree is equivalent to a directory.

           A ref pointing to either a commit object, a tree object, or a tag object pointing to a
           tag or commit or tree object.

       unmerged index
           An index which contains unmerged index entries.

       unreachable object
           An object which is not reachable from a branch, tag, or any other reference.

       upstream branch
           The default branch that is merged into the branch in question (or the branch in
           question is rebased onto). It is configured via branch.<name>.remote and
           branch.<name>.merge. If the upstream branch of A is origin/B sometimes we say "A is
           tracking origin/B".

       working tree
           The tree of actual checked out files. The working tree normally contains the contents
           of the HEAD commit’s tree, plus any local changes that you have made but not yet


       gittutorial(7), gittutorial-2(7), gitcvs-migration(7), Everyday git[1], The Git User’s


       Part of the git(1) suite.


        1. Everyday git

        2. The Git User’s Manual